Self Talk: How To Be Your Best Self

The goal of having a good relationship with yourself is to be the same person, with the same values and character, no matter where you are — home, work, with friends, with family, at church, playing sports — as you are when you are alone. In other words, who are you when no one is looking?

Here are a few examples of what it means to have a positive self-image. You —

  1. hold yourself in high regard.
  2. feel your feelings — such as mad, sad, afraid — and can differentiate between them.
  3. can regulate your behavior appropriately to each situation that you encounter.
  4. don’t second-guess yourself.
  5. act in your own best interest, although not at someone else’s expense.
  6. match your words and actions.
  7. know and understand your values and priorities.
  8. earn your own self-respect by your actions.
  9. earn respect of others by your actions.
  10. are trustworthy with yourself and others.

Why does knowing yourself matter? You only get one life and it is important to make it the best life possible. Understanding who you are and what is important to you enables you to live more fully, with purpose and a deeper connection to others, not for others.

No one else is exactly like you, even if you are a twin. Do you take the time and effort to be your best self, at least most of the time? Do you respect and use your unique gifts and share them generously? Do you allow others to share themselves and their gifts with you?

It’s important to remember that, when you are down, discouraged or feeling “squashed” — we all experience these times — it is not always what happens that matters so much. It’s how you handle it and what it means to you that counts. So, tackle or toss the destructive trolls (Seth Godin’s word) of insecurity and self-criticism that reside in your head. Don’t give them your time or attention. Don’t feed them, argue with them or attempt to reason with them! Not only are these trolls not helpful, they are destructive!

Ruminating about your faults, mistakes and shortcomings is a costly habit that leads to unhappiness. This kind of unproductive negativity will put you at risk for depression and ill health.

Do acknowledge the clues of emotional pain caused by failure, loneliness and rejection but don’t prolong your suffering. Give yourself time to learn, heal and gain strength from difficult experiences.

And, to quote the great American philosopher and psychiatrist William James, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”