We all do it from time to time: We compare ourselves to others and then judge ourselves for what we are doing (or not doing). We want to know how we are stacking up. Unfortunately, this habit can lead to a lack of self-esteem.
Stop focusing on others
We never sit around comparing ourselves to less fortunate people and counting our blessings. Instead, we compare ourselves to people who have what we perceive to be better lives — those who are better looking with bigger houses, have better jobs and more money. It’s a ridiculous comparison. Instead of focusing on others, we should compare ourselves to our past and our expectations of the future.
- How has your life improved in the last year?
- What have you done that you never thought you could do?
- What actions have you taken recently that have yielded positive results?
- What negative habits have you gotten rid of?
- What charity work have you done?
- How have you been a good friend, employee and partner?
- How are you continuing to improve yourself?
Asking and answering these questions of yourself will help you realize all the things you’ve accomplished that really matter. This is a key to self-love. Comparing yourself to yourself allows you to see how much you’ve achieved, obstacles you’ve overcome and goals that are within reach. It also helps you improve your self-appreciation and gratitude.
Self-worth and social media
Many people use Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to keep in touch with long-distance friends and relatives. Others use these websites to network for job opportunities and relationships. However, social media also allows users to focus on others. You see what each person in your circle of Facebook friends is doing and, again, compare yourself to see how you measure up. Your ego comes into play and you also tend to judge and criticize others, as well as yourself.
According to a study conducted by researcher Soraya Mehdizadeh from York University in Canada last year, those who scored higher on psychology tests to measure levels of narcissism also checked their Facebook pages more often each day than those who scored lower. The study also indicated that those people with low self-esteem also checked Facebook more often than normal. That shouldn’t be surprising as narcissism is directly linked to a lack of self-esteem.
If you find yourself engrossed in social media in a way that is unhealthy, give yourself a break. Step away for a while and concentrate on your own accomplishments and goals.
Start loving yourself
If you want to start loving yourself but don’t know how to go about it, try these helpful tips.
End self-criticism – How often do you look at yourself in the mirror and say that you look fat, ugly or old? Stop criticizing yourself by keeping affirmations on Post-it notes on your mirror about all your positive qualities. Repeat them to yourself every day.
Let go of your ego – Your ego and the insecurities behind it are what cause you to be jealous, envious, fearful, angry and a host of other negative emotions. Don’t allow your ego to control your life and your relationships.
Acknowledge your accomplishments – Celebrate your own achievements, even if your only accomplishment is your effort. Many times just trying something new is worth acknowledgment and praise.
Forgive yourself – Often a feeling of low self-esteem or self-worth stems from hanging on to mistakes you’ve made in the past. Learn to forgive yourself. We are all flawed and have made many mistakes in life. Let go of the baggage and move forward.
Enjoy life – Relax, give yourself a break and have a little fun. You don’t need to always be a workaholic or a Supermom. Take a break for a little “me” time to pay attention to your health and happiness. Stop worrying about things you can’t control or that don’t matter. Love yourself enough to take care of your body, mind and soul.