You Should Go and Love Yourself
by Thao Nguyen
Chances are, when you were in elementary school, there was a poster in the classroom telling you “Reach for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” We are told from a young age to aspire for great things in every aspect of our lives. Sometimes it sticks. But more often than not, we get to the point where we start thinking the worst of ourselves and stop hoping for anything good to come out of our efforts.
Let’s paint a scenario here. You applied to a job and had an interview. When you discuss it with your friend, what’s easier to say: “I’m totally going to get it. I’ve proven myself with my experience, and I came off really well in the interview” or “I’m not so sure I’m going to get it. I don’t have all of the skills they’re looking for, and I bet they’ve talked to tons of people who are way better at presenting themselves than I am”?
Or let’s try a different scenario. You’re in the early stages of dating someone new, but for the last few days the potential significant other hasn’t been as talkative as usual. When you and your friend meet up for happy hour, what’s more likely to come out of your mouth: “He/she totally likes me! Why else would he/she be tagging me in this many memes and talking to me this often? We hit it off really well on our last date, and except for that one weird joke I told, I can’t think of anywhere I did wrong” or “Maybe he/she doesn’t like me as much as I thought. I came off pretty weird during our last date, and I feel like he/she could do way better than me”?
The second statement in both of these scenarios might be easier to say because we’re afraid of coming off as narcissistic. We don’t want people to think that we think we’re awesome people worthy of good things. But in my experience, the second statements are harder to say because we don’t believe we are awesome people worthy of good things. It’s a lot easier to praise and motivate our loved ones because we truly believe in them and think they deserve the best. When it comes to ourselves however, we normally fall into the trap of focusing on all of our failures, which then causes us to believe that being optimistic about the things we are striving for is naive and pointless.
But it's time to stop being so harsh on ourselves. If we let ourselves continue to think that we aren’t going to get what we want, we will stop trying to achieve those goals. It’s not naive to believe in yourself when you are actively working towards something. It’s confidence. It’s not pointless to put work into a relationship into someone you think is “out of your league.” It’s valuing yourself.
The fact of the matter is we are all going to fail at some point in our lives. But that doesn’t mean we stop trying and it doesn’t mean we stop hoping. Make it a point to try to see yourself as your friends and loved ones do. Is that someone they can be proud of? If it is, don’t be afraid to think that you are worthy of what you want in life. There’s a difference between being humble and being pathetic. You’ve gotten to where you are because of the work you’ve put in. Give yourself the dignity you deserve. Love yourself; it’ll be easier to work for what you want once you do.