Some people are happy until something happens to make them sad. Many Brits are the other way round. The HPL is somewhere inbetween – I have bouts of confidence and happiness (to the point of delirious cockiness) and others of insecurity and low self-esteem*. I have decided to work on boosting my self-esteem because its a really negative thing – it makes you introverted and distant from loved ones; stops you living life to the full; and is self-fulfilling – the fact that you have low self-esteem makes you feel even more crap. Sigh…
Its a funny old thing. Your self-esteem is incredibly transient – one minute you’re backpacking round the world on your own feeling fabulous; the next, a failed relationship or problems at work or an opportunity missed or an argument with a friend, makes you feel about two inches tall. The most important thing is to take positive steps to do something about it (which in itself will make you feel better). I like lists and rules, so I’ve done a bit of reading and thought I’d share. I’m going to make 1 or 2 changes at a time, monitor how I’m doing and give myself props for doing well:
- Don’t compare yourself to others**. The fact is you are unique – your purpose is to express that uniqueness in whatever way feels right.
- Give more of yourself to others (one of the HPL rules) – listen to your friends and family, take an interest in their lives, be caring.
- Don’t be a perfectionist, totally exhausting…
- Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.
- Do work and activities that inspire you (check out the HPL events guide & wishlist for ideas of stuff to do).
- Avoid overdoing the booze and fags when you feel crap – aim to fit in lots of healthy pleasures. Best ones are running (not that I ever run but hey) and yoga (which is all about self-improvement and challenges).
- Solve problems as and when they come up – don’t moan, think of them as challenges that will make you stronger.
- Respect your own needs – everyone needs certain things, thats OK. You need to work out what really fulfils you (not instant gratifications) and make sure you get it.
- Try to avoid “shoulds” – totally useless to remind yourself what you aren’t doing but should – either do something or don’t, work out what you want (read this How To Get A Grip article).
- Be true to yourself – its your rule book for living, no-one else’s. Don’t seek anyone’s approval.
- Every night, acknowledge all the things you did well that day. Some people talk about positive affirmations, I personally find that a little cheesy, but whatever works for you do it (see rule 10)!
- UPDATE: totally forgot about this one when I first posted but its really important – Dispel negative thoughts! When you are thinking crappy things about yourself, try to stop yourself and then replace them with positive ones.
*it is rather embarrassing to admit this to loved ones, let alone publicly, but this blog is about happiness so I have to look at all facets of it and be honest *cringe*
**this relates to self-image apparently which is different to self-esteem. Most people work on their self-image, but its best to work on your self-esteem itself. Not entirely sure of the difference but there you go.