In this post, I want to address how to be happy with yourself. With the New Year upon us, many of us create resolutions for making improvements in our lives. If you are finding that you are overly critical of yourself, feeling badly about yourself, who you are, what you are doing in your life now or where you are headed – then this will benefit you.
In the past, I suffered from low self-esteem. I was far too critical of myself and frequently compared myself to others. But where did that get me? It only made me unhappy and miserable inside.
Here are the exact steps I took to improve my self-esteem. It’s how I became happier, more accepting and approving of myself. These steps came from my own individual therapy sessions and from different books on self-improvement, as well as from my own creative undertakings.
My recommendation for the first four steps listed here is to make one sheet and separate the sheet into four columns, one column for each step:
- Create a list of all your positive qualities. If you are stuck, think of any positive feedback you have received from others and write those down. These can come from our family, friends, acquaintances and co-workers. Take your time and really think about this. These qualities can include kindness, compassion, a giving heart, being a good friend to others, etc.
- Create a list of all your strengths. What do you do best in life? This list should include things like: being a hard worker or having a strong work ethic, being a good listener, being a creative individual, or having a certain talent in life. What are your talents and what are you good at? List each of these.
- Create a list of any accomplishments and achievements. We all have achieved something in our lives, starting in childhood. List anything and everything you can think of.
- Create a list of your life experiences that have made you feel happy or good about yourself. This list is separate from your achievements and accomplishments.
Now read the list over and add anything else that may be missing that you forgot about. Save this list and refer to it often. Doing so will generate good feelings about who you are and what you have achieved so far on a consistent basis.
Changing negative self-talk
Now think about how often you are critical of yourself or give yourself negative self-talk. Negative self-talk includes self-criticisms and put-downs. We can be our own worst critics. This will take deliberate and conscious effort, but each time you find yourself being overly critical of yourself, stop, pause and shift your thought to a more positive one of self-acceptance.
For example, if you frequently tell yourself that you are so stupid, how does that make you feel? Well after a while, you begin to believe your own thoughts about yourself! Instead, tell yourself you are fine just as you are, that you are not stupid and think of all the evidence in your life that proves this. Why be so hard on yourself and beat yourself up? We can be our own downfall and the creators of our own unhappiness without even realizing it. Always ask the question: would I treat my own friends or family this way?
Work on improving and shifting your thoughts from the negative to the positive as they come up. Doing this exercise will create much greater self-awareness within yourself, and greater self-awareness can only lead to self-improvement.
Ignoring, dismissing and altering negative input from others
Ignore, dismiss and alter any and all negative input you receive that does not serve you well or contribute to your well-being and happiness. Some feedback we receive is constructive and useful for our own self-development, so there is a distinction to be made. Sometimes we do not receive constructive feedback well and interpret it as negative criticism when it can only help us in the long run.
Take things that are constructive and beneficial to you into consideration, but ignore and alter the negative put-downs. Whenever an accusation is made against you that is false and cuts down your self-esteem or feelings of self-worth, within your own mind, change that put-down into the truth.
For example, if you are being accused of being selfish, yet you know that you are a very giving person, tell yourself, that is not true! I AM giving and that person is wrong! Empower yourself and provide yourself with validation.
We can do this each and every time we receive put-downs or negative input from others that do not contribute to our happiness, our feelings of self-worth and self-esteem.
Don’t compare yourself to others
All too often we compare ourselves to others and feel worse about who we are, what we look like, what we are doing in our lives, what we have achieved or not achieved yet, etc., etc. I myself have been guilty of doing this in the past. But where does this get us? Comparing yourself to everyone else and then feeling badly about yourself only leads to greater unhappiness. If you find yourself doing this, stop doing this disservice to yourself.
We each are unique and special in our own way. We each take life at our own pace and develop at our own pace. We each have our own unique, individual approach to life. There is always going to be someone who is better looking than us, more successful than us, or better at something than us. That is just a fact of life we need to accept and be OK with.
If we shift our focus back onto ourselves and validate ourselves, i.e., validate our own unique, positive qualities, strengths and achievements, and what we are trying to accomplish (i.e., our own goals and dreams), rather than focusing on the status of others, we can provide ourselves with the validation we need and can feel happier about ourselves, our lives and where we are headed. Look at yourself and be proud of how far you’ve come already! We are all on our own journey, and that journey is apart from others.
Live by your own standards and no one else’s
All too frequently we try to live up to someone else’s standards, whether that be a parent, sibling, partner, friend or society’s standards. When we constantly feel like we’re not measuring up to those standards, we feel badly about ourselves. So why not ignore or dismiss what others expect and want from you and live by your own standards that you establish for yourself?
When we live life by our own standards, we take greater control of our own happiness and we gain greater independence from others for their approval. We don’t need to constantly please others in our lives. We need to please ourselves first and foremost. When you let go in this way, you will feel much more free, more independent and more empowered.
Accept and embrace any imperfections and work on what you don’t like
Rather than condemning yourself for what you don’t like about yourself, why not work on the things you can change and turn any weaknesses into strengths? We all have imperfections or quirks about our personalities – everyone does. So accept these parts of yourself and embrace them because they make you unique and special, but also like yourself for all the wonderful and amazing qualities you own. Focus on those foremost rather than any weaknesses or imperfections, and simply take steps towards improving any aspects that you don’t like about yourself that can be changed and improved upon.
Develop your goals and dreams and work towards them
Creating and working towards goals and dreams helps us to feel successful and happier about what we are doing now and where we are headed. Without any goals or dreams, we are just living life in a limbo state. So write down your goals and dreams, create action steps for yourself and work towards them, crossing each off your list as you progress. You will feel happier as you work towards these goals, each and every day. Your self-esteem will soar, so go for it!
Remember that you are unique and precious
Each of us is a unique and very special and precious individual. Recognize this and embrace this concept fully within yourself. We all have unique talents, gifts, personalities, strengths and qualities to offer this world. So embrace yours to the fullest extent possible! Feel unique and special because you are!
If you follow this blueprint for how to be happy with yourself, you will experience improved feelings of self-esteem and self-worth, and you will be much happier and satisfied in your life. YOU are worth it!
So there are some tips on how to be happy with yourself. Here’s to embracing your awesomeness!