It’s fairly easy for you to identify your flaws and faults. Without any conscious effort, you will unfortunately hold them in your mind more easily than your positive aspects because your mind is, by nature, negatively focused.
While it’s good to be honest with yourself and admit to your shortcomings, it’s imperative you also know and focus on what’s good about you. That way you can maintain a healthy, balanced and positive sense of yourself that will carry you to scintillating success, facilitate deep fulfilment and joyful self-expression – both in your personal undertakings and business endeavours.
Sadly, what blocks most of us, as we strive to feel good about ourselves, is the thought, ‘What do others think of me?’ Or its future focussed twin thought, ‘What are others going to think of me?’
These concerns are natural. After all we are social beings, we want to be liked and accepted for who we are. However, when we make other people’s opinions and their expectations of us, the gold standard by which we measure our self-worth, self-value and self-esteem, we’re in trouble.
Unfortunately, too many of us will repeatedly move into pleaser mode, put what’s important to us and what we want on the back seat, so we can get the acknowledgement, validation, and attention we need from others, to feel good about ourselves.
With (or without) conscious awareness, we’ll fail to put boundaries in place, or when we do, we allow others to trample on them. Matters worsen when we incrementally give our power away and allow someone else to determine (even tell us) to which degree we are worthy, acceptable, loveable, deserve recognition and are deemed to be successful.
If you’ve ever gone down this path, you’ll know you’re now in a situation where how good you feel about yourself is determined by how others respond to you.
If they respond favourably, you feel good, accepted, maybe even happy. Just like a bunny that’s been handed a delicious carrot to nibble on.
If they frown, make a searing critical remark, or give you an icy look; instantly a heavy, even nervous energy assembles in your stomach. In that moment, someone else’s response to you pierces your castle’s walls. The arrow hooks itself into the fleshy core of your stomach chakra, the centre of your self-worth. The opening leaves you raw, vulnerable to further piercings. You feel unsafe, uncomfortable, powerless.
At the mercy of their words and actions, you’ve lost sight of what really matters. And, what doesn’t matter.
You see, for as long as you make your joy, your sense of value and worth dependant on something outside of yourself, like a material object, or someone else – you’ll struggle to be happy, never mind feel good about yourself.
Based on what I’ve seen with many of my clients, it often begins, around the age of five. You’re conditioned to believe that what others think of you matters. You’re taught to adjust your demeanour, behaviour, appearance, even your facial expressions to receive the approving nod from others. With practice, the adjustments are made – the die is cast. How you feel about yourself now relies heavily on other people’s approving nods, smiles, gestures, words and actions.
Contrary to what we’re conditioned to believe, the simple truth is:
Your life is not lived from the outside in; it’s lived from the inside out.
Who you are, on the inside, is what really matters.
How you engage with others, from the inside out, is what really matters.
How the outside responds to you, and what others think about you, matters far less than you what may think and have been led to believe. What really matters is how YOU think and feel about yourself. Only YOU can be (and are) in charge of that.
How others respond to you, is largely determined by
- who they perceive themselves to be,
- how they feel about themselves,
- how much (or little) they’ve dealt with past experiences that have shaped who they are and moulded their way of thinking and being,
- how they choose to engage with people and the world around them.
You’re probably relieved to hear that.
What does this mean – in a nutshell? People are responsible for their responses – not you.
They choose their response and they can change it – when they are ready.
Doesn’t that make you feel better?
Now that you feel better, let’s give that an extra boost, shall we?
Here are five tips to help you feel really good about yourself:
1. Make a list of good things about you.
For example, you may offer a service that improves the lives of others in some way. You may be a leader who inspires others to be the best they can be. And you could be a good mom or dad who gives your children the attention, love and support they need. Write down 15 core qualities you can think about. Some words you might use to describe yourself are caring, kind, trustworthy, intelligent, empathetic, funny and friendly. Nothing is too minor to list, because all of those qualities, together, make up who you really are, and what’s really good about you.
2. How do you help others?
You’ve probably heard this. If you want to feel better, do something for someone else. Are you a volunteer with an organization, your children’s school or other ways? Do you assist others whenever possible? Are you a good listener? Sometimes people just need someone who can listen and care, without passing judgment about them.
3. You make it a point to learn something every day.
Those who aren’t learning are stagnant. When you read a self-help book every month, engage in a sport that challenges you, attend courses and hire a coach to take your personal development to the next level, you’re a person who learns and grows. That makes you feel good because you’re adding to your life. In the long run you also become happier, healthier and wealthier.
4. Are you a good model for others?
Striving to live up to your values and standards each day makes you a great example for others. Do you treat others and speak to them in a way that uplifts them? Makes them feel good about themselves? And inspires them to be all they can be? Maya Angelou nailed it, when she said, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
5. Remember what you are most proud of.
You’ve had many interesting life experiences. And even though you’re focused on achieving the next milestone, take a moment. Look back at how far you have come. How much you have grown. Who you have become. Now, look at what are you most proud of? What makes you really happy? What makes you feel really good about yourself? And enjoy those feelings.
When your self-talk tells you something you’re not interested in hearing, or you notice you’re giving too much attention to how others respond to you, fill your mind with this list; and feel really good about yourself – after all, it’s what matters most.
P.S. When you’re done with listening to the constant chatter of your inner critic, and want to treat yourself with greater kindness, compassion and understanding, then it’s time for you to sign up for the Puncture Self-criticism and Step into Self-acceptance Program so that the kind, caring and compassionate YOU can finally run the show!
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