How To Reprogram Your Thoughts To Maintain A Healthy Self-esteem

We all have a value system. Our value system is the lens through which we measure ourselves and the world around us. Based on this value system, we make critical judgments of others which, in fact, mirror the way we feel about ourselves. In other words, how we judge others is how we judge ourselves.

Many writers have eloquently explained this notion but if you’re not familiar, let me do it again.

For example, if your value system is based primarily on beauty, by default, you attribute what happens to you to your look. Your self-esteem, as a result, goes up and down depending on how you feel about your physical appearance at any given moment.

If your value system is based primarily on money and power, you think the way people treat you is down to your level of financial and professional success. Your self-esteem, as a result, is tied directly to factors linked with this success such as your bank account balance, your job title, your possessions, the size of your network.

Now I don’t say basing your value system on look or money and power, or intelligence or popularity is inherently right or wrong. It’s up to one’s own inner working. But I do think it’s a poor choice especially when your mindset affects your well-being every minute of the day.

Let me just ask this as a simple example:

Why would you judge people based on look if you know beauty is not your strong suit? Why would you judge people based on money if you don’t have much yourself? I know this sounds harsh but the point is, why would you base your value system on something you know you lack, or which you have little control over? Ultimately, you’re the one who suffers your own judgment the hardest.

I understand society also has its own value system and it’s notoriously good at imposing it on each and every one of us through various media. Many people couldn’t fight it and end up measuring themselves through the lens of society and other people without even realising it.

They then have to turn to inspirational quotes and self-help books to internalise such beliefs as “Look is relative” or “Money can’t buy happiness” and countless other modern-life bullshit myths which shouldn’t even be of any importance in the first place.

Don’t be one of them. If you’re conscious and self-aware, rise above it. Don’t give up your immense internal power.

Remember that you’re in control of your inner working. You can decide on which to base your value system. Make it work in your favour so you could enjoy a stable healthy self-esteem, or at least have a fall-back mindset for when low confidence hits you.

The strategy is simple.

Your value system would be best based on:

  • Fundamental human qualities — For example, honesty, kindness, patience, etc.

  • Something you’re sure you have a lot of — This depends on each individual but an example could be emotional intelligence.

The first category refers to things which anyone can acquire by themselves at any time without having to rely on any external factors.

For example, say, your value system is based on kindness. No one told you you’re beautiful? You’re in debt? It doesn’t matter. According to this value system, you’re a worthy human simply because you’re kind. Other people become high value to you when you find them kind. The key here is that kindness is always accessible and you can exercise it anytime. So if you base your value system on it, your self-esteem is under no threat.

The second category refers to things which have been proven to you over time to be your biggest strengths. Some examples besides emotional intelligence could be work ethics, determination, resilience, or nurturing abilities. You’re aware many people will do better than you in many areas but on this one, you’re confidently good, and if you see the world through it, you’ll always find a firm place for yourself. It’s what you value in others and first and foremost yourself.

Especially, when you judge yourself less, you also judge others less, hence reducing overall negativity and allowing for mental well-being.

Here’s how to start:

Try slow down and reflect on your thinking patterns especially during the times when you feel the most insecure, or the most judgmental towards other people. Ask yourself what do you often judge people on? By doing this, you will figure out your value system and what changes you need to make.

Create a list of your best qualities and strengths.

Pick one to be the primary determinant of your value system.

Then breathe.

Apply this new value system and allow yourself to see the world in a completely different way, one that’s hopeful and promising and always casts you in a positive light.

Do it again and again.

Now tell yourself you’re good enough.

Yes. You’re all good.

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