Most people have an “If I” attitude to self-esteem. “If I get that raise, I’ll finally be happy with myself.” “If I had a better car, I’d be the man.” They think that becoming richer or more accomplished changes things.
This, of course, is crazy. Self-esteem is all about you – your self – and not what you have! This is why rich, famous individuals can be so insecure; real life success has little effect on how we feel about ourselves!
One of the tools I’ve used to build confidence and self-worth into students is gratitude. It sounds crazy, but check out this post and see if you don’t feel like a badass after following my tips.
What Makes Us Feel Like Crap
Too much about Western Culture makes us feel like crap.
- Actors and models we see look perfect while we feel ugly in comparison.
- In our extremely competitive society, any form of “losing” is shameful.
- Celebrity worship and “spectatoritis” – we increasingly view ourselves as passive spectators rather than equal players in the game of life.
- Less time spent socializing makes us more self-conscious about ourselves.
- Sedentary lifestyles are ruining our bodies; skyrocketing obesity rates.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave your whole life, you know how bad things are. Up to 24 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder; I’m not from the U.S., but that number alone tells you how unhappy people are with themselves!
On top of that, people believe that certain accomplishments – more money, a better body, more love – can make them feel better. This is why liposuction and plastic surgery is so popular – some individuals try to fix their internal problems by changing what’s outside.
Dwight Howard – one of the best basketball players in the world – made a horrible career decision because he wants the public to like him. Actors and actresses talk abot their insecurities all the time. Being beautiful, rich and successful can’t create self-esteem; “the hole inside” can only be filled from the inside.
Fixing Low Self-Esteem… With Gratitude
2 years ago, I was helping young men meet girls every weekend (and I still do sometimes). This meant being in charge of up to 10 shy dudes and – somehow – making them feel confident enough to talk to girls.
If you know anything about men, you understand how scary talking to a woman you’ve never met before is. So I used every technique and method I knew – from personal experience and as a dating coach – to help . From getting physically charged up to visualizing success, it all worked – but some of the strategies required weeks of regular practice before improving a student’s self-esteem.
Then I discovered gratitude.
Usually, techniques build self-esteem and confidence by filling “the hole inside” or distracting you from it. Positive affirmations give you new beliefs; visualization creates a better future in your subconscious; meditation brings awareness and dissolves internal issues. But gratitude is different.
By practicing gratitude, you bring your attention to all the great things you have. All the amazing stuff you take for granted becomes obvious, making it hard to feel bad about life – and yourself. Instead of changing or filling up your self-esteem “hole,” gratitude simply says: “This little thing? I can barely see it!”
Here’s how you practice gratitude:
- Find a few minutes of relative peace. In the morning, before sleep and during commutes are all good times.
- Make a mental – or written – list of all the things you’re grateful to have. Anything you have that others don’t is fair game.
- Simply go over each point as you’re making it and try to feel gratitude for all the gifts and opportunities you have in life. Think of all the people that come to mind, relive all the experiences and memories you’re grateful for.
- Stop whenever you’re bored or have had enough.
As you do this, your mind will learn to stop making negative judgements that make you feel bad – “I’m fat,” “I’m unhappy” – and charge you up with positivity every single day. Practice gratitude regularly; you’ll always be mindful of the value and gift(s) you have to offer the world. So in with the gratitude and out with low self-esteem!
Building self-esteem through confidence is funny, right? You’re feeling better about yourself by feeling better about everything you have. But guess what – it works!
I feel grateful every morning I wake up, because I have two arms; two legs; two eyes. It doesn’t sound like much, but many people don’t have that. Just by being a healthy, young man, I have a lot to offer; it’s hard to know that and still feel bad about myself!
Just give it a try; feel gratitude about your life right now and see how you feel. Don’t forget to leave a comment, too!