I think at some level, everyone recognizes the importance of self esteem in their attitude toward life, but dismisses it as a form of self centeredness. This may very well be the number one barrier to being a fully actualized, joyful, fulfilled human being.
I’m not saying it’s a good idea to be conceited, arrogant, or self absorbed; those are all bad, potentially toxic characteristics. I’m just saying that the world would be a better place if more people felt good about themselves and could redirect their attention toward their own intrinsic value and capacity for growth.
A skeptic might ask the question, “What’s wrong with the way I am? Why do I need to change?” One response could be, “If we don’t grow and evolve as human beings, then we’re stagnating.” Although happiness can be an elusive thing, it can be a byproduct of pursuing one’s passions, helping others, learning new things, practicing gratitude, and letting go of self-defeating beliefs and habits.
Here’s a question to ponder: As we enter a new year and a new era (post-COVID19), what can we do, as individuals, to improve our world, both internally and externally? Well, since your outer world tends to be a reflection of your thought patterns, habits, and level of self esteem, focusing on personal development for the next 12 months could be the most life-changing thing you could do.
What exactly does “personal development” mean? The specifics of a personal development program would need to be tailored to each individual to truly be meaningful and productive, but here are a few tips and ideas that can be used as a launching pad.
Personal Development Tips
- Develop a personal development plan. If you don’t set intentions and goals for your life, then your progress toward personal growth will probably be haphazard and lackluster, at best. Improving your mind, your health, your relationships, and your appreciation for what you already have (AKA: “GRATITUTE”) are the cornerstones of a more fulfilling life.
- Change your thoughts; change your life. Although you’ve probably heard that expression countless times, do you take it seriously? If you are serious about improving your health, your relationships, your lifestyle, and your inner peace, then you may need to focus on your thoughts — both their quality and content — several times a day. For some people, it’s helpful to imagine having an alert security guard at the entrance to their minds — one who only allows positive thoughts, intentions, and beliefs to enter. Granted, it takes a lot of focus and vigilance to monitor and regulate your own thoughts, but if you get in the habit of doing it, then it becomes second nature.
- Make positive thinking, self improvement, and spirituality part of your daily routine. When I refer to “spirituality,” by the way, I’m mostly talking about practicing gratitude, present-moment awareness, and training your mind to notice and appreciate the many blessings of life that may be escaping your notice. Although it’s easy to fall into the trap of allowing yourself to be undermined by negative habits and self-defeating behaviors, just remember one of the most powerful truths to emerge from the human potential movement. It’s simple, to the point, and a bit blunt: “An untrained mind can accomplish nothing!” (A Course in Miracles)
- Immerse yourself in positivity. There are dozens of powerful ways to expose yourself to positive thoughts, ideas, and life-enhancing strategies. If you’re an Instagram user, for example, consider subscribing to a dozen or more accounts that focus on gratitude, self improvement, personal growth, achieving success, and topics of that nature. That way, in between viewing pictures of cute puppies, exotic travel locations, news updates, appetizing food, and celebrities, you’ll also be inundated with inspiring and motivational quotes, life strategies, and ideas that can help you stay focused on your quest for fulfillment, happiness, and success — however YOU define “success.” There are also a gazillion good books, blogs, videos, podcasts, seminars, and email newsletters you can subscribe to for a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and helpful ideas.
Stay tuned to this blog (“Thoughts that Work”) for more self improvement tips, inspiration, and strategies for personal growth.