Some time ago I wrote this post about self-esteem and how to slowly start cultivating the habit of liking yourself. I do realize that as with many other things in our lives, mastering the art of self-esteem is a multi-faceted long-term process that may very well take half our lives to master. That’s why today, I decided to write a “part II” of my post by focusing on the small, daily stuff we can all do (or not do) to make learning to pat ourselves on the back a great experience.
Do you know what is the main source of self-esteem (or lack thereof)? It’s our ego. Ego is such a hated thing these days, because every 1st grader knows that if you’ve got a big ego (no references to Beyoncé here…) you more or less can’t see past the tip of your own nose. That’s kind of sad, because way back, at the very dawn of ego, this little guy was actually meant to be our best friend. According to Sigmund Freud, ego is in fact the one thing that balances out our animal instincts on one hand, and all the crushing rules of modern society on the other: it’s our conscience and thinking mind. Doesn’t sound that scary, right?
So, in the very beginning of this long process of mastering our ego, let’s try to first lose our prejudices towards it; having that liberation will allow us to focus on what truly matters: liking ourselves in a busy world that preys on our insecurities. And the truth is that, quite often we, as rational beings, know we have low self-esteem. The problem is that we either a) don’t know what to do to start having better self-esteem (refer to the link above), or b) we’re just too f*ing busy to do it (keep reading).
Contrary to popular belief, self-esteem is a muscle that can be trained and, unlike the other muscles in our bodies, we don’t need anything but a few sturdy habits to do so. It’s quick and easy, it just takes some patience: to rewire your thinking and to get comfortable with all that you are (which is a lot!). Some short and sweet ways to do so, include…
Quiet your inner critic. For most people I know, myself included, I’ve noticed we are not nearly as judgemental to others as we are to ourselves. Notice the patterns in which you talk to yourself: do you beat yourself up because you forgot one of your 1001 tasks for the day? Are you wired to accept nothing less than perfection from your own results? Stop it. Accept that you’re not perfect and appreciate all the things you did great. Learn to notice when you criticize yourself and cut yourself some slack: use the time when you nag at yourself for something more productive.
Take pride in all you are. Sure, you may have skipped your workout today, but how does that compare to all you did and all you are? You are most certainly a smart young adult who has a job that pays his rent and provides him food, and you’re very aware and interested in improving and empowering yourself (since you’re here reading this). That’s much more than others have to offer and it’s most likely just the tip of the iceberg: you’ve come a long way and you’re still walking. You are good enough.
Work. The benefit of being self-aware is that we can change almost anything in our surroundings (inner or outer) that we don’t like: don’t hesitate to do that. Not sure you like the love-handles? Work out. Your house is a mess? Clean one room today. You make the decision on what you focus on: if you don’t like something you can change it, just decide and do it. It doesn’t have to take all your time, just start with a really small thing today. You know what they say: success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.