The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NW students learn self-esteem, positive thinking techniques

By Heba Said/reporter

Lily Calzada, NW special services coordinator, opened with a drumroll and then moved into her discussion of Self-Love and Self-Esteem Lead to Self-Empowerment, a one-hour interactive presentation March 8 on NE Campus.

“I believe that self-esteem is going to be the foundation of anything that we do,” she said. “If we can have good self-esteem, then everything else will fall into place.”

Calzada used David Burns’ Checklist of Cognitive Disorders to explain twisted-thinking patterns, but first asked students what doctors do to prepare a patient for open-heart surgery.

“Going out into the world, going out these doors, is like having open-heart surgery,” she said. “We can’t control what’s happening out there, so we want to be prepared.”

Students went into groups with a scenario to help them establish whether feelings or thoughts come first.

Students learned that thoughts influence emotions. Negative thoughts provide negative emotions like anger and sadness while positive thoughts provide positive emotions like excitement and happiness, Calzada said. She called it the activating-consequence equation, which attributes feelings to events occurring, but she said one’s thoughts are what initiate feelings.

“Man’s greatest power is the ability to choose the thoughts in his mind,” she said.

People don’t have a bad day, Calzada said. They may have a bad 10 minutes, and then negative thoughts make them think of it as a bad day. She said Burns describes about 10 forms of twisted thinking or cognitive disorders.

Calzada showed the audience these 10 thinking patterns are common, and everyone is secretly guilty of them. Twisted thinking ranges from the mental filter where one dwells on negative things to labeling, where instead of saying “I made a mistake,” the person thinks “I am an idiot” or “I am stupid.”

“Accept that you are guilty of one and adjust behavior,” she said.

Self-concept, Calzada said, is one’s self-image, self-ideal and self-esteem.

Self-esteem is “a combination of all our ideas, thoughts and experiences,” she said.

Calzada said positive affirmations can help with self-esteem.

“Instead of saying, ‘I will not fail this exam,’ say, ‘I will pass this exam,’” she said.

She asked audience members to close their eyes and picture a blue sky and clouds.

“Do not picture a pink elephant,” she said repeatedly.

Because of the repetition, most students said they couldn’t help but picture the pink elephant. She said using positive affirmations instead of negative ones proves more effective.

She then asked an audience member to join her and sit down.

“Don’t put your hands on your lap,” she said. When he moved them, she told him, “No, don’t put them down to your sides.” He moved them to the air, and she said, “No, I don’t want them in the air.” She continued telling him not to do whatever he did. When she asked if he had any questions, he replied, “How do you want me to sit?”

Positive affirmations tend to work better than negative ones, she said. People shouldn’t talk about what they don’t want but should tell themselves exactly what they do want, she said.

Calzada shared her own positive affirmation: “I am calm. I am confident.” She said it is OK to pep talk oneself with positive affirmations before approaching a task.

Everyone has four choices with every situation they encounter, she said. By “getting out of a situation, changing a situation, staying in a situation and feeling miserable, changing the way you feel about a situation,” Calzada said people can control their thoughts once again.

“There are no bad people, just people who make bad choices,” she said.

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