It’s so vital that, when you look in the mirror, you value the person staring back at you.
I want to give you three strategies to help you appreciate all that you have inside. Put these into practice, and every time you take a step, think a positive thought, make a good choice or practice a small discipline, you’ll be moving your reality closer in line with your self-image.
1. Make a list. Jot down all your best personal qualities. Don’t be too modest! If needed, spend days or weeks to make the list, but don’t stop until you’ve said every positive thing you can about yourself. Now think harder and find more. This should be comprehensive. This exercise will inform part two of this step: If it took you a long time to create your list, then you need to take time out of every day to review the list and let all these positive qualities sink in, reminding yourself of your value. Remember, if you don’t value yourself, you will have a hard time adding value to others. Once you are deeply familiar with all these positive qualities you have, choose the one that best represents you. Make it the North Star of your character as you begin to build on it.
2. Speak kindly to yourself. Few things impact a person’s self-esteem more than the way they talk to themselves on a daily basis. Are you aware of how you talk to yourself? Keep track of your self-talk in your smartphone. Make a tally each time you think positive or negative about yourself. When you realize just how hard you’re being on yourself, refer back to that list of personal qualities you’ve created.
3. Reflect well on others. If you really want to feel valuable, you’ve got to share your gifts with others—be these your interpersonal qualities or your talents. How much time every day and every week do you spend focused on adding value to the people around you? Do you serve through a volunteer organization? Do you mentor people? Do you give assistance to others less fortunate than yourself? If you aren’t doing so already, find a way to serve others by utilizing your strengths, especially that North Star you identified. If you’re already serving, then do more.
It’s the surest way to improve your self-image, which is the surest way to improve others’ images of you.
Never ever allow yourself to become used to feelings of mediocrity. When you look into the mirror, you should see someone who matters to you, first and foremost—someone you believe in.