Imagine you are at a car lot looking at a car for sale. You ask the salesperson to tell you about the car. They respond, “Its okay I guess. It could be shinier, and it could go faster, and the color isn’t great, and it doesn’t have the best radio, and it’s not the cleanest, and its technology isn’t the latest and greatest, and there are obviously other cars that are much better looking….” How excited would you be to drive that car off the lot? And even if you went on to buy it out of need, would you really have it front of mind to treat that car well? Or would you haphazardly throw your wrappers on the floor and forget to take it in for its routine oil changes?
Now let’s contrast that to how you would have felt if the salesperson had described that car differently. If they had responded, “It’s an amazing car! It is incredibly reliable, and it is very safe for a family, and it is very comfortable, and it has a radio that plays beautiful music, and the color is very unique…it truly is one of a kind and a car to be treated with tender loving care.” How excited would you be to drive that car off the lot? And how hesitant would you be let that car get dirty or scuffed? And wouldn’t you want to keep that car well serviced so it will last for a very long time?
Don’t ever think that the way you feel about yourself won’t have a major impact on the way that others will feel about you. It will and it does.
I learned this lesson myself when I worked with a counselor following a divorce from a difficult marriage. I was struggling to understand why I continued dating men who didn’t treat me very well. Certainly I should have learned my lesson after my first marriage, yet I kept finding myself dating the same type of men. I shared my concern with my counselor and her response was very direct and it hit me really hard. She expressed that I was dating men that valued me as much as I valued myself – she went on to express that it wouldn’t be until I came to value myself that I would find a man who valued me too. I was stunned. My thought was, “but I do value me.” But as I went home and reflected on her words for a period of time, I knew that if I was totally honest with myself, that I had to recognize that that deep down, in that place of vulnerability I didn’t like to face, perhaps I didn’t feel that I was of much value. And what scared me most about that was the fact that I didn’t know how to change that – I didn’t know how to feel good about myself, so how was I ever going to change it.
It took much study for me to figure out what things I could proactively do to get to a point where I valued myself. I was worried about summarizing the things that helped me do it until this weekend I heard a talk that summarized perfectly the ways to improve your value of self and gain self-confidence:
- Take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being.
- Take responsibility for your own physical well-being.
- Do the right thing for the right reason. Keep in mind that choosing something bad over something worse is still wrong.
- Say sorry when you ought to and repent when you do something wrong.
- Forgive other people quickly and often, even when they aren’t sorry.
- Know that trials are going to come, so when they do decide to have good attitude about them and decide to learn everything good you can from them. Work to endure each trial well.
- Acknowledge and face your weaknesses, but don’t become immobilized by them. Simply work to improve them the best you can.
- Do your best every day to be the best you can be, then let that be enough
The bottom line is that each of us have to evaluate ourselves to determine if we do, in that place of vulnerability, truly value ourselves. One reflection that might help you answer that question is to take stock of your current relationship or your employer – do they seem to value you? If you feel they don’t, or if you find yourself consistently feeling undervalued by others than perhaps it is time to take matters into your own hands and begin doing those things that you can to help to feel your own value. And as you value yourself, you will see that you attract others who will value you as well.
Have a great weekend everyone!