BLOG ARTICLES - Page 3 of 5 - The Self-Worth Experiment
Why you never need to be ashamed of yourself
Mar 17

Why you never need to feel ashamed of yourself

By Dr Berni Sewell | Love yourself

I passed my driving test at first attempt when I was 18 years old. And didn’t sit on a driver’s seat again for the next 10 years.

The thought of driving a car made me feel sick with worry and anxiety. I was overwhelmed by all the actions that needed to be completed simultaneously. Clutch, accelerator, indicator, look left, right and back, use the side mirrors, watch pedestrians, traffic and stick to speed limits. It was just too much!

So, I avoided it. Convinced myself that a car in the city was impractical anyway. That the 3-hour journey to see my family on the train at weekends was more comfortable anyway. And that I enjoyed taking the bus.

But I always knew. Driving was my biggest failure.

Every time I found myself behind the steering wheel, I felt physically sick and froze, mind blank and petrified. Driving was my nemesis. An unsurmountable wall of shame I could never overcome.

Until my mind set started to change…

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How I silenced my self-doubt and followed my dreams
Feb 25

How I silenced my self-doubt and followed my dreams

By Dr Berni Sewell | Transform your life

All my life, my self-doubt murdered my plans, strangled my enthusiasm and drowned my passions.

When I was 7 years old, my deepest desire was to become an author. But self-doubt convinced me that my sister was the creative genius in the family. I could never compare to her, why waste my life on silly phantasies and unrealistic ideas.

When I chose a sensible career in research instead, self-doubt insisted that I was an imposter in a ridiculous scientist disguise. I lived in constant fear of being exposed. Of somebody pointing a finger at me, shouting: “You know nothing, little girl”.

And now, as I dreamed of rekindling my love for writing, self-doubt vetoed again. And I believed its warnings, bought its objections. Again.

As always, I stuck with my familiar life, my stale routines devoid of challenges, excitement and adventures. Busy suppressing my passion and disregarding my need for creative expression, purpose and direction.

While my dreams simmered on the back burner, neglected, oppressed, out of reach. I thought I didn’t need them to be happy. But I was wrong.

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A powerful way to stop worrying
Feb 15

A powerful way to stop worrying

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

My 4-year old has a little cuddly toy called Biff. Biff is a “worry eater”.

When she’s worried about starting school, scared of the dark or anxious about performing the ABC song in the nursery play, we write her worry on a piece of paper.

We put the piece of paper in Biff’s mouth, close the zip and put him in bed with her.

The next morning (with some Mummy assistance obviously) the worry is gone. All gobbled up. Or so she thinks.

The important thing is that she stops worrying. She surrendered the anxious thoughts to somebody else and trusts that the problems will be taken care of.

End of story. No more worry.

I guess now you think: “What a lovely way to stop worrying. For a pre-schooler. But how could this ever work for me?”

Well, the good news is that this tactic works at every age…

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The only guaranteed way to transform your life
Jan 29

The only guaranteed way to transform your life

By Dr Berni Sewell | Transform your life

I hit rock-bottom at the age of 25.

Every aspect of my life was a struggle. I felt like I was serving a life sentence in a homemade prison.

Paralysed, stuck. And alone.

I couldn’t advance in my career because crippling self-doubt convinced me that I was a fraud in a ridiculous scientist disguise. I felt lucky I had a job at all! Considering my incompetence.

I was unable to go out with friends because I felt weak, anxious and vulnerable and was terrified of being mugged or killed on the way home alone.

I avoided meeting new people because the thought of social interactions made me feel sick. I believed that everybody I met would automatically judge me.

And I had given up on love and the prospect of a new relationship because I felt too flawed and damaged to deserve it. The only conceivable outcome was abandonment and the resulting unbearable pain. No, thank you!

So I sat at home. Day in, day out.

Wallowed in self-pity. Blamed myself, the Universe, other people for my misery. Drowned in negativity and self-loathing. Resented the people who had it all figured out, who were happy, confident and loved. And spent whole days in bed, in despair and hopelessness.

I would still be there now. Full of emptiness, hurt and envy.

But I was lucky. Because somehow I discovered the answers to the 3 most essential questions we will ask ourselves when we embark on the journey to a free, light-hearted and happier life.

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The 3 eye-opening truths that will make you immune to criticism
Jan 16

The 3 eye-opening truths that will make you immune to criticism

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

Several years ago, I was part of a multidisciplinary team updating a national guideline for breast cancer detection and management.

I finished a presentation of the research plan to 20 leading oncologists and cancer geneticists, as one of them stood up, shook his head in disapproval and said:

“This is all wrong! We are dealing with an important issue here. People’s lives are at stake. We can’t have your inexperience screw this up. What are you? A student? This is not up to scratch.”

As you can imagine I was stunned. Hurt. And angry. We had worked hard on the research plan and it was good.

A sharp, burning feeling spread through my throat as I suppressed tears. I wanted to defend myself and my work. Tell him what an ignorant, arrogant idiot he was.

But instead, I mumbled: “Ok, we will revisit it until the next meeting”. And excused myself to cry in the toilet where nobody would see it.

At the time, his criticism crushed me. Made me doubt my abilities. For days I replayed the events in my mind. Overanalysed what had gone wrong, what I could have done better to avoid the inquisition. And beat myself up for stupid mistakes I made and for not standing up for myself.

If the same happened to me again now, I would react differently.

It wouldn’t offend and hurt me, or knock my confidence. Because I know 3 important truths about criticism today that could have spared me a lot of suffering, upset and heartache.

If only someone had told me 10 years ago…

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Why your New Year's resolution is doomed to fail (and what to focus on instead in 2018)
Jan 07

Why your New Year’s resolution is doomed to fail (and what to focus on instead)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Transform your life

Since the birth of my little one I have tried to lose the weight I gained during pregnancy.

And every year I make a New Year’s resolution. With great hopes and motivation. This time I will succeed. I will do whatever it takes. I will stick to my diet and reclaim my body.

But, the truth is, I hate every minute of it. I crave carbs and chocolate, I detest kale and beat myself up for never making it to the gym. The constant feeling of hunger makes me grumpy and bitchy. And every minute of every day becomes a struggle to keep myself committed.

Usually, after a month (at the very most), I give up. Finding myself at the same weight I started within weeks.

Another failure. Well done me.

And I am not alone. Research has shown that, on average, 88% of New Year’s resolutions crash and burn. Most of them within the first month. And almost everybody cites “lack of willpower and control” as the reason.

Leaving millions of us to feel like failures. Believing that we just aren’t good enough to lose that weight, stop smoking and drinking, get that shopping habit under control or declutter the house.

The good intentions of the New Year’s resolution become more proof of our perceived worthlessness and weakness. The failed attempt to improve our lives makes us feel worse about ourselves than ever.

But it’s not us who is wrong, incapable or flawed. And it’s not willpower we need. It’s something else altogether…

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How to overcome fear of judgement
Dec 27

How to overcome fear of judgement

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

My husband recently acquired a new Christmas jumper. Yes, this is him modelling it in the picture! He wears it everywhere. Dropping little one off at school, to shopping, to the cinema, at restaurants. EVERYWHERE!

And not only is the jumper visually…well, let’s say flamboyant, the eyes also light up and it plays the Darth Vader theme. I kid you not!

A few years ago, I would have been mortified. Incapable of walking alongside him while his belly was trumpeting the Imperial March.

A few years ago, I would have been so embarrassed that I wanted to crawl and hide in a hole somewhere. My face would have been bright red with shame. I would have looked around anxiously, horrified of the judgement in the eyes of the passers-by.

And I would have been furious with my husband for putting me through it all. Intentionally! I would have blamed him and resented him for my suffering.

But today, I think it’s hilarious. I am actually considering getting one for myself. Because I learned two crucial truths in the past 10 years that made all the difference.

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How to boost your self-worth (by getting rid of your shoes)
Nov 19

How to boost your self-worth (and get rid of your shoes)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Heal your self-worth

Imagine for a moment hitting yourself unconscious with a shoe periodically throughout the day.

You get up in the morning, first thing you do, WHAM! Shoe on the head! Because of this, you are unconscious most of the morning. As soon as you come to your senses, WHAM! There we go again.

And so the day goes by. One blow to the head after another. Until it’s time to go to bed. Last shoe of the day. WHAM! Good night!

If you’re now thinking “What’s the point of this? This is crazy talk. Who would do that to themselves?”

The answer is you! And I! And over 95% of the population of industrialised countries. Let me explain.

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A peaceful way to restore emotional balance
Oct 27

A peaceful way to restore emotional balance

By Dr Berni Sewell | Discover your happiness

“The neighbours will call the police if you don’t stop screaming!”

My boyfriend was gripping my wrists. He pinned me into a corner of his bedroom. I could see the concern in his eyes. And the disbelief.

I tried to clear my head. It felt as if I was waking up from a nightmare. A tsunami of self-loathing and shame washed over me. What was going on? What was wrong with me?

Tears streamed down my face. My throat was sore because I had been screaming for minutes. My hands were bruised and aching where I had punched my fists against the walls.

I didn’t even know what had triggered the outburst. A small, innocent remark? A tiny criticism?

My boyfriend was the most caring, gentle and patient person I knew. He didn’t deserve this appalling behaviour, the emotional abuse and heartache.

And it wasn’t the first time either. For the last weeks I had lashed out at him whenever we met. One moment I was fine. The next I was overpowered by all-consuming anger and aggression. Without apparent reason.

Was I losing my mind?

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