Self-esteem can be basically defined as self-respect. You might say it’s your own personal sense of self-worth. We all have different ways of determining how we feel about ourselves, and different factors contribute to our level of happiness with who we are.
It’s all too easy to focus on what we see as failures or mistakes in our lives. We hang onto these experiences and refuse to forgive ourselves, to move on. We sometimes even believe that those experiences make us unworthy of love from ourselves or others. We feel that because we’ve disappointed ourselves and others, it defines us forever.
What we have yet to accomplish and aspirations for the future can be just as trying on our minds. When we believe that we’ll only be happy once we’ve reached a certain milestone, we create an impossible quest. There will always be something more, something “better,” something to attain.
Looking to the past or future to determine your value as a human being will never work out. You can’t change the past, but you can be better today. And the future holds no guarantees. What really matters is who you are right now, today.
Who you are is not what you’ve done or will do, what you look like in the mirror, or even what other people think about you. It has nothing to do with how popular you are on social media. It isn’t your grades in school or how much money you make, what you have.
“You are not your mistakes; they are what you did, not who you are.” - Lisa Lieberman-Wang
Identity is simply the “fact of being.” Your existence alone is a miracle. Your ability to have influence in the world, no matter how significant, is actually kind of amazing when you really think about it.
You don’t have to be any certain way or do any particular thing to earn value.
So, how do you nurture your self-esteem in a world that makes it so tough?
Start by making an effort not to compare yourself to others. It’s difficult, especially when you admire someone. Realize, though, that trying to be just like them robs you of the opportunity to appreciate what makes you unique. What sets you apart is exactly what makes you so great!
Next, think deeply about your goals in life. What motivates you? Are the things you strive for intended to win the approval of other people, or are they things that really matter to you in your heart? If you’re spending all your energy trying to impress the world, it’s a waste of time.
Take pride in everything you do in a day. Small, realistic goals are great reasons to feel good about yourself. Checking even the most basic tasks off a to-do list or simply practicing self-care can be a powerful way to change your perspective on how you spent your time.