I Don't Like Myself

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Don't like myselfSaying "I don't like myself" is too all-or-nothing. You're saying you dislike EVERYTHING about yourself. In fact, you may simply be unhappy about one or two of your things, which obscures your many good qualities. Have you tried making a list of all your likeable qualities?

Think of your strengths - all the things you find easy to do that others struggle to do. Then there are the things you like doing - chances are you are good at them too. Avoid discounting your strengths by saying ''That's nothing.'' or ''Anyone can do that.''

What about things you have done for others? Ask your friends or family what they think you are better at than others. Next, get out of yourself as much as you can - the more we dwell on ourselves and our problems the worse we feel about everything.

It can help to find a distraction - doing things we enjoy and are good at. Recognize that there are really only one or two things you don't like about yourself. Then ask yourself whether there aren't people worse off than you in these respects. And think again about who you are comparing yourself with - do you really need to be the same as the people you most admire just to be likeable?

Most importantly , convince yourself that being likeable has nothing to do with WHAT or WHO you ARE, but rather how you treat others. You cannot change yourself, but you can change how you behave towards others - this is the real secret of being likeable.

Suppose, for example, you don't like your looks. You defeat yourself if you moan and groan all the time about it, hence driving people away from you. If, instead, you focus on being nice to people, they will like you for that far more than they would even if you could wave a magic wand and change how you look.

Anyway, basing our confidence on looks is a losing strategy for happiness - it helps attract people in the first place, but for longer term happiness, it's what's inside us that counts.

Don't like your looks?

What can we change about how we look? But we have to find ways of valuing ourselves other than our looks. Everyone has good qualities, many of which can be learned or cultivated.

It is easy to overlook our good qualities because these are the things we do naturally, that we like doing or find easy to do, so we discount them, thinking everyone does them, but that is often not true. For example, people like us because of how we treat them. This is a more important quality for preserving long term relationships than how we look.

Even the so-called ''beautiful'' people get divorced and can be unhappy. Often the best looking people are so wrapped up in their looks that they have no depth, no attractive qualities beyond their looks - this is a worse handicap than not having great looks.

If your sole basis for attracting the interest of others is how you look, what value is that? How long do you think people's interest can be maintained merely by how someone looks? Not very long. We need to have other qualities, ones that are not just skin deep if we want to hold someone's interest.

How interesting do you make yourself if, not liking your looks, you spend most of your time worrying about how you look, moaning about life in general and complaining about everything around you? You can do little to change how you look, but you can change your attitude.

Instead of focusing on yourself, focus on others. Help them feel good, be warm, amusing, a good listener, supportive and helpful. Develop a range of interests to make you more interesting. When the people you want to attract get beyond looks, you will need to have qualities like this to sustain a long term relationship. What is more important?

The bottom line is to stop basing your self esteem on how you look and base it instead on how you relate to others, how you behave not what or who you are.

See the Self Esteem menu above for more on this topic, especially:  The Self Esteem Attitude and Boost Your Self Esteem 

Read the self esteem stories of other people here.