We can only give to the world what we have given to ourselves. If we want to share love and inspiration with others, we need to cultivate our own self-love. It serves no one for us to go about our lives feeling self-judgment, shame, doubt, or other heart-closing emotions. Here are a few ways that you can see the good in yourself.
This one practice can make all the difference. Focusing on gratitude shifts our attention away from what is wrong to what there is to feel good about. It also creates a tangible energy that helps create more positive feelings in general.
Express gratitude for all the blessings in your life, yes, but pay special attention to the ways you can be grateful to yourself. Thank yourself every time you do an act of self-care like exercising or eating a healthy meal. Thank yourself every time you help someone else, regardless of whether that person thanked you. Find ways to feel and express gratitude throughout your day, and your whole reality may shift.
Apologize and Be Accountable
We are more likely to be hard on ourselves if we have unfinished business or are out of integrity. When you realize you have made a mistake or hurt someone (we all do), apologize. Make amends. Take responsibility for your actions, even if you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Your self-worth will soar as you find your integrity.
Always Tell the Truth
It is easy to tell little white lies to ourselves every day, hiding from the truth to avoid the reflection and work that kind of honesty would inspire. Or we try to please others by saying what we think they want to hear. The ability to trust yourself is crucial for self-esteem. So are healthy boundaries and unflinching honesty. Telling the truth, to yourself and others, is a requisite for feeling good about yourself.
Ask for Help
Part of feeling good about ourselves is understanding our needs. A lot of things we can do on our own and provide for ourselves. But often we need support. Part of confidence and self-esteem is the ability to ask for assistance when it is needed. This could be simple physical help like when moving a heavy object, or emotional support when grieving a lost loved one. Be courageous in expressing your needs.
This is also a fundamental aspect of feeling good. Everyone makes mistakes and unskillful choices. That is part of the human experience. Learning to let go of the hurt and forgive those who have failed you will free up space for you to be in the present moment. And even more important for self-regard is that you forgive yourself. For everything from birth to this moment, whatever happened. Honor the frailty of your humanity, and let yourself off the hook.
Find Authentic Service
Supporting others is a quick route to good feelings about ourselves. The key is that is must be authentic service. You cannot do something just because you think you should – that is obligation, not service. Find ways to help other people that feel joyful and from your heart.
Make Your Art
We are all artists, in our own ways. The responsibilities of being an adult often squelch our creative spirit. But it is in there, somewhere. Make your art, whether it be painting, flower arranging, or spreadsheet making.
Follow Your Heart
Along the same lines as making your art, one of the most direct ways to feel good about yourself is to follow your heart. Nothing gets us out of bed in the morning with a smile on our faces like living a life of passion and purpose. When we find our place in the world, it is a lot easier to feel good. Discover how your heart wants you to live, and do it.
Remember It’s Not About You
Sometimes we can let other’s opinions and judgments affect our sense of self-worth. But often people are projecting their own self-judgments, or just generally having a bad day, and we take it personally. If you actually cause harm be accountable for it, but don’t apologize just for being. Do not take the things that other people say and do personally, as much of the time it is not really about you.
Connect and Reflect
We can do a lot on our own, but at a certain point it helps to have the reflection of others. Not just anyone, of course, but the people we love and trust. The Buddhist concept of the “noble friend” can support us in these times. Noble friends help us see parts of ourselves that are hidden from our own view. The reflection of a true friend can help you see the places you need to grow, and the ways you already shine.
Happiness comes from the inside out. When we feel good about ourselves, we can contribute to our families and the world in positive, productive ways. Tap into your own good feelings by exploring these tips, and allow the possibility for a complete shift in your self-perception.