To do our best work -- the work we are on this planet to do -- we have to see ourselves as worth the while. We have to know that we matter and at the very least we matter enough to care for ourselves and believe in ourselves. They say overnight success takes 20 years, and in those 20 years there can be a lot of ups and downs, wondering if you're good enough or are on the right path. You could be the most accomplished, influential, popular, wealthy person, but if your self-worth isn't developed you won't feel particularly successful.
Real success is the kind that comes from internal metrics (not external ones of social media likes and wealth). To succeed is to accept and value yourself. You understand your gifts and your foibles, which helps you do your calling. By building and growing your self-worth you can spend more of your creative energies on your tasks and things that make you happy. You'll have a better sense of focus and thus of contribution because your mind will stay on track. Here's how.
2. Accept all parts of what you've just learnt above
Forgive yourself for any thing you could do better. Let yourself be valued just as you are. More importantly, value yourself as you are. If it's really bothering you, it could be a clue that your values aren't in alignment with your actions (see online course linked in #1). Your emotions are always there to tell you something about what's working and what's not. Listen to them. Meditation can help to better listen inwards and to help you understand your habits and tendencies better. There are some guided self-compassion meditations on my online yoga site that are very helpful (and a free 10 day trial to explore the site).
3. Do caring things for yourself
Extend compassion to yourself and act with kindness. We often think that by being critical we'll get more done, but ask yourself if that style has really worked for you. When you're in a positive frame of mind, you're more creative, more parts of your brain are activated, and you literally are smarter (ie can think and perform better). While self-care may sound simple enough, it is often difficult to execute. One of the most common reasons for people not engaging in regular self-care is that they “don’t have time”.
Doing kind and caring things for ourselves, particularly when we are struggling, can help us to cope and move through difficult emotional experiences. Self-care activities can be sensory, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social. The idea with initiating self-care and integrating it into everyday life is to find out what feels good to you— this could be a bubble bath and a face mask or it might be a weekly long run in nature. It could be a coffee date with a good friend on the regular or it could be a combination of each of the above for different days of the week.
4. Appreciate yourself for inner strengths
Start moving the metrics away from external factors like age, income, popularity, grades, or status. Think about yourself being worthy because you are kind, thoughtful, caring, a good listener and patient. If there are inner strengths you want to develop more, make a point to immerse yourself in learning them. They are all learnable skills, and you can learn them. Consider a mindfulness or meditation practice focused on one of those themes (if that appeals to you) to help you focus each day on these strengths. It's much like a muscle in the mind...the more you work it, the stronger it will grow.
5. Take full responsibility for the person you are becoming
This isn't about how you were raised or where you live. If you're reading this, you have internet, and you're well on your way to deciding who you want to be in this world. Take note of any inner critic who says you're not good enough. Just notice when the self talk isn't kind. DO THE WORK. There isn't a shortcut to better self work. Just put in the time, and you'll get there.
Here you'll find essays and musings on applied mindfulness. What does this look like on a daily basis? How can you infuse it in your day to enjoy yourself more? Join hundreds of others on the the mailing list (link in footer) to get these straight to your inbox.