Positive self-views emerge from self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-worth, among other things. Our general belief about ourselve is the best predictor of our happiness; more than 19, or so, other predictors which include gratitude and having strong personal relationships. OK, I can kind of understand this but, I wanted to know, what makes our sense of self so essential to our well-being? Here's what I found out. Our self-views not only affect how we feel, but they also influencs our actions and behaviours. When we feel bad about ourselves we unconsciously act in ways that that become self-fulfilling prophecies. A perfect example of this is when we feel that we're not good enough for the job we have. We sabotage ourselves and begin caring less; we become sloppy, disengaged, and crabby. And then what happens? Yep. You guessed it. We loose our job and fulfill our own predicitions of failure. But there are ways to stop to stop the negative cycle. Here's how.
1. Figure out your needs. When we don't feel good about ourselves, it's often easy to believe that there's something fundamentally wrong with us. But that isn't true. What's happened is that we've forgotten to clarify what makes us feel good; what are needs are. This can make us feel pretty powerless. It's important to note here, that this doesn't mean that we should expect others in our lives to fulfill our every desire. Look deep inside and find out what your personal needs are. Is it to travel? Or, maybe, it's to love doing your job....whatever it is. For some, that need is have children, or to work with the elderly. It's up to each of us to figure out what we need to feel good; what makes us happy and will give us a fulfilling life. For me, I think, it's to travel and learn about other customs and cultures.
2. Live authentically. If you already know what your needs are, this step is easy. It just means not straying too far from those things that make us feel good...that give us our authentic life. But what about if our needs aren't being met? How do we learn to communicate those needs to others and to start creating a life that meets those needs? And what will you do if the people (or frogs) in your life cant't fulfill those needs? Sometimes we feel that it's just easier to go with the flow' than it is to risk rocking the boat. We all have deal breakers, those things that we just can't tolerate, and the trick, here, is to stick to them. You can't let others run you over. It's amazing how fast your self-esteem will begin to sore when you stick up for yourself and begin living a life that is authentically yours.
3. Forgive yourself. For many of us, myself included, this isn't easy. So, you've figured out your needs and laid out a plan to achieve them...but what about your mistakes? Those naggings boo-boos that occurred in the past. These are the things that we're usually not so proud of. Can you forgive yourself and move on? Experts tell us that our mistakes should ot define us. Mistakes, and we've all made them, don't make us good or bad. We can learn from them and grow. Then we need to forgive ourselves and move forward. It can be difficult to to do, but once you've forgiven yourself, pat yourself on the back...you, know, for having the courage to forgive and for trying not to make those same mistakes again. And this last one is my favorite...
4. Celebrate your quirks. We're each one-of-a-kind; unique and special. And thank goodness for that! Imagine a world where veryone was cookie-cutter. How boring would THAT be? Practice self-celebration. This means learning to embrace your laugh which, until now, you'd thought of as embarrassing. Or learning to love your large "family nose." Maybe your flaw is your inability to remember names or your crooked smile....
The key is to celebrate those things that make you YOU. But, while you're doing all that celebrating, don't forget to keep growing. Remember to trust the folks in your life...they really do care about you. When they tell you that you need to work on this, or that, don't see it as criticsm. They only want want what's best for you. Often, we can't see what's right in front of us. Thank them for pointing out the flaws we might have overlooked. And remember they, too, have personal needs that they want to have met. This is crucial to keep us from sliding out of self-love and into complacency.
Feeling positive about ourselves takes work. It's better to do a little clean up each day, I think, than it is to wait until you're feeling really bad. Then the motivation is harder to muster up. I do know, though, that when we change our views about ourselves, we can change our circumstances...and our world...in big and impressive ways.
Hope you had a great weekend! Please come back again tomorrow.