Because we act and feel according to how we see ourselves, a healthy self-concept is important. If we see ourselves as adequate, influential, and valuable we will act confidently, talk to others freely, and express our opinions openly. If we see ourselves as inadequate and inferior, opinions are withheld, other people avoided, and new friendships approached with caution. Here are five ways to develop a positive self-concept.
1. Identify and replace your negative self-talk.
People with low self-esteem often put themselves down or even call themselves names. Practice speaking positively to yourself, about yourself, to increase self-confidence.
2. Review positive attributes about yourself.
Write a list of the positive characteristics, attitudes, personality traits, and attributes you possess. Regular review will increase your self-esteem and act as a defense against your negative self-talk.
3. Set character goals.
Set a goal to be kind, loving, understanding, or patient. Rather than comparing your appearance, performance, wealth, or social standing against your friends or family members, compare yourself with your own character goals.
4. Focus on the things you can change.
Many people spend too much time focusing on situations, circumstances, other people’s feelings toward them, and any number of issues outside their control. Time is better spent focusing on the character goals you set. You are the one who controls your mood, attitude, and disposition, so focus on these things.
5. Increase your independence.
Self-esteem is often increased as you do more to improve your own situation. As you become more responsible for your own mood, you will become less dependent on others to help you feel good about yourself.
Change Follows Acceptance
It is not difficult to see how co-occurring disorders and low self-esteem go hand in hand, and how a healthy self-esteem aids a solid recovery. Changing yourself because you dislike yourself is not effective motivation. You can accept and like yourself the way you are and use that acceptance as a platform and foundation to change yourself for the better. Learning to like and believe in yourself is a process and it has many rewards for your recovery and beyond.
Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!