If someone called you beautiful today, would you believe them? There is an age-old saying that beauty is skin-deep. However, when you look in the mirror, your self-esteem is higher if you like what you see there. How you feel about yourself on the inside relates to how you look on the outside. Both perspectives are integral to your identity. We have blogged before on how smoking can damage your skin, but we shift the focus here to how loving who you are matters just as much as taking care of your body. Think about how smoking is something that you can change. Begin with self-acceptance, or acknowledging that you’re a smoker, so that you can reach your goal of cessation.
Recognizing Self-Blaming Behaviors
There are many characteristics of low self-esteem, but a key factor is that people with this condition exhibit negative self-perceptions. They may catch themselves before calling themselves names such as “fat” and force themselves to accept compliments. Inside, however, they may engage in “discussions with themselves (this is called ‘self-talk’) that are always negative, critical, and self-blaming.” They may also “blame themselves when things go wrong instead of taking into account other things over which they have no control, such as the actions of other people or economic forces.”
We want you to find something positive in learning about self-perception. The opposite is also true about self-esteem. People with high self-esteem can accept themselves and their own limitations more often. They are more realistic when assessing their abilities and look for ways to turn weaknesses into strengths. They can make accurate assessments of why things “go wrong,” attributing them to personal shortcomings or to external factors, whichever is appropriate. They assume responsibility for their actions and assign responsibility to others when needed. They know they cannot control the actions of other people and do not rely on acceptance from other people for their self-worth.
Choosing an Alternative to Self-Blaming
If you want to quit smoking, you need an alternative to self-blaming. You must reach that point of self-awareness when you can accept yourself as you are and follow a self-improvement plan. You can do a personal affirmation that looks something like this:
“I like who I am today. Yes, I am a smoker. I smoke an average of 10 cigarettes per day. I want to quit smoking. Today, I will think about the triggers that influence me to smoke. Today, I will do something positive (insert preferred activity here) to help me ignore these triggers. I am going to smoke fewer cigarettes today because I love myself. I deserve to be healthy and happy. I can quit smoking because I believe in myself. I like who I am today. Soon, I will be a non-smoker. I am worth it!”
This example is full of positive self-talk. It contains language that builds your self-esteem up instead of tearing it down. By saying these words or your own version of them, you encourage yourself through positive affirmation to do something positive and to be realistic about reaching your goal.
Quit Smoking Now
We want you to succeed at quitting smoking now. This task is easier if you recognize that your self-esteem needs improvement. Recognize any patterns of blaming yourself for smoking and/or attributing this unhealthy personal habit to other factors. If you can accept that you are a smoker who is going to change this aspect of yourself, you can move along the path to change. You can quit smoking through conscious mental effort without blaming yourself.