To mark the release of Get the Self-Esteem Habit with Bloomsbury Reader, author and psychotherapist Christine Webber talks about happiness, self-esteem, and how you can build towards a better quality of life, just by using your mind.
All three of these books look at how our minds are the ‘engine room’ when it comes to perpetuating emotional pain. In other words, stuff happens, but it’s how our minds respond to that stuff which can cause problems.
Way back in the first century, The Stoic Philosopher Epictetus said: ‘It’s not things that upset us, it’s our view of things.’ All these centuries later, most of us could benefit from taking these words to heart!
In fact, the theories of Epictetus provide the basic principles of modern-day cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) – which is now reckoned to be the most effective treatment for a wide range of mental health difficulties.
All three of my titles are based on CBT teaching. And they reflect the fact that over many years of seeing patients, I’ve learned a great deal about how people’s minds work and how they get over life’s reverses.
I’ve written about good self-esteem because it’s a very important component in mental health and happiness. When we have it, we value ourselves in an appropriate way. When we don’t have it, we are rarely confident enough to say ‘no’ to a boss who is overloading us with an unreasonable amount of work, or to stand up for ourselves in family arguments. Most importantly, we may well tend to put up with unkindness or even seriously bad treatment in relationships.
But why does poor self-esteem happen? There are lots of reasons. Most – but not all – are to do with comments people made to us when we were younger. You’d be amazed at what we file away and believe when we’re children. So, if we were often told: ‘You’re different’ or ‘ You’re stupid’ or ‘You’re hopeless’ or ‘You’re not nice’ the chances are that we’ve grown up believing these unhelpful things.
Luckily, though we can’t change the past, we can change how we think about it. And that is the strong message of all three of these books and particularly of Get the Self-Esteem Habit. I hope it will help loads of people.