Like many, I wasn’t born and raised in an environment that uplifted my self-esteem. Quite the opposite, I was told I was a piece of shit and sickening to look at and as you have predicted, those early and consistent messages taught me to feel bad about myself. Another person’s opinion of me became an integrated part of my thoughts, so much that it took years of therapy for me to realize the extent of how damaging it was.
So how did I manage to get out of bed every morning when I felt like a horrible person? My go to was accomplishments. I became an overachiever and started to overproduce work in order to get positive recognitions that made me feel better. Win-win solution, right? Nope, producing all that work for other people only created temporary happy feelings. In the meantime, I still felt bad about myself until I accomplished another project.
Below are a few simple steps you can take to accomplish this task:
Start to make promises to yourself instead of other people- Take some time to think about how many favors you do for your family and friends. Carve out one of those favors and make a promise to do yourself a favor instead.
Be consciously aware of your promises- Every day you make decisions, start to make them intentionally with your promise in mind. Remind yourself why this promise was important to make in the first place.
Make them a priority- Your friend asks you to attend a late-night event but you promised yourself you would go to bed at the same time every day for 7 days, make the decision to stay home instead
Make them attainable- Start with a small promise or break a large promise into smaller steps. Commit to eating a healthy dinner instead of committing to taking out all processed foods from your diet. Promise to get a massage once a month instead of trying to change a habit.
Have a secondary plan- If something gets in the way of you keeping the promise, don’t just give up, have a plan B. If your promise is to eat a healthy dinner but you end up having to take a client out to a restaurant, be prepared to choose healthy options on the menu.
When you follow through on the promises made to yourself, you start to feel better about who you are as a person. The promise itself isn’t the most important part, honoring the promise is where you find the gold. By completing the promise, you are left with a sense of pride and accomplishment. The best part is that the person receiving the benefit is you. Not only are you boosting your self-esteem you are also practicing self-care. After succeeding at keeping the first promise to yourself, your confidence will be boosted and that empowers you to believe you could do more. Soon enough it becomes second nature to create and keep more and more promises to yourself. Eventually you won’t need outside recognitions in order to feel good about you.