Rebuilding self-esteem while rebooting is a vital part of your reboot process.
First, you need it to cut the connection you have with your abusive porn addiction. If you have low self-esteem you won’t see much reason to do anything about your compulsive behavior.
Second, it’s going to show other people how you want to be treated. When you have self-compassion you won’t allow other people to treat you poorly. If someone disrespects you, you’ll have the confidence to let them know that you won’t tolerate that type of treatment. You’ll also have the confidence to apologize to someone when you disrespect them, too.
Once you learn how to build self-compassion, you begin to treat others with respect and kindness because that’s the way you treat yourself. You stop dismissing other people’s feelings and understand how to discern their emotions.
Before you can reach this point, though, you need to learn how to rebuild your self-esteem. It may feel overwhelming or impossible to get there. You’ve had such a terrible relationship with yourself because of your compulsive behavior. It’s completely changed the way you feel about yourself. So what can you do?
A Self-Esteem Exercise
I want you to grab a pen and some paper right and do this exercise right now. Don’t just sit there and think about your answer. You need to take some action and put pen to paper for this to work.
Alright, got your supplies? Now I want you to write out your proudest accomplishments. You don’t need to overthink this, just write it out. Start with, “My proudest accomplishment is…” and write from there.
Then I want you to write, “I am happiest when…” and write some more. Write down the moment or moments when you feel the happiest. I don’t want you to write that you’re happiest when having sex because that’s mostly dopamine. When are you truly the happiest?
For me, I’m happiest when I wake up next to my girlfriend after a great nap or a good night’s sleep. I look at her and think about how fortunate I am which triggers an outpouring of gratitude for all the other incredible things in my life.
Now I want you to write about your favorite physical feature. What do you feel your best physical feature is? Don’t think about how negatively you feel about yourself. Focus on the thing you like the most. Pick one. Is it your calves? Is it your jawline? Is it your broad shoulders? Write something down, whatever your favorite feature is.
Next, write down something you did that you didn’t think you could do. “Something I did that I never imagined I could do is…” and keep writing. Maybe you never thought you could ride a bicycle or swim or start a business or get married. There’s something in your life that you never dreamed was possible yet you still did it.
Now I want you to put yourself in the shoes of your friends and family and write down what you think they like best about you. If I asked your friends and family what they think is the best part of you, what would they say?
Here’s where I want you to pause. If you don’t know the answer to this question, I want you to email someone right now. Send them an email letting them know that you’re working on a self-improvement exercise. Explain that you have some homework that involves asking them for three things they like best about you. Thank them for their time and send it.
Pick a few close friends and family members, four or five, and ask for their input. It’s a powerful part of the exercise for two reasons. 1. You’ll probably receive some answers you’d never have thought of yourself and 2. It’s great to see some similarities from the various people you ask. It’s a confidence builder to read these things from people you care about.
Now go back to your paper. Finally, I want you to write down something kind that you did for someone. Whether you realized it was a kind thing while doing it or they let you know afterward, write about a kind deed you did for another person.
If you’ve read this far and haven’t written anything yet, stop reading right now. Get a pen and some paper and start writing. A successful reboot comes down to the action you’re willing to take. If you can’t follow a simple writing assignment, you’re going to struggle with your reboot. I guarantee it.
I’ll give you a quick outline of the questions to write about again:
- “My proudest accomplishment is…”
- “I am happiest when…”
- “My best physical feature is…”
- “Something I did that I never thought I could do is…”
- “My friends and family think the three best things about me are…”
- “Something kind I did for another person was…”
Sit down with those questions, brother, and write out your answers. Take as much time, ink, and paper as you need to answer them fully. Once you have your answers, sit back and read over what you wrote. Chances are there are quite a few things to appreciate about yourself. And while this isn’t going to give you an immediate self-esteem boost, it’ll surely set you on the track to developing the self-compassion you need to keep moving forward.