One of the first steps in improving your self-esteem has nothing to do with change. You can take pride in your goals, determination, and progress; however, self-esteem is all about accepting who you are and self-esteem is an important component of conquering your goals. Those who do not believe in themselves and do not like themselves are less likely to achieve their goals. As Stuart Smalley might say, “you are good enough, you are smart enough, and doggone it people like you”. In my years working in community mental health, I met a variety of people; I have had opportunities to get to know people from all over the world in all kinds of situations; and I can honestly say that I believe there is something good, lovable, and wonderful in everyone. For this reason, I will be creating a series of posts about self-esteem so you can find those things in yourself.
Before you can like anyone, including yourself, it helps to really know that person. Have you ever looked at you for you and not in comparison to others? Grab a piece of paper and write down at least 20 positive characteristics about yourself. I guarantee there are at least 20! These could be anything from funny to makes a fabulous vegetarian lasagna to stubborn (stubborn has helped me a lot in life). Your friends likely have some similar characteristics as you, but only you have the specific combination of characteristics that make you you. Keep your list where you can see it and remind yourself of all the fabulous things about you. If you get stuck, ask yourself what the person who knows you best would say about you or on what others compliment you.
The other important list you need to make and keep in front of you is your past successes. Your successes include all of your victories from reducing the number of cigarettes you have each day to telling your boss you cannot work overtime without compensation to finishing a degree to learning something new to starting a new diet plan. Even if your successes are temporary like starting but not maintaining a fitness program, you can still count starting something new as something you have done.
Start listing and focusing on the positive things about yourself of which you can be proud.