Self-esteem really matters. The origin of the word esteem comes from the Latin word aestimare, which literally means ‘to put value on’, or ‘to estimate’. Therefore, self-esteem means the value we put on ourselves.
One of the main key factors that determine a healthy level of self-esteem is a strong sense of self. Your capacity of what you can do and achieve in life can only be limited by your self-image, how you see yourself, and how you value yourself. It’s been said that many lottery winners lose almost all of their windfall money quickly, and many successful multi-millionaire businessmen whose business are wiped out overnight often bounce back and recover quickly. Although their fortune changed drastically, their self-value has not. The level of wealth is ‘equalized’ by the value that we put on ourselves. Wealth is only one of the many indicators, there are also social, health, career etc.
So, how can you enhance your sense of self?
This is a great exercise to start off with. List down anything you can think of that you like about yourself. It can be anything: physical, intellectual, qualifications, achievements, capabilities, values, beliefs, memorable experiences and etc. Once you get started, trust me, the list can add up pretty quickly. Let the list flow and overflow. They can never be too long.
Simply repeating affirmations such as “I like myself. I like myself. I like myself” may not be effective. Your subconscious mind needs good reasons. Ask yourself these questions:
“Why do I like myself?”
“Why do I find great favor with my spouse, colleagues, friends…?”
“Why am I so comfortable in my own skin?”
“Why am I so likable?”
“Why am I so capable?”
“Why do I like the person I see in the mirror each day?”
This is not an exercise of vanity to bloat yourself up, but to promote honest self-appreciation and self-liking. We often seem to remember all the self-criticisms and keep records of the mistakes and failures we make. Why can’t we put things in a more useful perspective and think of the qualities we like in ourselves? Come up with a list of reasons why you honestly like yourself (the more the better).
How to Like Yourself More
What makes you like the people that you like? Think of somebody you really like and ask yourself this, “Why do I like X?” Maybe you might just find yourself answering “I just do. I just like X”. But think, “What qualities do I really value in X?”
Whether you are consciously aware of them or not, there will be some particular reasons. Once you start writing them down, you may find that liking involves deep engaging with another person and finding qualities you enjoy and appreciate. To like someone is to enjoy him or her. Similarly, to like yourself is to enjoy yourself and enjoy being yourself.
You don’t have to be perfect to like yourself. Think of public figures and celebrities, people that you’ve never met and yet you like them. As much as they’re beautiful, talented, successful, rich or whatever reasons they’re famous for, one of the key things that attract fans to them is the fact that they have frailties and vulnerabilities, like you and me. Actually, they’re people just like us. They’re loved for their down-to-earth humanity. It is a huge relief to allow ourselves to accept us as we really are, our quirkiness, idiosyncrasies and frailties. And to become quite fond of them, even, as long as we don’t allow our weaknesses to interfere with our lives.
Make it a regular habit to catch yourself looking, feeling and being your best. After some time, you may find that you now begin to enjoy the man or woman in the mirror more. You may take longer looks at yourself each day, admiring and liking yourself more and more. Let me know your processes and outcome.