10 Things to Do When You Don't Like Yourself
BY CHRIS SAVAGE
What Does It Mean When You Don’t Like Yourself?
We've all had times when we don't like ourselves.
Not liking yourself means you're not measuring up to a preconceived notion of who you think you should be.
There’s an infinite number of reasons why you might not like yourself.
But the results are the same: Self-sabotage, regret, loss of time and missed opportunity.
When you feel like you’re not good enough your self esteem takes a hit. But other things also come into play.
What about yourself are you choosing to focus on?
Is there nothing you’ve ever done in your life that you could like yourself for?
We’re all flawed, but one of our biggest flaws is not having a balanced, rational view of ourselves.
Instead, we opt for a distorted self-perception skewed towards the negative.
Imagine having a movie screen inside your head.
It shows the worst aspects of your personality and the worst moments of your life, 24 hours a day.
If that’s all you could see it’s no wonder you don’t like yourself. Who would?
How Do You Start Liking Yourself?
Every person is unique and has their own set of metrics they use to check themselves.
Your self-image is held outside of your unconscious awareness.
But human beings have the miraculous ability to reinvent themselves.
You can change what you don’t like about yourself. But first, you have to know what it is.
You might not like yourself because you don’t have much money.
But that’s the manifestation of the problem, not the problem.
The real problem is a lack of self-discipline, poor work ethic, and financial naivety.
Not saving, using credit cards, and buying stuff you don't need are just a few examples.
Improve your inner self first (self-discipline, work ethic, spending habits).
Then your external problems (having more money) improve by default.
So to start liking yourself again you want to get to the root of what it is you don’t like about yourself.
Then you can replace what you don't like with better thoughts, behaviors, and habits.
Let’s get into it ...
10 Things to Do if You Don’t Like Yourself
1. Be Your Authentic Self
People suppress their authentic selves to conform to their environment.
If you’re pretending to be a version of yourself that isn’t you, how could you like yourself?
Even though you have flaws and always will, you can still shine your own light on the world.
When you care more about yourself than what other people think of you, you're halfway there.
The key to being yourself in the world is getting very clear on two important points;
a) What type of person do you want to be?
b) What type of life you want to live?
Internalising the answers to these questions builds confidence and self-certainty.
These work like a ripple effect, spreading to other areas of your life.
2. Stop Saying Sorry All the Time
From childhood, we’re conditioned to “fit in” to our immediate environment.
People walk around on eggshells not wanting to offend anyone or to break the status quo.
But no one is above you, better than you, or more deserving than you.
Decide who you want to be, and don't apologise for it.
3. Adopt a Growth Mindset
Having a growth mindset means you believe you can develop yourself beyond who you now are.
“If it’s to be, it’s up to me” is a common type of growth mindset statement.
Contrast this with the fixed mindset, which says that who you are is set in stone.
All your faults and deficiencies? Well, sorry but you’re stuck with them.
People with a fixed mindset say things like “that’s just me” or “that’s just who I am, what can I do?”.
Instead of focusing on your faults and feeling bad about them, put your focus on who you want to be.
4. Use Your ‘Flaws’ to Your Advantage
What you think is a flaw, other people see as a strength.
You have curly hair, you want straight hair.
Your friend has straight hair, she wants curly hair.
The skinny guy wants to bulk up, the bulky guy wants to lean down.
The point is that flaws are a matter of perception and context.
You can turn them around so that they work for you.
If you’re on the thin side you might not become a bodybuilder.
But that same thinner frame in martial arts or athletics would make you a champion!
Whatever you perceive your flaws to be, in some context they’re a strength.
Place yourself in situations where you can leverage your strengths towards your goals and your plans for the future.
5. Self-Esteem Is a Choice
Low self-esteem is a result of your thinking and behaviour, about how you see yourself.
Behaviour is a choice. It might be an unconscious choice, but it’s still a choice.
You can change it to something better.
As you can choose cake or fruit for dessert, so can you choose to live in a way that makes you like, or dislike yourself.
6. Get Around Good People
The foundations of self-perception and esteem are set early in life.
The authority figures in your life might have criticised or ignored you.
You blamed yourself, and maybe that effected your self-esteem.
We know the importance of peer groups as children and adolescence.
But even as an adult the people you spend your time with have a massive impact on who you become.
Be observant and notice if the people around you lean to the positive or negative.
The sad truth is that most people in one way or another, don’t like themselves.
Many do though. These are the types you want to be around.
No one’s perfect, if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll never find it.
But you can put yourself around positive, healthy people.
These people appreciate you and support your personal growth and success.
7. Get to Really Know Yourself
Self-reflection and deep examination can be life-changing experiences.
Like the old maxim "Know Thy Self".
If I asked you to name 10 positive things about yourself could you answer?
Or would you have to stop and think about it first?
How about if someone asks you what your goals are, would you be able to answer?
There are many different ways you can get to know yourself. Find what works for you.
I like to get away from my everyday environment to think about where I am, where I want to go, and what I have to do to get there.
I’ll then put that all together and write out a workable plan I can follow.
From there it's about taking action on that plan.
8. Identify the Parts of Yourself Want to Change
When you identify what it is that you don’t like about yourself you're then in a position to change it.
But if you have no idea you’ll stay stuck where you are.
The more you ignore a problem the bigger it gets and the harder it is to overcome.
Acknowledge what you don’t like about yourself, but don't be too critical.
Perfection is an illusion. You'll never find it.
But personal excellence is within your reach.
If you're willing to change a few small thoughts and actions, there's no limit to who you can become.
9. Use Positive Self-Talk
Who you are is defined by how you think.
If you could record all your thoughts and self-talk in a day and transcribe them what would it look like?
Positive self-talk doesn’t mean repeating “I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m HAPPY!” while your life is falling into pieces.
It means speaking to yourself as you would to a good friend.
If your friend doubted their ability to do something you’d tell them you believe in them and to go for it.
Nothing to lose right?
So why wouldn’t you talk to yourself the same way?
Affirmations are a powerful tool.
They encode your mind with positive ideas and new and improved concepts of yourself.
The key to making affirmations work is repetition and intensity.
The change caused by affirmations is for the most part imperceptible.
If you look for it you won’t see it.
But one day you’ll do or say something that is an exact reflection of the affirmations you’ve been using.
10. Make a Plan and Take Action
When you follow a plan and take action your self-esteem rises, and your self-pity fades away.
A human brain is a goal-seeking machine.
It needs to engage with a worthy pursuit, otherwise, it starts feeding on itself and doing its own thing.
The tools are right in front of you, and no one else is going to do it for you.
When you don’t like yourself follow these simple steps to get yourself back on track;
- Be your real self, unashamedly
- Stop saying sorry all the time
- Remember low self-esteem is a choice
- Adopt a growth mindset
- Use your flaws to your advantage
- Get around good people
- Identify the parts of yourself you don’t like and want to change
- Use positive self-talk
- Get to actually know yourself
- Make a plan and take action
Integrate these strategies into your daily life.
You'll like yourself more, and have the right mindset for a happy and successful life.
Quotes About Liking Yourself
"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes" — Carl Gustav Jung
"You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are" — Yogi Bhajan
"The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else " — E. E. Cummings
"I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have" — Abraham Lincoln
"Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are" — Malcolm S. Forbes