There are thousands of books you can buy or find on library shelves discussing self-esteem and how to feel good about yourself. Yet most days I find myself counseling a client who is struggling to feel good about themselves.
Sadly, we are constantly putting ourselves down and getting our self-worth from comparing ourselves to others. My goal in writing this is to shed some light on how to start being good to yourself.
Here are 4 ways to gain the self-confidence you desire:
Self-compassion is giving yourself the benefit of the doubt or a break when you make a mistake. Self-compassion is treating yourself like you would a good friend.
What type of advice would you offer to a friend who is struggling with a difficult situation?
I am willing to guess you would listen to their problems and inform them that it is going to be okay. You might even try to support them through their struggles and help them focus on their strengths. Sadly, we have a difficult time doing this for ourselves. For some reason we find it very hard to give ourselves the same benefit of the doubt.
We wrongly believe because we know ourselves that we should make better choices. Having self-compassion helps us to accept our strengths and weaknesses and motivates us to become the best person that we can be.
Having healthy self-compassion doesn't mean that it is okay to make more mistakes or to not try and achieve things. It is quite the opposite; if you give yourself the benefit of the doubt, you will be a lot happier with yourself and more likely to achieve your goals and expectations.
2. Focus on self
One of the biggest problems I see holding people back too often is when we are gaining our self-worth from comparing ourselves to others. Theodore Roosevelt said "Comparison is the thief of joy."
The more we compare ourselves, the more we see people that have something we don't. They look better than us; they are a better parent than us. They're much smarter, and their kids are better behaved. I could go on all day about the things we compare.
Comparing ourselves to others can only cause two things: either we feel bad about ourselves, or we put someone else down to feel better.
Most of the time we compare one of our worst attributes to someone's perceived best attributes. We compare one of our weaknesses to their highlight reel. Since comparing ourselves is so popular and detrimental, how do we stop?
Begin by realizing that you truly get nothing positive from comparing yourself to others. Then start to think about what makes you special and unique.
Remember some of those things might not be measured by an outward appearance. Like empathy, compassion, love, kindness, and humility. Reminding yourself that no one is perfect and you will be happier if you focus on your own positive traits.
Finding things that inspire you to dig deeper and become a better person is crucial to being happy. The last thing to remember is you're the only person you can truly compare yourself to.
3. Focus on your goals
Having and achieving goals is a great way to feel good about ourselves and have purpose.
It's been said that goals are the oxygen to our dreams. Goals are what move us forward in life. Having goals helps you focus on what you would like to achieve and gives you much needed direction.
Creating and following through with goals will help you see the progress you are making. Goal setting helps you be accountable to the task you would like to accomplish.
Make sure you set short-term goals to meet your long-term goals. It's easy to get complacent with a long-term goal and think "I have a couple more days to start working on that goal."Short term-goals help you start making progress right away and make those long-term goals attainable.
Goal attainment promotes self-worth.
4. Do what makes you happy
In a counseling session with a new client I will often ask, "What are some things you enjoy doing?" Far too often I get the answers, "I don't do anything for fun anymore," or "I am too busy to do things I enjoy." I also get "I used to do this or that, but I don't do that anymore."
If this sounds like you then let me be the first to tell you: if you only do things in your life that are mundane or that don't make you happy, then of course you're going to be sad and depressed.
I have never met a person that does things all week long that they don't enjoy and are happy about. Trust me, I understand that you need to go to work and hang out with the kids along with your wife or husband. But every week you need to have something that you look forward to doing.
I suggest making a list today of ten things that make you happy. Once you have your list then start contemplating how you're going to integrate a couple of these things into every week of your life.
The sooner you do the above points, the sooner you're going to start being better to yourself.