Self-esteem, self-identity, self-concept all consider how you value yourself.
How you value yourself dictates how you live your life.
And how you live your life is of course pretty important.
But, unfortunately it’s not uncommon for a significant proportion of how we view ourselves to be determined by factors (people, status quo etc) outside of our control.
We tend to put our thoughts and feelings in the hands of other people.
As in, someone else has the capability to decide how you feel about yourself.
When said out loud, it doesn’t make any sense. But it’s true. We all fall victim to it.
Let’s use a simple example; someone is mean to you and comments on your appearance in a negative manner.
Initially, you shrug it off but then you later dwell on it, you start to feel sad and your mind begins to play games with you. You may consider whether what they said was true, and you may start to look at yourself differently.
Developing your self awareness would allow you to recognise that this persons intention was to hurt you. And guess what, they achieved that aim because you felt sad.
You could try and prevent this from happening by:
Firstly, understanding that opinions are opinions and opinions are not facts.
Secondly, what you think of you is what should be of your utmost concern.
Thirdly, if you value yourself based on appearance. Then I urge you to stop that.
When you value yourself based on external things (appearance, job, status, money, possessions etc) it can be problematic. Here’s two reasons:
These things are prone to change, they are not stable. What happens when you can no longer afford that flashy car? You have been made redundant or your business has gone bust? Are you worthless now? Are you going to feel less than?
There will always be a better option. Meaning you will continue to search for the next. You will remain unfulfilled and dissatisfied until you can reach that ‘next’. And once you do, this feeling of satisfaction will be temporary. So you will remain on the chase and it’s unlikely that you will be happy.
Are you your appearance, your job, your possessions, your social or wealth status?
Or are you what you value?
It’s your decision.
What you value is what you consider important right? It’s what you hold in high regard. So if your identity is based on what you value that means you can also hold yourself in high regard.
The exterior is just what everyone else sees.
The interior is what no one else sees.
Only you know, and I mean really know yourself.
So who are you when no one is looking?
If you don’t know what you value then try and create a list of non negotiable principles that you feel seriously strong about.
Then make it your mission to consistently act in accordance with these values.
Tell yourself I am what I value and what I value is what I believe to be important.
Your identity then becomes what you value.
Tom Bileyu said “your self-esteem has to be built on something they cannot attack”.
It’s true, your value system will be harder to tarnish than let’s say your appearance.
When your identity is a representation of your values, opinions on external features will eventually become insignificant.
But what if someone targets your identity based on your values in a negative way?
Act in complete sincerity with your values regardless of any situation.
And eventually, you build this self-confidence, an internal shield of truth.
It’s like protection.
This time there is no reflection in the mirror. You no longer second guess yourself because of someone else’s opinion.
I’m not saying that all of a sudden your insecurities will disappear.
What I am saying is that you will develop an awareness and a clarity about yourself.
Ultimately, you will have removed the permissions from others to validate your thoughts and feelings.
Focus on cultivating an identity based on your values.
Meaning that what your identity projects to the outside is true for you on the inside.