The one question that matters the most to your self-improvement is, “Do you love yourself?”
I know it sounds silly and you might be wondering how this question trumps every other matter related to self-improvement. But trust me when I say that this is by far the most important question if you have even teeny tiny interest in self-improvement. I say this because I and many others have learned this fact the hard way.
But before discussing more on this topic, ask yourself this question and try to honestly answer.
The problem with our Idols
Most of us have at least one idol. We look up to our heroes, and we aspire to become like them. And why shouldn’t we look up to people who are doing what we want to do, living the life we want to live. It sounds fair, right?
However, there is a problem with how we perceive our idols and what they actually are! Whenever we are in awe of somebody’s personality, their work or their achievement, we tend to ignore or look past their shortcomings.
We perceive our idols as the pinnacle of perfection, and this is where things go horribly wrong!
When we compare where we are and what we are with the wrongly perceived image of idols, we fall short. And why wouldn’t we feel less than them, after all, they are so perfect and great? How can an average person like you and me ever match up to their greatness and charisma?
I told you, there is a fundamental flaw in how we perceive the people we aspire. We forget that our idols are average people like you and me. They have achieved their success by working hard. I know some people are just lucky, but let’s not talk about them. 🙂
The people we look up to were at the same stage of life where you might be today. Even they had people they admired and even they felt that sense of being less than what it requires to be successful. But they overcame this stage and so shall you by asking the same question, “Do you love yourself?”
It is OK if you answered “No”
If you answered “No” or some version of “No,” it is OK, and you are not alone. I know it is hard to accept the fact that you can’t answer “Yes, I Love Myself” with complete faith and confidence.
Trust me, I have been there and many people reading this might be in this stage or have crossed this stage.
It takes courage to understand and accept that what we are today is not someone we love. Your reasons for not liking yourself might be different than others, but whatever reason makes you not love yourself, can be changed. If you cannot change the reason why you don’t love yourself, you can accept it as it is. It sounds difficult, but it is doable.
First of all, and I am saying this because I know people do this, even I did this, stop saying that you hate yourself. Hate is a strong word and has very heavy feelings and emotions attached to it.
Elie Wiesel said it the best, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
Now that you know that you don’t love yourself and you have, hopefully, accepted this fact, let’s see how you can convert that “No” into a “Yes.”
Changing the “No” into a “Yes”
Converting the answer to the question from No to a Yes is easy once you know what to do. So, let’s see what or who makes you to not love yourself and how to overcome it or them!
The Inner Critic
Your inner critic, the voice that keeps telling you that you are not good enough, you are pathetic and even thinking of comparing yourself to your idol would be a crime. The inner critic that never appreciates your strengths, instead always highlights your shortcomings. Your inner critic might be a little more creative and would have visuals to support the audio and make their point. You are ugly. You are fat. You are dumb. You suck at everything. You are a pathetic loser.
The thing is, your inner critic will say and do anything to make you feel bad and back down. It will do everything in its power to stop you from doing what you are meant to do and achieve the success you always deserved.
But now, I would ask you to talk back to your inner critic and stand up for yourself. You have to stop allowing your inner voice to manipulate you into giving up on the things that deeply means the world to you.
It is ok to be imperfect, its ok to be average, its ok to be an amateur. These things don’t and won’t define what you are and what you will become. Learn to embrace the fact that only your commitment and dedication matters.
If you somehow overcome your inner critic and start to work on the things that matter the most, your inner critic changes its role and comes back as The Perfectionist. Your inner voice is the best actor in the world, and it plays multiple characters as you move forward towards mastery of your craft.
The perfectionist’s job is the same as that of the inner critic with a slight twist. The perfectionist tries to stop you by making your work feel small. It might make you think that whatever you are working on is not perfect and not up to the mark. It will tell you to stop working or rework the thing and will lure you into the obsessive-compulsive territory. It will always find something that is not perfect; hence you should redo or think of a better, an ideal way to do the thing, which by the way, could be an eternity!
I have discussed why you should not chase perfection but rather chase completion in my previous article.
It is the only way to shut up the perfectionist in you.
The Pessimist inside you tries to scare you off by making you see the worst in everything and everyone. It will make you give up by making you believe that the results would be so horrible that you would not be able to bear it and it will make you think that giving up is the only option you have.
The pessimist will always look for an opportunity where you could shine and make you nervous and anxious about X number of ways you could mess up. The pessimist will also make you ruin your relationships and make you isolated.
The Inner Critic, the Perfectionist, and the Pessimist will ruin your life and the more power you give them to take over and the more you listen to them, the faster you will destroy your life.
How to defeat the Inner Voices and claim what belongs to you
By now you might have already understood how you can overcome your inner voices. However, the most important thing to remember is that you matter to yourself and to the world. If the great achievers gave up just because they were not able to overcome their inner voices, the world would be a different place. I believe that every one of us has something to contribute and who knows someone reading this would go ahead and change the world. The possibilities are endless once you realize that you are precious and you have the power to change the world. Believe in yourself and love yourself, not because I told you but because you are worth loving.