How To Build Your Self-Esteem: Stop Comparing

You are a unique person; there is no one else in the universe that can be you better than you are. You are the only one who knows how to be you. You are an expert in the field of being you and there is no way anyone can do it better than you can!

Why would you want to be like someone else? That ‘someone else’ is also the best at being that specific ‘someone else’. You will never in a lifetime get close at being that person – and why would you? You have been blessed with something unique and priceless: Your own life!

You have your own life and only you know how to master that life. Whatever you do, you do it in a way that only you can do; that is called personality and your personality defines you. If you did not do things the way you do, then you would not be you.

You have to stop comparing yourself to other people and start focusing on yourself. When you compare yourself to other people and feel inferior then you create low self-esteem. Imagine if you were the only one in the world – then there was no one that was better than you at anything. If you ran 100 meters you would possess the world record. If you spoke ten words of Spanish you would be the best at it. You would be the best driver; the best journalist; the best cook; the best – at everything possible!

If you were alone in the world you would choose your own path and set your own standards and you would not care about other people. In a way you are alone in the world; in your world. Every person has his own worldview. My world does not look like yours and your world does not look like mine. How I excel in my world is not relevant to you. What is relevant to you is how you get from a to b on your life path in your world.

Task no. 10: Next time you feel inferior then find out what it is you really want and ask yourself what you can do to get it and put it on your mental map.

How To Build Your Self-Esteem: Next Step

mnx personal today todo list © by manu contreras

When you set goals it is like plotting your position into your mental map and plotting the place where you want to go. But do you know the next step to get there? If you do not know what to do next then you risk giving up and then the excuses start again and that is not good for your self-esteem.

To ensure continuous improvement of your self-esteem you have to know where to go next; always think ahead. If you are to give someone directions you will say something like, – turn right at the next traffic light, then you will see a church where you have to turn right again…

If the driver were to drive around on random the he would never reach his destination and neither will you if you do not know the next step. When you set goals, or put destinations on your mental map, then you also have to choose a good path by deciding what to do to get there. Your path towards your goal consists of several small tasks you have to carry out and take action on. Put those tasks on a to-do list and work your way through item by item.

If a task is to big then spilt it into smaller parts. Every step on your way has to be easy to take action on. Sometimes you will meet obstacles along the road but do not worry about that. Life sometimes takes new directions; accept the new situation and find a new path to follow. It is important that you do not cling to your original plan. Life conditions change and so should you. Life becomes too hard if you swim against the stream all the time. There is always another way to reach your goal if you are willing to diverge from the path you expected to follow.

Task no. 9: Take another look at one of your goals and make a small to-do list of easy actions you can take to get closer to your destination.

How To Take Action

“To be surprised, to wonder, is beginning to understand,” said the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset. To be surprised we need to act, we have to do something that will foster astonishment. It is not enough to read, to think or to observe what other people do. “The more we live by our intellect, the less we understand the meaning of life,” said Leo Tolstoy.

To find the meaning of life and to define ourselves we need to interact with other people. Do not isolate yourself! If we live in isolation we will find ourselves on a lonely mountaintop in stagnation and tedious boredom. When we feel down or bad we tend to isolate, but what we really need to do is interact with other people, we have to do something that will bring surprise and understanding.

Based on action learning I have made a model that can lead to action and understanding; I call it the MAKS model.

  1. Mapping
  2. Action, observe, adjust
  3. Knowledge
  4. Sharing

The MAKS model serves to give an overview of a situation and helps to create reflection and action. When we reflect on our actions we reach understanding and that is the most important part to get on a good life path. We start by mapping the situation (see mental maps) by defining the topic we need to learn about. Then we choose at good way on the map and clarify what we expect to experience on this path.

Next we take action and test our theory in practise. On our way we observe the results of our actions and if the outcome does not agree with what we expected, then we adjust the map and try again.

Finally we reflect on the experiences the path has presented and share these reflections with our social environment. This will create feedback that we can use to map a new situation that will take us even further in life.

In my following posts I will elaborate each item.

How To Survive

To survive you need to make choices; you need to do something; you need to act. I have suggested that you look at life as an unexplored map; a mental map. On your way through life you will meet other people; you will enter crossroads; you will be confronted with difficult choices, but no matter where you are in life you will have to make choices and act on these choices. If you do not act, then your life path will become very difficult or even fatal.

In this post I will try to clarify the mental map concept a bit further. Imagine your mental map with mountains, valleys and roads. Your life is a continuous line through this map and the line is not straight; it twists and turns through the landscape on your mental map. The line only manages to cover a fraction of possible ways it could travel in the landscape. If you want something in life you need to make choices about where to travel and you have to optimise these choices if you want to get the best out of life.

The world is very complex and so is life. From where you stand there is no possible way you can see the whole world and know everything about everything, but you can choose what you would like to concern yourself with. It is like being at a party with a buffet; you cannot eat everything, you have to choose something. There is also the future dimension which none of us can possible know about. We can merely make at good choice that we think will have a good outcome for our future. You will never know if you made the best choice, because that would assume that you know the future outcome of all possible choices.

Even if the choice you make today turns out to be a bad choice, then this choice may have opened for an even better choice in the future. You cannot know what the best choice is and that is why you have to accept the choices you make and focus on the positive aspects that they will bring.

In my next post about mental maps I will present you for fitness landscapes.

Beautiful Mental Maps

The World looks different depending on who sees it. I like to see my life as an unexplored world with endless possibilities and choices. My path in life is an unbroken line through this world. My destiny is not predetermined but it depends on the choices I make in life. My life path is a result of the route I choose to take in my world. I can only travel the same road once, which means I cannot remake a choice of path.

If I choose a certain path I am destined to experience everything that happens on that path, and if I do not like what I experience, I am free to choose another path. That is why I like to see life as a map. For now I just call it a mental map although the term has been used in e.g. cognitive psychology. Until now the concept has been a bit blurred but the term mental map seems to fit what I describe. Maybe I will come up with something better later.

Mental MapTo make it easier to visualise you can draw your own mental map. Everything is possible and you can expand your world endlessly. The map I have shown as an example is a fantasy map I found at fantasymapmaker.

If you meet obstacles on your way in life then try to see them as a mountain you need to climb. If you feel lonely and isolated, then imagine yourself on an island and draw some distant mainland and visualise your options. You can use a pencil or advanced map-making software it is not quality that matters but your ability to visualise your options and the choices you have to get on a good path in life.

Read more about mental maps.