A step by step guide
As requested by Anne
There are a lot of shit articles out there on this. I feel like most of them were written by people who don’t even have strong self esteem. In any case, they all say the same thing and most of it is garbage.
Here’s how it really works:
First: get fucking fed up
With feeling shitty. With being frustrated. With being hurt or pissed; sad or mad.
You done with people hurting you? You can say whatever you want, but if you keep allowing it to happen, I can’t help you, and reading the rest of this article is a waste of your fucking time.
Get exhausted. Get disgusted. Fucking decide you want it.
BUILDING SELF ESTEEM IS NOT ABOUT:
It’s not about “stopping” bad habits
“Just don’t compare yourself to others… don’t get down on yourself… don’t chase after people… etc.”
Look, that’s not how it goes.
It’s not about forcing yourself not to do something. It’s about developing a mindset where you don’t even want to.
Question: why don’t you reach for meth in the morning? (I mean, I’m assuming you don’t.) Is it because you tell yourself “don’t do meth” each night before bed? Is it a conscious decision you have to force?
No. Doing meth probably doesn’t even occur to you. There’s no desire to. And it’s because, in part, you care about yourself enough. (Conversely, if you did do meth, no amount of “telling yourself not to” would change the mindset that still makes you want to.)
It’s the same with any shitty behavior. Including comparing ourselves to others or talking ourselves down or whatever else.
It’s not just about not doing it. It’s about not wanting to. It’s about building a mindset where treating yourself like shit ranks as tempting as shooting up.
It’s not about forcing good habits
“Think positively about yourself… Remind yourself that, despite your problems, you are a unique, special, and valuable person, and that you deserve to feel good about yourself… Identify and challenge any negative thoughts about yourself.”
I mean, sure, do this. But:
a.) Self-talk and forcing habits only gets you so far
The problem is that motivational talk creates a fake feeling of satisfaction. Instead of doing the thing, telling ourselves we’ll do the thing satiates enough that we don’t actually do it.
It’s why saying we’re going to be more generous causes the same mood boost as actually being more generous.
The brain is dumb sometimes.
b.) You shouldn’t have to consciously engage in positive self-talk
Again, you don’t have to tell yourself each morning “I am not a meth addict,” now do you? No. Because you know you’re not.
So again, this isn’t about forcing the effects of self esteem. This is about building a mindset where you don’t have to deliberately “talk positively.”
It’s NOT about pretending not to care.
Sometimes people get really defensive about what they perceive is an expectation to be a “cool girl,” and they think this means “pretending not to care.”
And lol, sweetie. We don’t pretend not to care. We actually don’t care.
We brush off other people’s shitty behavior like you brush off a stranger’s bad outfit. We don’t take it personally or make it about us.
Do not enlist help
“Try to get a supportive friend or relative to help you” one site recommended.
“Try to enlarge your social circle by making an effort to meet and befriend people.”
“Get others on board. Tell your friends and relatives what you are going through and ask for their advice and support. Perhaps they too have similar problems, in which case you might be able to band together and form a support group. Don’t be overly shy or reserved: most people do want to help!”
I do not agree.
This emotional dependency is exactly what you’re trying to avoid.
Do not leverage others to build your self esteem. It fundamentally has to come from you, and you need to be the one building it.
It’s not about indulging in hedonism
“Do more of the things that you enjoy. Go ahead and spoil yourself. Do at least one thing that you enjoy every day.”
I have absolutely no idea what effect this would have on self esteem. Stress, sure. But self esteem?
Maybe this is for the person who struggles to make time for themselves, giving them permission to make time for themselves?
But overall, this has nothing to do with self esteem.
WHAT DEFINITELY BUILDS SELF ESTEEM
1. Take responsibility
It all starts and end with you. Everything. Your mindset, your self worth, all of it.
“Confident people accept responsibility for their actions and emotions. They don’t blame or shame their partners if they feel unhappy and don’t accuse him of “making” them feel a certain way. They don’t blame men for being jerks and they don’t view themselves as the victims of other people and circumstances.
They realize that their time is their responsibility. As a result, they don’t wait around in dead-end relationships, hoping something will magically change. And they don’t blame their exes for wasting their time. They take responsibility for their choices, both good and bad, and use mistakes as opportunities to grow and become even better.”
After you get fucking fed up (see step one), this is the most important step two. Until you do this, reading further is a waste of your time.
2. Accept that the world — and other people — will cause you pain
Here’s an interesting exercise for you: tell someone the thing that would hurt you most. Just hand it to them. And watch what they do with it.
They’re going to use it to hurt you. Whatever you give them is exactly the collateral they’ll use against you when they’re upset.
Because people hurt people. That’s what people do. They do it inadvertently. They do it deliberately. They do it because they’re insecure themselves. Or they’re afraid. Or mad. Or drunk. Or have fucking aspergers. Any number of reasons, I dont know. But people do hurtful things.
I cherish other human beings, and this is why I forgive them for this. Loving is accepting their imperfections and little human ugliness. I accept that people do things, and I accept that I don’t control that.
I don’t have to allow them to hurt me, but I do accept that they’ll do things that might. I don’t rage against the machine that is the human race. I don’t dump energy and wishes into changing people.
I dump energy into me.
3. Put your value in the right things
Don’t value yourself based on bullshit.
Don’t measure your worth by your looks, or your income, or any comparison with others.
This is really just “Take Responsibility” said another way. Channeled into specifics.
“Set yourself a challenge that you can realistically complete.”
And pick something that excites you. Something you’ll be proud of.
And then, equally important, once you achieve it, do it again. With something bigger. Repeat.
Choose action over procrastination
“Do some of the things that you have been putting off, such as filing the paperwork, repainting the kitchen, or clearing out the garden.”
Action over emptiness. Action over thought. Action over deliberatiom and “planning” and “analysis” and “let’s just wait and see.”
All of those will sabotage your self esteem. Nothing kills a man’s spirit quite like lack of action and, again, it’s cyclical.
CHICKEN AND EGG SHIT
Doing these builds self esteem and having self esteem means you’ll do these. And it snowballs.
Do what you say you’ll do. Don’t lie, cheat or steal.
Doing things you know are bad makes you see yourself that way — and vice versa.
Also, be nice to people. Do nice things for others.
“Avoid people and places that treat you badly or make you feel bad about yourself. This could mean being more assertive. If assertiveness is a problem for you, ask a health professional about assertiveness training.”
The more you value yourself, the less you’ll stand for bullshit. And vice versa.
Hygiene, good clothes, diet, exercise, sleep, stress, clean environment… doing art, if you’re good at and enjoy it.
Peace of mind
See above and repeat again: you are responsible for your own emotions, actions, and self esteem. You are not in control of anything else.
Oh, yeah… Fuckability
Don’t be crazy.
Or be hot and crazy in bed, but the right kind of crazy in bed.