Yesterday I put something up on Facebook to get some questions in for what you want me to write about. If you don’t already, be sure to like my page so that you have the chance to respond to this kind of thing when I post it.
The question that I’m going to answer this week is from Christina:
“How about how to work past negative views of your PAST self (be it weight, poor decisions, a “past”…) and see yourself as you are TODAY?”
Here’s what I have to say on the matter:
“We all make mistakes”
“Every failure is a chance to learn”.
We’re constantly fed these cliches whenever we fall down, usually by friends and family as a way of comforting us and helping us move forward from past failures.
But where is the line?
At what point should we stop forgiving ourselves for past failures? Many of us have done bad things; to ourselves, and to others. Things we still feel guilty for today. To a great extent, the things we have done in the past are responsible for us seeing ourselves as ‘low-value’ today.
Some people don’t like themselves because of what they were given from day one: their looks, their intelligence, their body shape. But for many people it comes from having felt like they let themselves down in the past.
I’m familiar with the feeling of having a self-negative view. My own often comes from the feeling of not having achieved enough in a day. I start to feel angry at myself for under-performing. But people can have a low self image for any number of reasons. Maybe they didn’t approach someone they liked and now they feel like a coward. Maybe they made an awful decision that has shaped their entire life in a negative way ever since.
It’s hard; and like most things in life that matter, it’s not easy to overcome. These feelings in many of us are deep rooted.
Then someone comes along and tells you to believe in yourself, or suggests it’s possible to simply wipe away memories of your past. Such a notion feels like an insult at best. I used to talk like that when I first started out. I have since learnt that life isn’t that easy.
So what do we do?
There’s some comfort in knowing that other people have made mistakes worse than our own. Focusing on their failures seems to help. But it’s usually not very long before our own baggage begins to feel heavy again, and in any case, focusing on someone worse than us is a crappy way to feel good.
Here’s what I’ve learnt from my years working with people: The only guaranteed way to have a ‘positive-present-view’ of yourself, is to BUILD it from scratch.
I say ‘build’ because a positive self-view is created the same way trust in a relationship is created – by being built on, one small step at a time. Want a better image of yourself? Do something today that’s slightly more than the YOU of yesterday managed.
You think you’ve been a shitty person in your life until now? Fine. Do something small today that’s the opposite of what a shitty person would do. Do something nice for someone, a small act of generosity. Show a moment of understanding. Prove to yourself that you are better than yesterday.
You’ve been a wimp you’re whole life? Someone who cowers away from risk, or rejection? The antithesis of the hero? Fine. Talk to someone today and tell them they look beautiful. Stick up for someone who’s being verbally bullied in a group. Set an example for someone you know looks up to you. Prove to yourself that you are stronger than yesterday.
You’ve been lazy until now? Avoided responsibility? Down-played your dreams and ambitions to take the comfortable route? Fine. Go set up a call with someone who can help a vision you’ve had for a long time. Run for 10 minutes, clean your apartment, prove to yourself that you are more tenacious than yesterday.
Will you erase all of your negative memories in a day? No. But instead of papering over past experiences with mindless pump-up mantras, you’ll have shown yourself something better: progress. A brief moment where you showed that even if only for 10 minutes, you were the person you wanted to be.
In the interests of full disclosure, even doing that one thing will probably not be easy. But do it you must. In that brief moment that you do do something different to the old you, you’ll like yourself. And we all know what happens when we meet someone we like. We want to spend more time with them.
When you do get to spend a moment with a version of you that you really like, you’re going to want to be around that part of you more. So you’ll find ways to be that person again tomorrow. It becomes a beautiful cycle that starts a new relationship with yourself. Not created – like a false friendship with a person we met the night before and told we loved in a drunken stupor – but built, one day at a time. A brand new relationship with the most important person in your life. YOU.
A thought to leave you with:
The criminal who just got out of jail can’t wipe away all of his crimes. But he has the ability to be better than before, one day at a time. You can too. But please before you start, let yourself out of jail. It’s stopping you from starting, and you’re the only person who’s been keeping yourself there.
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152 Replies to “How Can I Like Myself More Than I Did Yesterday?”
Beautifully written and well thought out. Thanks Matt!
Thanks Liza, really appreciate that x
Well, sometimes we feel guilty too much and that doesn´t let us just keep walking. I´m talking af mistakes that are not so very bad mistakes but we keep on feel guity about that. We are human beeings and we can not be perfect.
I understand that feeling. But sometimes it’s about giving yourself a break and allowing yourself to do better today, instead of beating yourself for something you did yesterday.
You can’t build on the feeling of guilt, but you can build on forgiving yourself and moving on.
Thanks for commenting x
Very true. Because of that I like your metaphor of the jail.
This will stick to me …. Thanks Mark
And some of our defects are the ones that lead us to big adventures. I will always remember what a friend said to me once: “When I fall in love I don´t do it of a perfect person. I like people with defects, they are not boring. When I fall in love with someone I LOVE her defects”
That´s love, man.
This feels very timely I’ve worked with so many of your suggestions and they work and then get presented with a part of myself that i hadn’t got to yet take last night i was my total best self at a party connected with everyone there made an exciting connection with a gorgeous guy i would never have thought would even look my way before but i wasn’t questioning any of it it was great but then an old monster popped up and i let things go further than i should not because that’s a problem but because i know i needed more time to get to know him. Initially i just felt rubbish but i clicked something everything else had been different i just hadn’t got to that bit of the equation yet so just thinking like that and being so much more of the person I’ve always wanted to be i know allowing myself to look at this and change pattern bringing more and more of my best self along to the party and enjoying every step and loving the changes it brings thanks Matt all helps to work these things out
Becoming our best self is definitely a never ending challenge. The plus side is that if we strive each day to be our best it all adds up, and where we are one year from now will be incredible.
Amen to that!
Thank you so very much for this. Could not have been more relevant to my life but in this exact moment. Especially because I’ve been building a new relationship with myself for a few months but still find myself sleeping in a prison cell from time to time.
It is possible though, if I can do it anyone can!
Your are so very welcome Leila!
Thanks for taking the time to comment, means a lot.
Thank you for the article. It’s really inspiring to me! I think this is where everyone should start (before going out there and meeting the man of their dreams) – first you should begin to love yourself, and most importantly, love for something you did. Thanks for the idea of building this feeling. Never thought of it that way, although it’s simple :)
Cheers from Russis!
P.S. First time commenting ;)
Love that you’re commenting for the first time! Thanks for being part of the discussion.
Love what you said about loving yourself for something you did. That’s exactly what this article is all about.
Hope to see your comments here more often : )
I like commenting on a sunday, it’s easier to get back to the comments : ). So great to be talking with you guys.
Wow this is really good, I will definitely follow this advice as its so helpful. Thanks for this Matt! :)
My pleasure Kelly, thanks for following.
Its about not letting your inner critic run your life – you have the capacity to be kind to yourself as you are to others but only if you listen to your critic and then allow yourself to listen to your wise self
Most people’s inner critic DOES ruin their life. It’s not nice to see.
Thanks for commenting : )
I think this is a really interesting article, interesting because it is devoid of ‘fluff’ and bs, it’s to the point and gives everyone who reads it, the ability to do something different today. I was struck by the simplicity of your message, meaning that I think even those who are feeling pretty confident about themselves can still get something from it.
Thanks a million for sharing!
Thanks so much Kate. I always strive for simplicity and zero BS, so your words mean a alot to me.
Thanks for commenting,
It is the best article I have ever red from you.
As I really have problems accepting myself I have lived in a prison my entire life, I was just waiting for the right moment to rebuild my life and create it they way I like.
As soon as I move abroad, or far away to study. But since they might be some complications and I’m still figuring out what to do after my guardiation i should really stop suspending it and start right away. Selfesteem and self-realisation are the key to a good life :)
You are really inspiring.
Wow, you made my day. Thank you so much for your appreciation. I’ll be working hard to get you more that can help you, promise.
Thank you, Matt.
I think it is just what I needed to jump start my morning. I think we are our worst critic. Yes, I have said and done a lot of things that I regret and I seem to carry the burden day in and day out. I tended to continue acting poorly think “well, whatever people view me in this negative light”. Though bottom line “Every moment is a chance to turn it all around”.
Thanks for being here Gloria. Means a lot.
I can not change the past, but I can the future. I tell myself ‘it’s ok, your doing fine’ I know it sounds corney, but it works. Like you said, ‘build on something small, it works.
Talking kindly to yourself i important. Love that you’re doing it already.
Very inspiring. Thanks
This was exactly what I needed now. Seriously.. thank you so much for sharing these nice words and beautiful post! Because I was feeling shitty the past days because of that. I was thinking about myself from things I did in the past or things that I stopped doing it and never achieved. And I really started to think that I would never be able to do it.. and now I know that the best feeling is letting those things away and think about the present you, thats what matters. Thank you Matthew!!! x
You’re welcome Elena.
Keep coming back and supporting me, it’s words like these that make it worth while when I’m sat something writing an article or recording a video. I want people to get as much value as possible from this site and everything I’ve learnt over the years.
In life and in every day I live, it is often hard to say whether I have done something good or bad, right or wrong. So, it is not a matter of identifying mistakes either. For me, I try my best on every task or project I do, within tge limits, constraint, resources and auth
This is wonderful, you have such a way with words. I think its wonderful that you make it such a mission to spread good thoughts and ideas through out the community. You go beyond trying to help us “get the guy”. Its greatly appreciated.
Thankyou SO much. I try to make it about more than just men (there’s definitely more to life than, that’s for sure lol).
When we are happy it’s much easier to attract people to us, so anything relating to happiness is still related to our love life!
… (sorry, I press the “post comment” too soon! … within the limit, constraint, resources and authority I have. If things do go wrong even if I have made my best attempt, then I would learn from it and do better next time. Sometimes when I look back, there are things I did which I would laugh at now. But I do not live with regret. Tge experiences and lessons I learn help me to move forward, and becoming wiser.
Great point Google eye x
I think it’s so important to remember we are on this earth to learn and grow and the only way we can do that is to make mistakes. When this happens try to evaluate what went wrong and do your best to correct it. Above all learn to truly love yourself:) Happy Sunday y’all
Thanks for commenting Jill x
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