What is the root of all self-hate, lack of confidence, and lack of self-trust?
Wanting to be someone other than yourself. You believe, that if you change yourself and become someone radically different (by fixing your ‘problems’), life will be better.
Don’t get me wrong – changing your perception of yourself and your self-concept is great. That’s cool stuff. But it has to come from the right place. It has to come from a place where you’re already content with who you are, but you have a few things you could do better, so you decide to take the steps necessary to fix it.
One of the biggest realizations that I ever had was that, even though I was changing myself quite a bit internally, I still felt like the same person. Sure, I felt better every day, but it’s not like I was walking around like I was Superman after making significant strides in becoming the person I was meant to be. I felt normal.
That’s the big caveat with this personal development stuff: if you’re expecting to wake up one morning, look in the mirror, and see a totally different person in front of you that has superpowers, you’re going to be disappointed. In fact, unless you’ve been making physical changes in addition to your inner work, you’re going to see the same old you staring back at you in the mirror.
And you’re going to feel normal. As normal as can be.
You Are Always You
No matter what changes to your work habits, appearance, skills, confidence, and style you make, you’re always going to feel pretty normal. You’re never going to escape the experience of being you, so you should just sit back and accept that.
Like I said above – people are driven to improve because they want to escape the experience of being themselves; they want to experience life as someone who’s “cooler” or “better” than they are.
There’s one problem with this – no matter how “cool” or “good” you get, you’re always going to want more from yourself in order to reach your level of desired “coolness”. Once you reach that level, your ego thinks, you’ll be “cool” enough to gain your self-acceptance.
However, there’s one problem with this: even if you reach that level of “coolness” or whatever you’re chasing, your ego won’t believe you. It wants to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you’re the “real deal” before it decides to let you feel good and decide that you’re enough as you are. So, in a nice twist, it’ll raise the bar higher for you, saying that, “Well, if you’re *really* this good of a person, you’ll be able to do this, this, and this, as well.”
Even if you succeed in reaching its goals for you, you’ll keep chasing higher and higher goals, always trying to reach your own self-acceptance, because your ego will never believe unconditionally that you are enough.
Dropping the Ego
If an ego-based way of earning your self-love isn’t the way to go, what is?
Stop deferring your self-love and just give it to yourself, already. There’s no need to punish yourself, feel a lack of confidence, and not trust yourself.
Since you’re always going to be you, you might as well make yourself enjoy life more and stop putting it off. Decide to like yourself now, for no reason other than the fact that you’re you. You don’t have to stop growing or improving – but you do have to stop questioning yourself and your abilities and looking for “problems” for you to fix.
If you are totally cool with yourself, most of your “problems” will go away – or at least, your problems with your so-called problems will, because you won’t care about them anymore. They’re just part of you, and if you want to change them, you can. But it’s not so you can earn your self-respect. Instead, you should be coming from a place where you want to improve your way of living a little bit. Will it feel good to improve yourself? Sure. But you shouldn’t base your self-esteem on whether you succeed in cleansing yourself of your impurities.
You shouldn’t take your flaws personally. As in, they have no bearing on how much respect you deserve, unless you’re an evil person or mistreat people – in which case, your flaws are pretty big and should be fixed in order for you to respect yourself.
However, the vast majority of you (my readers), are not evil, and your flaws are very slight in the grand scheme of things (as in, they shouldn’t have a bearing on how much you like yourself).
Again, you can just like yourself for no reason, as long as you know that, for better or worse, you’ll always be you. You might as well love yourself if you’re going to be stuck with yourself until the day you die, right?