“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over again.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald
How often do we look in the metaphorical mirror of our lives and convince ourselves we’re not good enough? That there are plenty of other people more talented, more qualified, more worthy of success and happiness than us?
We live in a world of constant ideals. Of shiny, happy lives and unattainable standards. It’s no wonder that so many of us find ourselves on a slippery slope of self-depreciation and comparison.
But guess what? That’s normal. We aren’t silly or strange for feeling this way. We are humans and we can get in our own heads. But we can get out of them, too. And so, I wanted to share a few tips that might help you, help yourself come to that realisation. And learn to accept and love yourself the way you are.
1. Don’t worry about the social media highlight reel
I almost didn’t write about this, because truthfully, it really irritates me. However, it’s real and it’s hard, so we should address it.
More often than not, we will want to shout about the exciting things that are happening to us online. And there’s nothing wrong with that - go forth and be merry! Just remember what you’re seeing is a very select version of someone’s life, not the whole picture. Please try and remember that when you’re sat scrolling on your phone feeling totally sad about all the things you haven’t done.
And if you’re finding yourself looking at others’ lives and thinking ‘I want that’. Stop and sit on it for a minute. Do you want what they have? I often find if I give myself time to digest what’s bringing out the green-eyed monster, I won’t want what they have at all.
Take stock of those feelings, acknowledge them, and use it as a tool to work out what is you really want from your life.
We don’t need to compete to achieve success. As the great Mary Oliver said, “it’s not a competition, it’s a doorway”. Just take that step.
2. Start small to build your self esteem
Building up our self-esteem can feel like a mountainous task. Is it realistic to go from zero to hero? Probably not. So how about starting small? I like to set myself little tasks to help me feel better about myself.
Whether that’s eating well, letting someone I love know I care, or making the bed. None of those things are ground-breaking, but they make me feel good, and with time you can build upon them. Soon you’ll have a whole host of things you can do that make you feel better about yourself.
3. Communication is queen
Perhaps a slightly tougher one, but hopefully guaranteed to make you feel a bit better. Let it out. Harbouring ill feelings about yourself are never going to equal inner peace. I know that it can sometimes feel impossible to speak to people about how you’re feeling and why. But you’d be surprised how many people feel that self-doubt. Imagine how freeing it would feel to know that your best friend completely gets it!
And if you don’t feel like you can speak out, perhaps write it down? Keeping a personal diary can be so therapeutic. Just getting those thoughts out of your head and onto paper is a great way to offload. It’s also a great way to document the good stuff, too.
4. Be patient with yourself and your journey
Be patient with yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s incredibly beautiful isn’t it? Good things take time and we all have our own paths to lead. We might not know what the bigger picture looks like, and that’s okay. But if we can be kind to ourselves on the way to working that out, it’ll be far more enjoyable. Even just changing the dialogue we have with ourselves can help with that.
5. Accept that things don’t always go to plan
Try your best to accept it’s okay for things to not go to plan. Every bump in the road is an opportunity to learn. We don’t have to be the best at everything, but letting ourselves learn that, that’s what matters. You’re putting yourself out there and you’re trying. And that deserves some serious kudos.
6. Celebrate every win
If we only celebrated the massive milestones in our lives, we’d be waiting a hell of a long time between celebrations. Take stock of everything you achieve. Make lists of even the smallest things. It will be so nice to look back at in the coming weeks, months or years to see how far you’ve come. Even when it feels you haven’t moved an inch, I bet it’s a mile.
Most importantly, know it is almost guaranteed we have all felt like this at some point in our lives. And you are absolutely, without doubt, enough. You have so much to offer to the world and if you haven’t realised that yet? What a wonderful thing you have to look forward to.