Once in a session, we asked the audience to list 10 positive qualities in themselves. About 80% of the audience could not complete the list. However, when we asked them to list the positive qualities of their friends they completed the task. Finally, when asked to list 10 weaknesses in themselves, they came up with the list in no time.
It is an irony that you know others more than you know yourselves. However, it should be the other way around. Also, you know more about your weaknesses than your strengths. Will you be able to love yourself in such a situation?
Without self-love, you cannot have self-respect.
While painting a perfect picture of your lives, you keep focusing on your shortcomings. The world around you also keeps reminding you of your weaknesses and comparing you with what you don’t have. This is the right thing as it helps you improve. But, in this process, you forget to recount your strengths which you are blessed with.
How to Begin?
List your positive qualities: Make a list of all your positive qualities. Then list down all the qualities which your family and friends see in you. Don’t be surprised if you see that many of the qualities which they listed went unnoticed by you. Read these lists at least once in 10 days and don’t shy away from expanding them.
Take care of the self: Good sleep, a healthy diet, and exercise are a must.
Know what you think: While you are busy attending meetings daily you miss the most important meeting. Meeting the self. Take out time for yourself to listen to your inner voice. Listen to your inner child to know what it needs.
Make time for the self: Watching movies, reading books, family time, dancing, etc. is not your personal time. When you are involved in an activity or in a conversation you are not introspecting. Time for yourself is the time when you hear your inner voice. This is the time you spend in silence meditating, or with nature enjoying her, or writing a journal to list a few. After hearing your inner voice, it is time to do something about it…and that too immediately. Else the quality of work, relations, and health everything suffers.
If delayed for a long time things get from bad to worse and a feeling of helplessness crops in. Being a car owner you may be too busy to get it serviced. But this small investment of time saves you from accidents.
Have a purpose in life
If you are wandering without a purpose, wherever you reach it will not seem to be your destination. When you have a specific goal in life you know what to do and how much to do. You are satiated with your own zeal and sense of direction. With a purposeless life, you are dependent on others for self-respect and stability. When you are in a company of less capable people you feel arrogant. But when you are in the company of someone who is better equipped than you are, there is a feeling of inferiority. This inferiority complex originates from your own self-image. The image which you have drawn by comparing yourself to your surroundings. What you think about yourself depends on what others think or feel about you. When you do not know what you want in life your thoughts and actions will depend on what is happening around you.
Have clarity in your purpose
If your purpose in life is clear your attention won’t waver with the activities going on around you. You will remain absorbed in your endeavors which you consider essential for your life. You have deviated from your own target only if your goal in life is shallow and not well realized. In this case, every other thing that comes in front of you seems important and attractive. You are easily attracted by the paraphernalia of this world. But if you have wisdom and a strong purpose you are not enticed by this paraphernalia. This creates immunity against feelings of lowness. You acknowledge the fact that there are a variety of people and everyone has some of the other specialties. You look at your own specialties, work on them and refine them.
Increase internal stability
These days people do many things to stay peaceful, stable, and calm. They meditate, visit religious places, listen to sermons, discourses from gurus, chant mantras, or fast. These are good. But their effect remains limited to the time these are practiced or heard. Once you are back to your daily routine you become unstable and peaceless. This is because your state of mind depends on people who come in contact with you. If you meet someone who is angry there is discontentment within you. If you meet a person in a pleasant mood you feel pleasant. You then attribute this pleasant feeling to that person. This happens the whole day. You keep oscillating between various moods and feelings of others. Slowly you start avoiding unpleasant personalities to save your inner energy. You get attached to good ones. These whims and fancies limit you to a very small and limited circle of interaction. These swings cause a constant leakage inside you. You are convinced that you are to be dependent on others to feel good. Meditation and other practices become a ritual or a tool for seclusion and fail to empower you.
Make sensible choices
You can choose to interact with others and still not get influenced by their state of mind. While interacting with someone unpleasant, create good feelings and good wishes for them. Empathize with them. This will ensure that their state of mind will have the least effect on you. If you have to reduce your interactions with others for some reason do it with a sense of purpose and as a well-wisher. Not by hatred. Understand that these are temporary phases and don’t tag them negatively. As soon as the person comes out of that phase, you welcome them into your lives completely. This makes you stable for life and makes you a source of positive energy for everyone around you. This also makes you self-dependent.
Handle failures and self-disappointments
Failures are tests of character. It is very important to know when you failed. Whenever there is a situation where you made a mistake you spend a lot of time in guilt, shame, and dejection. Not having these negative emotions is considered arrogance. In this process, you lose a lot of mental energy and feel drained out and low. Hence you give up. This is the final failure when you don’t make further efforts. The actual moment of failure happens when one is not able to get out of those negative emotions. Deal with mistakes in the right way. Replace the negative emotions with introspection and self-checking. Followed by an action plan to make improvements. Here is a detailed article on making such plans.
Mistakes are stepping stones to success. This needs a powerful mental setup. This power comes from counting abilities and having an internal connection with The Almighty.
Remind yourself every day that you are unique. No one can be like you.