Our world today and particularly western society is driven by material and measurable success. It only impresses if you can see it and count it.
In turn what you can do for others has become a commodity in itself. A commodity that is traded for acceptance, praise, love, inclusion and even worth. Therefore, what happens is that many of us lose contact with our true self in exchange for the world’s definition of who we are.
There is always someone and something that needs help, extra attention, special attention, guidance, or assistance of some kind. Those among us who are gentle and giving are inclined to become the ones who always answer these calls of need. However, by always doing this we often don’t look after our well-being. We put aside our goals and needs until perhaps later in life if given the opportunity.
So I think all of these people need to play catch up. They need to let go of worrying about everyone else and start getting to know themselves and what they want. They need to build a self-concept. (or real-self)
What is a self-concept?
It is the understanding and knowledge you have of your existence and how you see yourself about others and to your surroundings. To possess a positive or healthy self-concept you must:
- Truly know yourself (not as others see you or label you.)
- Accept and Love yourself exactly as you are (not as you’re perceived or as what is expected of you.)
- Be True to yourself (without excuses to anyone, including yourself or anyone else.)
Today we live in an increasingly complex and multifaceted world. To meet the challenges we now face, it is more important than ever to build a solid personal foundation. A foundation consisting of self-knowledge, self-insight, self-acceptance and self-love.
While high self-esteem is important, it is largely based on our ‘feelings’ of self-worth and self-image, either positive or negative, at an emotional level. This means that it is based on emotion and can be wavering and vulnerable to threats or the opinions of others.
In contrast, a healthy self-concept derives from within. It is based on your core and your intuition and comes from self-reflection, self-analysis, and self-acceptance.
1. Think About What You Really Want.
Ask yourself what lights you up. If you enjoy being with certain friends or groups of people, do you make them a priority? If you love a particular activity, how much time do you award it? And if you aren’t sure what you’re passionate about, try a bunch of things. Don’t assume you know everything about yourself, or put yourself in a box, because you could be missing out. Make a project of exploring the real you. Not the one that outside forces dictate.
2. Set Specific Goals.
Set specific, attainable and a limited amount of goals. A recent study showed that people who wrote down their goals, formulated actions to achieve them, and sent weekly progress reports to a friend accomplished significantly more than those who merely set a goal. This study concluded that three coaching tools (accountability, commitment, and writing down one’s goals) were extremely effective in helping people succeed. If you create too many goals or set impossible standards, you’re doomed not to succeed.
3. Ignore Your Inner Critic.
The first enemy you’ll encounter is your critical inner voice. The critical inner voice is the language of the anti-self, the part of a person that is against his or her self-interest. It is made up of a destructive point of view incorporated early in life. The anti-self is self-critical and cynical towards others; self-hating, paranoid, and suspicious; and, at its ultimate end, self-destructive and destructive to others. A person’s real self, in contrast, is made up of their unique wants and desires. It is life-affirming and goal-directed. So don’t be fooled by the voices—they are not acting in your interest!
Now is the time. Not tomorrow or next week, but now. If the guilt starts to kick in remember the airplane safety rules that always say put on your oxygen mask first.
References and Further Reading:
Self-Concepting Reference: Essential Life Skills
3 Essential Steps to Living Your Own Life by Lisa Firestone Ph.D.,(PsychologyToday)