One of the posts I’ve been looking at quite a bit from the last Carnival Against Child Abuse is this guest post by Stephanie Gagos about self-esteem. One of the ideas that strikes me, especially given the time of the year is the idea towards the end of balancing accepting yourself while also striving to improve yourself.
Naturally as the year changes, I’m prone to self-examination in terms of what my personal improvement goals have been, and continue to be, but it is very important to not use my desire for improvement as an excuse to get down on myself. For many years, as I struggled with serious self-esteem issues, that wouldn’t have been possible. It’s possible now, but still is an area I need to be careful with. Even after all these years it would still be very easy to focus on the improvements I would still like to make, instead of how much improvement I’ve already made.
For example, I’m a shy person. I’ve worked hard over the last couple of years to be more engaging, more outgoing, to do more thoughtful things to show my appreciation for friends, etc. I’ve come a long way in that regard, but there are still plenty of times where I find myself with nothing to say, or let my fear get the better of me instead of interacting with people, or try too hard and do something completely stupid. It takes a lot of work to continue on through that instead of beating myself up over it. The best way to stop beating myself up is to focus on how much improvement there’s been since the days when I didn’t talk to anyone more than necessary, or never got up the courage to share myself and my feelings with friends.
I guess, sometimes it’s good to keep in mind where we’ve come from, if only to keep ourselves focused on the improvements we’ve made.