“I never thought I of all people would ever be called a positive person, but over the past year I have been.”
Low self-esteem is something many people deal with. It can feel isolating and oftentimes leads to many negative emotions. It can take some work to help switch one’s view of themselves, which Cinzia DuBois knows firsthand. Over the past year, she’s been trying a new technique to overcome her own issues with low self-esteem and is sharing its success with her viewers.
“Up until last year, low self-esteem had always been a prevailing factor in my life. It was something that I struggled with from an extremely young age and it was something I believed I was destined to always struggle with based on my genetic makeup,” Cinzia explains toward the beginning on the video, voicing a thought many who deal with low self-esteem often grapple with.
However, over the past year, those around her have commented on a change in her demeanour, and a stranger recently came up to her and told her she was an “incredibly positive person”. This is the result of her having taken back power over her self-esteem by creating an exercise that was inspired by the research of Carol Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, and the study of neuroplasticity.
“I have come to a place in my life where I can manage my thoughts and feelings in a way that I never thought was possible,” she explains before sharing the technique with her viewers, in the hopes they too will be able to transform their own self-esteem. (It should be noted that this technique isn’t a substitute for professional therapy or treatment, and those who try it should know it doesn’t work for everyone.)
After trying various treatment methods. Cinzia found herself entering 2019 without any real support. This led her to researching Professor Dweck’s work, which focuses on the growth versus fixed mindset. According to Cinzia, those with low self-esteem suffer from a fixed mindset, “These people believe that their destiny is set in stone, that every marker of failure, insufficiency or inadequacy is permanent and they do not believe that they can move beyond this point.” Whereas, those who describe themselves as confident and self-assured have a growth mindset, “These people believe that they are on an ever-changing path throughout which they can rise and fall. Those with a growth mindset believe that they can change. They don’t believe that they are transfixed by their past or their circumstances. They see the potential in themselves to change and evolve at all times.”
However, as Cinza shares, those with a fixed mindset shouldn’t worry about not being able to change. According to Dweck, we can train ourselves to have a growth mindset, as the brain has the ability to change our neural networks throughout our lifetimes. “So, in brief, every time you learn a new fact or a skill, your brain changes,” she explains. It just takes some work, as our brains tend to want to take the easy route, which is why we develop certain habits and ways of thinking. They become more ingrained and harder to change, making them “automatic responses”.
“The brain, like us, prefers taking the safest route and the safest route in our brain is the one it’s most familiar with,” Cinzia says. It was after learning this that she started to examine her own patterns of thinking and the automatic negative responses she has developed over her lifetime. As our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are all interconnected, that’s where she started, “The first thing I did was draw three rough brains. One represented the unhelpful thoughts, one represented my unhelpful behaviours and the other one represented my unhelpful feelings, and I started writing down all the unhelpful things I was battling with because they’re all connected
“I then drew three more brains, which I drew my alternative thoughts, feelings and behaviours upon,” she continues. “Essentially, the three brains were mirror brains. They embodied all the seemingly unrealistic thoughts, behaviours and feelings to my current brain.”
After she was able to see her thoughts on paper, she was able to start counteracting the negative responses with positive ones. However, as she notes, the changes didn’t happen overnight, “I still have automatic negative thoughts, which I need to intercept with alternative thoughts now and then, but the recovery process of the negative thoughts is so much shorter than it used to be because I started to believe in my alternative thoughts.”
Cinzia acknowledges how uncomfortable this exercise might be to those with low self-esteem as “it seems arrogant and we can also counter-argue it with evidence” that our brains make us believe is real, but mental scripting, as she refers to it as, “doesn’t need to take into consideration other people’s opinions of you and it doesn’t take into consideration any external facts or figures or statistics. It only needs to take your beliefs into consideration”.
Now that she’s able to manage her thoughts in a more effective and consistent manner, she’s able to deconstruct them and become more hyper-aware of how they affect her. Out of all the methods she’s tried, it’s been the most effective, and has allowed her to not let others’ opinions affect her self-evaluation and worth.
“I was a huge skeptic. I am somebody that you can probably go back on my channel and see all my skeptical rants about how you cannot choose to be happy, and I’m right. You cannot choose to be happy, but you can choose the thoughts you give weight to in life.”