How are you?
I need you to be completely honest for a second: Are you totally happy with yourself?
If you aren’t, you’re not alone. A lot of people (myself included) struggle with self-esteem in today’s world. It doesn’t matter where you are: Whether it’s at school, work, or even at home, it’s almost impossible not to be constantly self-conscious and to wish we could be better.
And that’s okay. In fact, it’s a good thing that you want to be the best version of yourself that you can be. I’m all about that. Keep it up.
But this system of constant comparison that we call self-esteem is keeping us trapped in an endlessly ineffective cycle of dissatisfaction with ourselves and with our lives no matter how well we do or how hard we try.
And if we’re constantly dissatisfied with what we do, what’s the point of doing anything at all?
Why Self-Esteem doesn’t work.
It’s always bothered me that this a wavering self-esteem has become a norm in today’s society; Almost everything we do whether it’s with family, friends, school, or work holds us to high standards that are almost always based on other people’s performance. And on top of that, social media has played a HUGE role in making it possible for us to constantly compare ourselves to others.
It’s just not healthy. And in the end, it’s not realistic either.
“But wait!” You say.
“Self-esteem can be good too! You can feel good about yourself when you do well too, it’s not just about feeling bad!”
Sure. But there’s still a problem with this. If you choose to let yourself feel good based on when you succeed, you’re also choosing to let yourself feel bad when you fail. So you may be happy with yourself for a temporary period, but you’re also accepting that for another period you won’t be happy with yourself. And then we’re in the same dilemma we had in the first place.
Or another argument is that we can use self-esteem to protect against feeling bad: When we feel anxious or afraid about something we can simply tell ourselves to feel better because we’ve done a good job before.
But what happens when we haven’t done a good job before, or have been having a hard time and haven’t been performing recently? Then we have to assume that because we don’t have things to feel good about, we’re bound to fail, which keeps us on a bad path and doesn’t feel good either.
When I read about an alternative in the book Go Suck a Lemon by Michael Cornwall I knew it was something good. It’s a phenomenal book, and I’ll be putting out a video review on it soon… but in the meantime I had to talk about this specific idea of “Unconditional Acceptance.”
Unconditional acceptance is like anti-self-esteem. It’s the idea that no matter how good or bad we perform, no matter how good we are at some things and bad we are at others, that we accept ourselves nonetheless. It’s about not trying to constantly re-rate ourselves in hopes of someday being perfect… It’s about knowing who you are and being okay with that person.
When we’re always trying to determine our self-worth based on our performance, it’s messy and inaccurate and polarizing; Like Cornwall said, when we do this we’re only ever as good as our last failure or success.
Obviously that’s not true. We are so much more than our most recent performance, and it sucks to constantly feel either really good or really bad no matter how hard we try.
When we don’t try to determine our self worth at all and just accept ourselves regardless, it’s simple and more true to us as people. We love ourselves for who we are rather than for how we’re doing, and we accept that we will always have failures and successes, weaknesses and strengths. These things are inevitable no matter what you do or how good you get.
It really just becomes a question of whether or not you will accept them now or struggle against them forever. Can you accept your flaws? Or will you spend a lifetime fighting them and in turn fighting yourself?
The choice is up to you.
I challenge you to get to know yourself a little better, and to unconditionally accept the person you find in the process. Flaws, insecurities, weaknesses, everything. Take it all in.
These things make you who you are just as much as anything else, just as much as your passions and strengths do (if not more).
I hope this post can help you think differently when it comes to your self-worth. Or even more interestingly, help you someday change how you look at the worth of other people…
But in the meantime, I’m gonna say this now in case you need to hear it. I know I did:
YOU ARE WORTH IT. REGARDLESS OF HOW WELL YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW, YOU ARE WORTH IT. I CHOOSE TO ACCEPT YOU EVEN IF YOU NOBODY ELSE DOES, OR EVEN IF YOU WON’T ACCEPT YOURSELF. YOU HAVE INHERENT VALUE JUST BY BEING YOU.
Good luck with this. Even if it’s hard at first, please try this out. You can stop if you don’t like it, but I don’t think that’ll be the case… change like this can be more rewarding than you think.
Let’s go baby.