Plus 4 "easy-to-apply" steps to help you feel emotionally strong to build the standard of life you want without going insane
You can't escape it...
The constant worry that you'll stagnate and become meaningless?
You've had this strong need to feel significant all your life?
That's why you worked hard to be ahead at school. That's why you put in so much hours into work...
But despite all that hard work, you're still not where you want to be in life. So now you’re afraid you'll never be successful and have the life you’ve dreamt of. It's like you lack the "x" factor that really successful people have.
This fills you with doubt about your capabilities… Causing you to question everything in your life including your own worth. Making you feel incredibly hopeless that you're running out of time.
And as you churn this conundrum over and over in your mind, you find yourself becoming easily irritable and snappy towards your friends and family members… Making you a horrible person to be around… Threatening all the meaningful personal or professional relationships you’ve painstakingly built over the years.
You hate to feel this way.
You want to be able to handle your weaknesses, insecurities, and issues without feeling bad every day about settling for less or being less!
That's why in today's article...
I will reveal a simple mindset technique to help you feel more self-assured without becoming dependent on external achievements to feel happy and contented with yourself and your life.
Let's start with this wrong assumption...
You might be thinking that the reason you struggle with this fear of becoming insignificant is due to low self-esteem...
Because if you had a better opinion of yourself you wouldn't need to keep seeking external approval, and your moods and reactions wouldn't change depending on how others view you...
Sadly, this is a massive misconception.
The truth is that low self-esteem is the outcome of the problem not the cause of the problem.
The low self-esteem is created by a trap I call the "slot machine trap."
You see, recent studies of gambling addictions highlight that what traps people in a gambling habit is the adrenaline boost of anticipating winning. It’s not the win itself.
The unpredictable nature of the jackpot helps keep your dopamine levels high. This hooks you into coming back for more no matter how much you are losing.
And before long…
Everything else in life loses value.
You tie your happiness to the gambling experience as every decision you make is influenced by the desire to gamble.
A similar pattern is creating your fear of becoming insignificant. This is what produces low self-esteem. The only difference is the coins you are using in life's slot machine are your strengths and positive traits.
Let me elaborate...
Our first example, from my former client Glen (not real name), reveals how strong performance at work can become the coin you put into life's slot machine.
Glen started his new Job intensely focused on improving himself, working hard and putting a lot of time into the job. This earned him a lot of praise from his manager.
But then without realizing it, Glen found himself relying on this positive feedback from his manager to fuel his self-motivation and confidence. Whenever he got no praise for weeks, he’d notice his self-confidence and sense of job satisfaction plummet. And this would make his life feel meaningless.
Can you see the trap?
Too much reliance on this positive trait of "working hard" creates a need that gets stronger. Because though working hard can get you approval, the approval or positive feedback you get does not come to you in a controlled predictable way.
Just like with the slot machine, you put in your hard work expecting the win of a praise. But before long you start to define your job and yourself by the frequency of praise and positive attention you get.
Can you see how this strength of working hard creates more thirst for approval?
Moving on to the next common coin people put into life's slot machine.
Tammy (not real name) has always believed treating people politely was her best trait. Her parents brought her up this way and she was proud of it.
She believed politeness helped her appear open and non-threatening. And that this made her more like-able and approachable.
But there was just one problem...
Tammy had a work colleague who was boisterous, loud rude and always oozing with confidence. And to Tammy's dismay this work colleague seemed hugely respected by her team mates. Everyone listened to him and took his opinion as gospel.
Tammy couldn't understand why people didn’t care as much about her own opinions and feelings despite all her politeness, thoughtfulness, attentiveness and bending over backwards to make them all happy.
What could she be doing wrong?
Could it be that being too polite was actually a disadvantage?
If Tammy’s plight resonates with you, then it’s likely that politeness has become a coin you've been putting into life's slot machine… Hoping to get back what you've invested. And if you don't realize that getting any positive outcome back from politeness is vastly unpredictable, this will drive you nuts.
Because being too polite not only drains your internal resources. It can make you disappear into the background like the furniture. It can actually make others annoyed with you. All of which then makes everyone naturally ignore your opinion and your needs.
By the time this politeness slot machine is done with you, you’ll fully believe you have no value or no worth to offer anyone.
Jim (not real name) was disgusted with himself for falling into a certain needy cycle every year...
It starts off innocently with someone taking a liking to him. Usually someone he considers successful and admirable.
Then Jim would find himself getting intently excited about the attention. Because someone so good is noticing him, he would feel obliged to be grateful to them.
So, he would start reciprocating the attention and admiration.
The sad irony with all this is…
Jim is happily married and petrified of doing anything to jeopardize his marriage. But he couldn’t stop thinking of the person, their amazing qualities and how exciting it would be if they caught up or were in a relationship...
If you can relate...
You'd probably think that if you had a good self-esteem, you'd pull back and not mentally respond. Even if you found the attention flattering.
Or at most you'd just feel momentarily flattered. But you’d be able to move on instead of getting stuck feeling the need to admire them and become dependent on their attention.
If this is your belief, you'd be wrong...
This neediness is NOT driven by low self-worth.
Because, like a rat frantically pressing a leaver, desperate to get at a sip of sugared water… You have become addicted to this positive attention. You've have been putting in attention and admiration into this slot machine.
But like it is with slot machines… You’ve been getting the attention and admiration back in an unpredictable manner so your brain is now screaming... GIVE ME MORE!!!
And because you didn’t even know you were playing on life’s slot machine; you’ve followed this pattern until it’s developed power over you.
Because that's really what it is...
As you can hopefully see now, the fear of becoming insignificant is really just an addiction to a specific way of dealing with life. You’ve learnt to deal with life in a way that convinces you that you'll never amount to much.
But then, how do you overcome this addiction, if you're already stuck in it?
Here are 4 practical steps that could help you do just that.
The first step to beating this problem is to stop thinking you have become this way because of a weakness in yourself. Like the above examples have shown, the problem is more often as a result of your strengths. And thinking that your weaknesses are the problems will only blind you to the only way to overcome your fear of insignificance.
The second step is to begin observing yourself for the positive traits you default to when you feel vulnerable, fake or not good enough. These are the coins you put in your life's slot machine.
So, the goal would be to rely less on these positive traits.
If you tend to work 3 hours overtime in order to get praises or goodwill from others, start cutting this down by 15 mins until you are within your contracted hours... You really don’t need to do this overtime to prove yourself .
If you tend to do everything at work without asking for help or clarity because you think people will value you more if you appear like you know what you are doing... Then start asking for help and clarity… This actually helps you make less mistakes and boosts the chances of people respecting you more.
But there’s a caveat…
Be aware that relying less on your good traits will naturally feel threatening for some things. But the outcome of feeling confident, secure, contented and happy with yourself and your life far out ways any discomfort you'll have to bear initially.
The third step is to avoid getting frustrated with yourself for falling back into any of these old habits that you are trying to break away from.
For example, if you keep beating up on yourself for feeling needy and for wanting approval… The frustration will force your brain to latch on even more to negativity of the situation. This will cause you to ruminate thereby building up toxic stress levels.
And if this happens, your brain’s logical abilities will temporarily weaken, and it won’t be available to help you process things effectively. This means your chances of getting good outcomes will plummet affecting your self-confidence badly.
We need to teach to brain to respond to these types of triggers differently.
So, whenever you find yourself having these negative thought and feelings, call your attention to it and label the thought as something like "okay it's that vulnerable and needy feeling again" and then you compassionately refocus on other things without beating yourself up for feeling this way.
Then just focus back on the instructions in step 2.
The fourth step is to develop step one to three into a routine that relies on your brain's super power.
Have you ever heard of the term neuroplasticity?
It refers to the brains ability to make new linkages which can change behaviour so we can learn new things all our lives.
Now the reason this works is that the brain relies on tiny repeated behaviours or thinking patterns to form habits. So, if a pianist keeps practicing little riffs, they soon become very good at playing it without even thinking. In the same way if every time you come into the house you think about how dirty the house is, you eventually just do this without even intending to.
In fact this is how your fear of becoming insignificant became ingrained into you. You've reacted in a certain way to various issues so many times that the feeling of insignificance now gets triggered automatically.
You've got to practice step 1 to 3 of this system until it becomes your new normal. Once that happens, your fear of becoming insignificant will disappear.
Like it did for Stacey (not real name), another former client...
She was struggling with where she was in life. focusing on all the small issues and then getting stuck and anxious when she didn’t get external confirmation of her worth.
This often left her feeling unable to function.
When I told her that she needed to rely less on her strengths and positive traits Stacey retorted...
"but if I rely less on my strengths, won't that make me lower myself to a sub-optimal standard?"
But then, she decided to give this strange Idea a go. And to her amazement, she found that as she relied less on specific positive traits, she began to feel a lot happier, more secure and less stuck.
Stacey started to find enjoyment and contentment in her hobbies and could experience pleasure from interacting with her boyfriend. And as a result of this, Stacey began to feel more motivated and excited about her future again.
Now I am not suggesting for one bit that it’s a bad thing to rely on your strengths or positive traits. It’s just that everything in life requires balance and too much of good things can still cause you problems. That’s why relying too much on positive traits tends to lower our self-esteem.
So, by following the steps, I have described today...You too can bring the much needed balance into your life and experience the type of positive win Stacey experienced.
And by the way if you are struggling to figure out what positive traits or strengths you possess which could be keeping your fear of becoming insignificant alive... Or you are struggling to figure out how much to reduce your reliance on a specific positive trait…
The service also comes with a free plan that shows you the correct steps you must take with each positive trait that’s making you feel more insignificant.
This way you feel confident that you are taking the correct steps you need to make to get where you want to be. And actually, be able to enjoy the process as you work on yourself.
Use this opportunity to start experiencing the changes you want… Like improvements and progress in all area’s money, work, relationships… And improvements in your physical and mental being Rather than feeling stuck in a rut because you keep giving up so nothing improves.
But if you feel like the free service is not for you and that you can make do with the advice I have given you here today… That’s totally fine to. I will be sending more helpful stuff your way soon.
So, keep any eye out.
Twice a month I hop on a conference call to teach, answer questions, and give feedback to members of the Take Back Control Program.
If you'd like to succeed at learning how to cope emotionally without wasting years making mistakes because of trial and error, then come join us.
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