Have you ever had times in life when you simply weren't happy with yourself? You didn't feel good about your appearance. You weren't exercising or eating right. Your job was drudgery and your life was boring.
All of us experience periods when we're down on ourselves, when nothing we do seems good enough, and it seems everyone else has a better personality, a better body, a better job, heck -- a better life entirely. Sometimes these feelings are a brief blip on the radar screen, a momentary phase when the stars aren't in alignment for us.
But if these feelings last long enough, they can do a number on our self-esteem. Having low self-esteem is a vicious cycle. The worse you feel about yourself, the harder it is to change your thinking patterns. They become ingrained in your brain, further entrenching your negativity and making it difficult to take action to pull yourself out of the quicksand of low self-esteem.
Often people suffering with low self-esteem are out-of-touch with their authentic selves. They don't know who they are, what they value, or what they want in life, so they look outside of themselves for approval and reinforcement.
As Dr. Phil McGraw reminds, "Your authentic self is who you are when you have no fear of judgment, or before the world starts pushing you around and telling you who you're supposed to be." When you're operating as the person you're "supposed" to be, it's hard to love yourself. You don't really know the self you're trying to love.
So how can you get in touch with your authentic self, the person you truly are, so you can boost self-esteem? A great place to start is by seeking your passion.
Now an obvious question here is, "How do I find my passion if I don't know my authentic self?" But seeking your passion inevitability leads to your authentic self. The work involved propels you to a new level of self-awareness and inner wisdom, which in turn allows you to understand and love yourself.
Many people don't realize life passion must be actively sought. It doesn't arrive at your doorstep or magically fall from the sky. There's a process involved that can take months or years depending on the complexity of the passion and the commitment of the person involved.
This is why many people avoid seeking their passion. Once they get started, they realize it's not as easy as simply taking a career quiz or creating a dream board. The process is multi-faceted and lengthy, but the good news is the passion work is actually enlightening, life-changing, and even fun.
The first step in finding your life passion is learning as much as possible about yourself. It's useful to take a personality assessment and skills inventory, as this information will give you a general understanding about your traits and aptitudes. But that's just a starting point. You must dig deeper to explore your inner self to really get to the core of who you are.
Self-questioning can help you ferret out more information. Ask yourself these questions:
When do I feel the happiest and most engaged in what I'm doing?
What natural skills do I possess that I really enjoy?
When have I been so engaged and focused that time disappears?
What were some of my childhood dreams and goals?
If I didn't worry about money or what other people thought, how would I spend my time?
How am I spending my time and energy that drains me and doesn't fill me up?
What am I doing in life in order to please others or live up to expectations?
What beliefs or outlooks have I adopted without defining them for myself?
What do I deeply value -- what are my most important guiding principles?
As you uncover more about who you are, you'll stir up feelings of resistance and fear. One of the most self-esteem boosting requirements of a passion search is addressing these roadblocks -- and then busting through them.
You will feel fear, confusion, and self-doubt when you try to find your passion. There are so many unknowns, "what ifs," and self-doubts about your ability to succeed. You aren't yet sure who you are, so you don't trust yourself and your judgment.
However, if you challenge your fears and take small actions in spite of them, you're injecting the antidote to low self-esteem. By facing your fears and taking action, you'll awaken to your true self and realize what you're truly capable of doing.
Most of what we fear about our passion search rarely comes to pass anyway. Our fears are part of the "ego self" resisting change -- even change for the better. You can help bust through your fears by asking these questions:
What is it I fear the most?
What evidence do I have my fear is based in fact?
What evidence do I have that contradicts this fear?
What limiting beliefs do I hold about myself and my abilities?
Are these beliefs really true?
What excuses do I give myself and others for not pursuing my passion?
What is the worst thing that could happen if I pursue my passion?
What is the best thing?
There are many more steps involved in a life passion search. You'll test and experiment with various pursuits and ideas. You'll get clear on your life priorities, and begin eliminating what drains and distracts you. You'll make connections with like-minded people who inspire and mentor you.
All of these steps further empower you and reveal more of who you truly are. And as you face your internal roadblocks, you'll see how capable you are of controlling your own destiny. You become a creator of your life rather than a reactor to it. Once you do find your passion, you will meet it joyfully and confidently, with a strong foundation of self-esteem.