Self-Esteem | How to Love Yourself and Improve Yourself at the Same Time

You may hear people say, "Love yourself just the way you are." Is this good advice though?

While it's important to love ourselves, does this mean we should love everything about ourselves? What if we have negative traits? Should we never feel shame and be motivated to improve ourselves? If we want to improve ourselves, does that mean we don't love ourselves?

I believe the best way to go is to love the essence of who you are plus your positive traits, but also be motivated to improve yourself at the same time. It is not an either-or decision. You can do both of these things. You can draw your self-love from the fact that you're a human being with inherent dignity and value, as well as from the fact that you're loved by others. Then, you can draw your self-esteem from all your positive traits. You don't need to be good at everything in order to feel good about yourself. If you're a good parent, a good child, a good student, a good worker, a good athlete, a good cook, or a good artist, let this make you feel better about yourself.

However, it's very important to not place too much of your self-esteem and self-identity on being an athlete, or anything else that isn't stable. If you place your entire self-esteem and self-identity on being an athlete, and then you start to fail as an athlete, your self-esteem can come crashing down. While it's fine to place some of your self-esteem and self-identity on being an athlete, you should place most of your self-esteem and self-identity on things that are more stable, such as being a child of God, a parent, or a husband/wife.

Also, don't let your negative traits destroy your self-esteem. Just because you may have some negative traits, doesn't mean there isn't anything to love about yourself. However, you shouldn't deny the fact that you have negative traits to make you feel better about yourself. You don't need to pretend that your negative traits are actually positive traits. That's not going to lead to real success or happiness. Be honest with yourself, admit your shortcomings, and be motivated to improve yourself. By improving yourself, you will not only become more successful, but you will find deeper happiness as well. If you do this while also loving the essence of who you are and your positive traits, then your happiness and mental health will be even better.

 Here is a great quote to summarize these ideas: 
"God loves you as you are, but he loves you too much to leave you that way."

I personally believe that self-esteem is overrated. Yes, it's still very important to love yourself, but if your main focus is on your self-esteem, you can become a self-centered person, which is not only immoral but also backfires and limits your happiness. Stop thinking so much about yourself and instead place your focus on other people and the important things in life. Some of the happiest people are the ones who don't really think much about themselves. They're too busy focusing on their duty in life, loving others, and worshiping God. After you reach a necessary amount of self-esteem to maintain your mental health, you should then focus on placing your attention outwards.