It's impossible to like yourself much when you’re doing something you think is wrong. It doesn’t matter how much rationalization you do, or how thickly you try to cover it with justification, if you think it’s wrong or bad, and you keep doing it, you cannot like yourself. So the way to like yourself more is to clean up your integrity. You may not like to hear that, and I don’t blame you. It sounds like a horrible burden. But it’s not. It lightens your load and makes it more fun to be alive. Here are three steps to a self you like and respect.
Make a list of what you’re doing that you think is wrong and stop doing those things. You might keep backsliding for awhile, but if you keep at it, you’ll make it. Also make a list of things you should be doing and aren’t. Never mind what others think you should or shouldn’t do or what you’ve been told is right or wrong. Just pay attention to what you feel is right or wrong. And make sure you write it out. This, by itself, will give you some relief, because we are never as bad as we think we are. When you write it out, you’ll see that. The list will be finite. Work on one thing at a time. Then cross it off your list.
Make amends for anything you’ve done in the past that you feel guilty about. Some situations only need an apology, or just an admission that you did it. Other situations will require you to take some action to make up for the damage you did. Before you get started on this, you should know that it’s never as bad as you think it will be. It’s easier to make amends than it first may seem. Be creative. Make it fun. You may come up with a wild idea, but if it seems right to you, try it.
Forgive yourself for all the “bad” things you’ve done. This should be fairly easy since you’ve already taken responsibility for your past and present action. But to finish the job, you need to forgive yourself. To forgive yourself simply means to give up resentment against yourself, or give up the desire to punish yourself. Since you have taken and are taking responsibility for your actions, to continue to punish yourself or resent yourself is just silly. You are human. Humans make mistakes. You’ve recognized that and corrected your mistakes. That’s something to feel good about. So forgive yourself. A decision is all that’s required. Simply decide to stop resenting yourself and give up any intentions of punishing yourself.
Take these three steps to a self you really like. You’ll gain strength and confidence and the peace that comes from knowing you do what’s right.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.