How do you develop self-esteem and true value within yourself? By challenging everything about yourself and all around you.
Create physical obstacles for you to reach. I have used my martial arts training and Sifu Challenges a great deal these past three years. Every day, do something new, different, or just a little harder than the day before. When you realize that you are capable of more things physically, your confidence will grow in all areas of your life.
Create mental challenges that move you out of your comfort level. Last night, on my way home, I took a completely different route than normal. I had no map, no gps, no scribbled directions. I just had a feeling, my gut instincts, to go by. I followed it. Even when I made a “wrong” turn, I continued on that path to see where it would play out. If you tune in and listen to that true voice inside of yourself, you will find that it often has the right answer for you.
Challenge your emotions. Thoughts and emotions, while very powerful and can be used for many things both wonderful and terrible, are not physically real. Deal with what is actually happening in your life, in front of you, in this very moment, instead of the myriad of “what if” scenarios we spin ourselves into in our hearts and heads.
Challenge your beliefs. This includes your religion, your science, your sexuality, and anything known as truths or facts and all of those things unknown. Allow yourself to push, question, and explore what you know and don’t know. Open your mind to the possibility that all of the things you think you know are different, incomplete, or unfinished. This will help you to have an open mind and a heart of wonder, instead of ones with fear.
Become self-sufficient. Pay off your debts and don’t incur any new ones. Learn how to grow and make your own food and other products you need, and increase your skill sets. What you do not have, trade for it. Create your own business doing something you love. Without your personal and financial independence, you will always be dependent on others. With that dependence comes fear of loss which will dictate your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. While becoming self-sufficient doesn’t happen overnight, every small step toward it counts.
Question what you have been taught by others. Whether it is your parents, friends, teachers, pastors, bosses, lovers, anybody really, take a look at that piece of information and analyze it. Think about it, research it, feel through it. Does your true voice inside want to accept or reject it? Why or why not? Once you have answered these for yourself, then you can decide what to do with that piece of “knowledge.”
Lastly, always question why you do what you do, why you want what you want, and why you feel the way you feel. Whether it is a job, relationship, hobby, whatever you are contemplating, always know your reasons and motives.
Are these processes easy? Hell no! But you are worth every effort made along the way, every tear shed during the dark moments of discovery, every sore mental and physical muscle that you will have during your growth. Each step that you take, however small it may seem, will help you to discover your true self and become strong enough to be that person. At least, this is how it has been and continue to be for me.