I admit, it has taken a lot of life experience (and failure) to connect the dots on this one. It goes something like this: The extent to which we live up to our values has a tremendous impact on how much self-respect, and ultimately self-confidence, we possess. To be sure, it’s our values that matter here, not our friends,’ parents’, society’s or any wise sage that ever lived. Let me give some concrete examples.
If we believe overeating, smoking, and spending 7 hours a day on our phones is bad for us, every time we do them we lose respect for ourselves (regardless of the negative effect they may have independent of what we think). If we believe watching pornography has a toxic effect on our persons and fuels an exploitative industry, then every time we do it we lose respect for ourselves (regardless of the negative effect it may have independent of what we think). If we believe stealing is wrong, every time we cheat on our taxes because “nobody will find out,” we lose respect for ourselves. The same is true of lying, gossip, oversleeping, and a host of behaviors hat may conflict with an individual’s values.
In the same way, whenever we perform an activity that is consistent with our values — like working out, meditating, fasting, reading, being present with our loved ones, showing kindness to others, and exercising courage — we gain respect for ourselves.
If we want to improve our self-confidence, we may not have to look very far. How about doing the things we already know we should be doing and abstaining from those we should not? There’s a word for all of this: it’s called integrity. We often think of integrity as something that benefits those around us — and it does. But the truth is that our welfare is at stake before anyone else’s.
The brain is always taking notes, and it’s on us to communicate with our actions the message we want it to hear.
If you are wise, you are wise for your own benefit; if you mock, you alone will bear the consequences.Proverbs 9:12