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Achievements Don’t Always Lead to Confidence Unless You Love Yourself

Achievements Don’t Always Lead To Confidence

“Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.”
~Thomas Carlyle

“Accomplishment: Something that had been achieved successfully.”

I used to have the belief that if I accomplished something, I would gain self-confidence.  That by doing actions that are hard, I would finally be able to accept who I am.

I weight-lifted.  I received straight “A”s in school.  I’m not in debt and save money reasonably well.  I generally eat healthy.  I have good hygiene.

I started to skydive.  I took the school and was on my way to becoming certified, then after my fourth jump decided that it didn’t fill that void I still felt.

I then decided to train and run for a marathon.  I signed up for a group that ran long distance runs on Saturdays to help keep me motivated. Five months later I ran 26.2 miles.

I still wasn’t confident and didn’t have high self-esteem.  I do admit, after the marathon I felt like a stud for a few days, but then it wore off.  But what also happened was I gave myself a mental beat down because I didn’t run it in 3:50:00 like I wanted.  I ran it in 4:10:00

So what’s the deal?

I was expecting that by accomplishing something, I would finally be able to accept myself based on the action itself.

Self-esteem can arguably be said to be how much you respect and love yourself.  Running a marathon is a great accomplishment, but I should be able to love myself even if I didn’t run that marathon.

I am now realizing that I should have ran that marathon from the standpoint of, for example, “I love who I am and I want to run a marathon to celebrate that I am alive” in place of “once I run a marathon I will finally feel like I am worth something.”

How can you begin to gain some self-respect?  It sounds as if it is an intangible concept and can’t be measured.  You can’t just wake up and say to your cat “Hey buddy guess what?!  I now have 600 self-respect tokens.”  Since goals tend to be more effective when the results are measurable, it is important to ask yourself how you will take into account if your self-esteem is actually improving.

One way of doing this would to stop for 2 minutes before going to bed, and write down how you felt that day.  Did you feel like you improved?  Were you conscious that you were working towards improving your self-respect, or did you live the day numbed out?  How was your self-talk?  Did you congratulate yourself for a good effort, or repeatedly looked at where you were flawed?

One way that I have chosen to do this is to start thinking positively and finding the hidden joys in everything that happens.  I’m keeping a daily log to keep myself focused and to see the direction I am heading in.  Just being conscious of the fact that I have negative thought loops running on autopilot every day is a great improvement.

Achievements are important and can be a major confidence boost, proving to yourself (and others) that things are possible and you can do it.  But, if one has a poor self-image, all the achievements in the world might not change it.  Improving your self-respect and esteem might just be the best achievement you will obtain!

Here is an example of a plan to improve your self respect.  Your own plan may be exactly the same or exactly the opposite.  It is only important that you start to move towards action and start developing the right habits.

  • Try out a 30 day challenge for positive thinking.
  • Every day wake up and list ten things about yourself that you love (If you can’t think of anything, write ten things you would like to love about yourself, but write them as if they were already true).
  • Start respecting yourself by eating healthy and exercising.  It has been shown that exercise is more effective than anti-depressants, and is the one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Try including just an apple a day and a 10 minute walk.  Once that is established, walk for 15 minutes, then 20, etc.
  • Live for yourself and yourself only.  Stop judging yourself through another’s eyes, and begin to follow your own inner compass and what makes you uniquely happy.  You really do like listening to that music your friends make fun of? Listen to it anyways and don’t give a damn about what others think if it makes you feel authentically happy.
  • Tell others about your plan. They will likely periodically ask you how your goal is going, and that will help remind you to stay on track.

If you want to start heading in the right direction, write out a plan for yourself right now (or mark on your calender when you will create a plan) and commit to it for at least a few weeks.  It is okay to think about things for a while and let them soak in, but make sure that you will start taking action if you ever want it to become a reality.  Make sure you stay conscious of it and constantly check up on yourself.  You might have to change your approach, or you might just surprise yourself with the real changes you can make once you develop positive habits.

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