What you believe about yourself and your circumstances dictates how you will behave. If life is not all that you want it to be then perhaps you need to change your belief system. What beliefs do you have about your personal worth? Take a few minutes and answer the following questions.
1. Do you enjoy life?
2. Do you speak honestly about your shortcomings and your achievements?
3. Are you comfortable with criticism?
4. Are you comfortable with appreciation and compliments?
5. Are you open to new ideas?
6. Do you consider yourself playful?
7. Do you have a quiet sense of self-respect?
8. Do you have a sense of humor and can you laugh at yourself?
9. If you make a mistake do you go over it and over it in your mind?
10. Where do you want to be in your life and relationships next week? Six months from now? A year from this date?
Maybe you have said things to yourself such as “I am not good at math” and every time a math problem comes up you side-step it without considering what it would take for you to develop your ability to do the problem. Maybe you have always wanted to write books or poetry or short stories but just have never put your self to the test because when you think about doing it you always think of it in the future not right now.
Beware of being influenced by myth. Many people make important decisions based on a myth that we have never bothered to check out. One such myth is “asking for help is a sign of weakness.” another myth is “selfishness is always bad.” Did your parents ever say to you “what will the neighbors think?” It’s a myth that the neighbor’s opinion of you is more accurate that your opinion of you. “who do you think you are?” does other people’s opinion matter to you more than your own?
Your personal worth is not based on what other people think nor is it based on your accomplishments or how much money you make. You have worth by virtue of the fact that you exist. That’s it and it is that simple. If you were lucky as a child you were allowed to develop a self that you are pleased with because you feel effective, useful, loved and loving. People who were not so lucky often struggle with self-esteem problems and no matter what they accomplish or who loves them they never quite feel they measure up.
Self-respect differs from self-esteem in that it is more about behavior than about the inner condition. You can write out a road map for self- respect and by following it develop a stronger self-esteem. Eventually self-respect leads to self acceptance and a refusal to let anyone else define you.