Apparently our DNA is the reason for a lot of ‘built-in’ tendencies, one of which is the desire to ‘self-improve’. I am a firm believer that there is always room for improvement in all of us, and that nobody is perfect – even though some are closer than others.
As much as I can be inspiring, and sometimes motivational, and enjoy being of great encouragement to others, I often times find that I am my own worst enemy.
My self-concept is not very positive – and it’s something I have to work on daily. I suppose it can be accredited to the fact that I have had more ‘Breakers’ (people who prefer to hurt and offend and criticize) than ‘Builders’ (people who help others by encouraging and delivering constructive criticism when necessary) in my life. These people are not entirely to blame – and I can still fix ‘damage that has been done to my self-concept’ by making the choice to continuously exert effort into ‘being positive about myself’.
There is a story about a cup that gets broken. And even though glue can be used to mend the cup, it will never be as beautiful and ‘perfect’ as it once was.
In the same way, although the ‘breakers’ have managed to outnumber the ‘builders’ in my life, and they seem to have successfully destroyed my cup of self-concept, I still have so many ways and resources in order to slowly ‘glue my self-concept’ back together. Perhaps it will never be as positive or great as someone who has been blessed enough to experience the opposite of what I have. But even though I may not get it ‘perfect’, I can still help it reach the stage where it is positive enough, to be enough. I also have to regularly maintain my ‘positive self-concept’.
It’s hard work! But it’s worth it. I have an ‘action plan’ for my positive self-concept, and on days when I feel that I am just not getting anywhere (they seem to be fewer as time is wearing on), I fall back on this action plan. It never makes me 100% sure that I am wonderful – but it sure gets me going. And even if I am falling after each step – each step I take is moving forward. It’s better than standing still, or perish the thought, moving backwards.
- I make a list of five good things about me – that list is usually made up of the good things that my few ‘Builders’ have said about me, and I try to vary them, because my ‘builders’ have quite a few good things to say.
- I give myself three compliments – even if all I can manage that day is things like, “You made a good cup of coffee this morning; you didn’t almost drown in the shower; you remembered to lovingly lavish your skin with cream today.”
- The toughest one is this one. But I say it out loud and do this point anyway….
I accept my body, despite its size, shape or color. I not only accept it, but I am grateful for it. And on days when I feel that my body has failed me and I have pain, or am sick, or feel overweight, or …. whatever the reason may be : on those days, I just accept and am grateful that I still have my eyesight, my hearing, my fingers and my toes.
- I acknowledge that there are many things about me that I cannot change, particularly about my physical appearance, but I dig deep and find at least one thing that I can – and then I commit to try and change just that one thing – even it takes me a day, month or year to do it!
- I try to not say anything negative about myself for at least a day. I think this is probably on a par in the level of difficulty as number 3. It has been my experience that when the Breakers give you so many negative things to focus on about yourself, that it’s tough to not repeat those things – especially when defending yourself against the possibility of someone else saying the same thing to you. eg. “I’ll just say I’m fat, so that when I order a slice of cake she won’t be able to tell me I’m too fat to be eating cake.”
I suppose we need to try and stop being our own worst enemies. We need to embrace the lives we have, no matter how much we think they don’t fit into the ‘ideal’, and we need to try and be positive enough for it to BE enough!
Crawling forward is better than running back!