Self esteem has long been considered the bedrock of individual success. But high self-esteem may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. Thinking you’re great (which of course you are) comes with pressure to live up to your own self-image. You may live in quiet terror of making mistakes, and even worse, feel devastated when you do. When faced with a challenge, you don’t need to believe in your own brilliance as much as you need to confront your flaws head on. Develop self-compassion, a willingness to look at your own shortcomings with kindness and understanding. With a realistic sense of your abilities and actions, you can figure out what needs to be done differently next time. Being perfect doesn’t lead to success, but being able to avoid the same mistake twice does.
Adapted from To Succeed, Forget Self Esteem by Heidi Grant Halvorson
I ran across this little excerpt a long time ago and stuck in my “future blog post” folder and today as I was digging through it for fodder for yet another post I was struck by the words as strongly as I was when I read it for the first time.
I have never been a huge believer in myself and in my own abilities. Thank goodness I am way better than I used to be (a lot of thanks goes to my cheerleader husband) but I still doubt my abilities at times and wonder where that doubt in my own self came from. My parents were always supportive– giving me all the love and encouragement over the years that anyone could imagine. I was always surrounded by loving and wonderful individuals and encouraged in anything I ever attempted. And yet–there was always a bit of self doubt.
What the above quote tells me is that I am not alone in my self criticism. It is far easier to find fault in oneself than to find fault in others. Admittedly we ALL fall short and face challenges that seem insurmountable but in the big scheme of things most of these challenges can be dealt will successfully if we only allow ourselves to step back and look at it from another perspective.
Today this except helps me as an adult to understand that I am flawed but I have my strengths that I can rely on. That is where I need to focus today. Not on my shortcomings but on my God-given strengths. It’s a new day. Full of possibilities. Join me as I journey on with a renewed awareness of who I am and what my capabilities are.