Try a Different View to Build Self-Esteem — Part 1
My self-esteem suffered for many years because my view was focused firmly on the things I didn’t accomplish. There was no way to deny that I didn’t finish this thing, and never started that thing, and failed to reach my goal at the other. With my mind’s telescope pointed only at my disappointments, I could come to no other conclusion than I was not worthy of respect from myself or others. Life eventually taught me that changing my view could help my self-esteem and let me feel better about myself.
Do you find yourself hyper-focused on your failures? Check out one of the new ways of looking at my capabilities and accomplishments I learned in my journey and think about how you can change your view and build stronger self-esteem.
Life is Like a Stock Market Trendline
In my mid-twenties, I took my first corporate position in a financial services firm. I stayed in that company for ten years and took a lot of classes that led to earning my Chartered Financial Consultant designation. One of the most important things I learned personally from this study was that over any ten-year period, the stock market always outperforms fixed investments. This helped me in two ways.
First, it helped me trust the stock market as the right place for my retirement savings. If I never learned that lesson, I never would have been able to retire this year at age 62. I eschewed the get-rich-quick schemes, the day trading fad, and the high-risk moves needed to retire in my forties. This is a lesson that every young person starting out in life would do well to learn. The fact that I was able to retire comfortably is a major personal success and does wonders for my self-esteem today, but it didn’t help too much back in my twenties and thirties.
Second, it taught me to look at my life from a long-term perspective rather than only focusing on the immediate outcome of my actions. The stock market trendline shows the dips and surges in prices that occur every day, but if you look at that line over a ten-year period, you can see that the overall direction is up. That’s the trend.
I learned that making financial decisions based on the daily news was not smart for the average person. It’s best to have a goal, create a strategy with the help of professionals to reach that goal, and then put it on autopilot with regular deposits and annual checkups. Applying that concept to life in general was a huge attitude shift for me.
Focus on the Long-Term for Strong Self-Esteem
When I took a long-term view of myself and my accomplishments, my self-esteem grew stronger. Life has ups and downs every day, just like the stock market. We get ill, we win the lottery, we have a fender bender, we get a promotion. Any number of things can cause you to stumble or soar momentarily on your path to success.
But when I looked at the big picture over several years, I could clearly see the progress I had made towards my goals. Like a stock market trendline, there were dips and surges throughout the period, but the overall direction was up. For someone like me who was too addicted to the quick win and immediate gratification, this was a major change of focus.
Do you find yourself fixated on the daily to the point of losing your motivation for the long term? Every journey has peaks and valleys. As an exercise, create a trendline showing the last ten years of your life. Draw an uptick where something good happened, like moving into your new home or celebrating a major anniversary, and a downtick when you experienced a setback. Think about where you were ten years ago compared to today and try to identify two or three areas where you can see your progress towards your own life goals.
I’ll share another way to look at life in my next blog post that hit me at a Weight Watcher meeting twenty years ago. I’d love to hear about your trendline exercise results in the comments. Tell us how taking a new view helped your self-esteem feel healthier today.