Self-worth and self-esteem, are words that are largely dependent on value. While other forms of value are dependent on external perceptions, this synonymous duo offers us the power to place all the value we deem necessary on ourselves. However, too many of us have spent the lot of our lives, selling ourselves way too short and truncating our growth by so doing. One truth, is that low self-worth or value, is usually an offshoot from demeaning comments by others, abusive relationships, and a series of failures and setbacks that we have allowed take a toll on us. All of us have experienced one or more of these issues over the course of our lives. The only difference, lies in how we dealt with it.
I, particularly, had to learn how to find my power, after recovering from a somewhat unhealthy relationship. My partner had really high standards set for me and I constantly found myself struggling to fit into the picture of his ideal partner — physically. Being that I couldn’t be anybody else other than myself, I totally flunked it. What happened was that I found myself trying too hard and getting worse off. It was only until I released myself from the poison of seeing myself as less, and others as more, that I was able to grow and become confident in my own skin and in my own clothes. One core thing I learnt from that phase was that people can actually see through you. Others can smell either your strength or weakness, and they would treat you nothing more than you treat yourself.
In essence, you need to learn to hold yourself in such high esteem that forces others to see you as larger than your limitations. It should be one that would not give room for anybody to break you, even in the least way possible. When you find that place, you would trade weakness, pity-parties, negativity, criticisms, and vulnerability; for confidence, positivity, compliments, enhanced beauty, and tenacity. Just as one win attracts more wins, you would realise that you are suddenly top of your game. As fabulous as these sound, getting here takes a little more than believing in yourself. It takes, again, a bulldog-like tenacity, and a few extra tips to guide you. Here’s my three-part rule to getting yourself up from the fall.
1) Let go of negative energy
Propagators of the high self-esteem movement would tell you that you need to first change your mind-set for the better. Something about shining the light to your mind and believing in yourself in the face or criticisms and setbacks. However, one real truth we need to always hang on to, is that we would never really be perfect. Still, the last thing we need is somebody or something to remind us of our imperfections on a daily basis. Be it a partner, a friend, a boss, and as many people that have only negative things to say; we must put an end to it. While you may not always be able to stand up to them, you can make their opinions become irrelevant by choosing to ignore what they have to say. While you might need feedbacks from time to time, embrace the art of selective listening and you would nip the foundation of the problem, right in the bud.
2) Focus on the things that you can change
One reason we let ourselves get deprived of the joy that lies in believing in ourselves, is because we try to become things we are not. I found myself being envious of girls who looked much better than I did, very early in life. I would attempt to be like them by trying to emulate their styles and attitudes. Needless to say, it was also a major fail. There are just some things we can change, and others we cannot. The moment you can find the things you are actually good or better at, focus on making those things even better. If you want something so bad, try and get it. If you cannot, try something else and let go of what you cannot have. There is no use seeing yourself as less because of your failure to achieve one thing. Focussing on the things you are good at, is the one thing that would help you stay confident in the face of criticisms and failures. At the end of the day, your ‘whatever’ attitude is what would help you stay above.
3) Make yourself happy
Finally, there is and always would be a direct correlation between happiness and high self-worth. This is because happiness emanates from within you and takes over all you do and all that you are. If you spend your time saddened, and blaming yourself for so much, you would end up being depressed and ultimately having very little self-worth. You just have to find reasons to be happy and remain that way. You make yourself happy when you take cognizance of the subtle and not so subtle compliments you receive from people. You also make yourself happy, when you hold on to things that keep you smiling, when you stay with friends that bring out the best in you, when you celebrate successes and milestones, and when you allow yourself let go of things that would bring you down. Your value is worth fighting for.
Originally published at medium.com