By Judith Belmont, MS, LPC, author of Embrace Your Greatness
It is no secret that many of us talk to ourselves in ways we would never talk to anyone else. People who have high standards for themselves, are high achievers, and feel like they need to be better than average especially reserve their most critical and judgmental thoughts for themselves.
How about you? Do you say things to yourself that you would never dream of saying to anyone else—especially someone that you cared about or admired? Do you forget that to be truly happy you need to treat yourself as a best friend, not as an enemy?
The crux of the matter is that if we are not happy with ourselves, we are not happy. Period. If you can’t trust yourself, you can’t really trust anyone else. If you don’t feel like you are a worthy person, you will always come up short in comparison to others. Low self-esteem clouds your vision and your perception of the world. It is like having a faulty eyeglass prescription or seeing the world through smudgy glasses. Things get interpreted in strange ways and it becomes difficult to see things the way they really are without a negative, idiosyncratic filter. No material possessions or things outside of us will make us happy if we are not happy with ourselves to start.
So thinking that you will be happier and feel better about yourself when you lose those nagging fifteen pounds, when you get a better job, when you find a mate, when your kids finally get their lives together, when you get that approval you have been seeking from your coworkers or classmates, you are losing sight of the fact that self-esteem does not come for the outside—it comes from within. Sure, things from the outside can help, but it is our perceptions and filters from within that make or break our feelings about ourselves and our lives.
You are just as beautiful along the journey as when you reach your destination. Truly embracing your greatness is realizing that you are beautiful and special NOW—not when the stars align, not when you “prove” yourself, and not when your life finally comes together. Reaching goals should not be preconditions to self-love. After all, the road to success is paved with failures. The most famous people in history have strings of resounding failures and had the courage and growth mind-set to not define themselves by their disappointments, but by their dreams and determination.
Consider this: Do you ever question the worth of a newborn baby? No doctor will tell you that one baby is worthier than another, and therefore should be put in a special nursery for superior—or inferior—babies. So, why do we question our own worth? We are just as beautiful, despite becoming jaded and bruised along the way!
In Embrace Your Greatness, the major underlying theme is that instead of playing the comparison game, needing to be better than average or achieve our goals to feel good about ourselves, self-esteem is based on a more unconditional view where self-compassion rules.
Self-compassion allows you to love yourself unconditionally and accept yourself without any preconditions. It allows you to accept yourself without hesitation, flaws and all. Self-compassion is there when you succeed, as well as when you fall short. It supports you in good times and bad. It helps you strive for success without losing yourself in the process.
When we are self-compassionate, we choose:
Self-acceptance over self-judgement
Self-kindness over self-flagellation
Self-forgiveness over self-recrimination
Self-love over self-hate
Self-soothing over self-berating
So, how about you?
Can you forgive yourself for not having the foresight to know what is now so obvious in hindsight?
Are you tired of being your own collector of injustices, and would like to be filled with more peace and acceptance of what can’t be changed?
Do you want to give yourself the best shot at life without any preconditions that you need to be better than you already are?
Once you decide to truly embrace your greatness—flaws and all—you will trade in a negative self-view for a more positive one, and really learn to love yourself and to love your life! What are you waiting for? Don’t you deserve it?
Judith Belmont, MS, LPC, has been a psychotherapist, motivational speaker, workplace wellness consultant, and mental health coach. Her message of positivity, healthy communication, stress resilience, and self-empowerment has reached thousands nationwide through her books, consulting, and interactive presentations.
She is author of seven mental health and wellness books that offer therapists and their clients, as well as self-help readers, practical solutions to deal with common problems such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and relationship issues. In her books, she offers practical skill-building resources using experiential activities, visualizations, handouts, and worksheets.
Belmont is founder of Belmont Wellness where she offers a variety of mental health and wellness presentations, as well as personal and professional coaching. Learn more at www.belmontwellness.com.