You can tell when someone is comfortable in their own skin. It resonates from their character and in everything that persons says and does. A person with healthy self-esteem doesn’t have to boast or show-off their talents and skills, they act with modesty because they rarely feel they have anything to prove. Their sense of gratification is mostly internal, but their external behaviors reveal a bold and confident persona, a person that is equally comfortable with both their strengths and their flaws.
I find myself often attracted to these kinds of people. Not in a sexual way, of course, but in a way that I wish to be more like them. They have an authentic sense of self-worth. They are confident in their abilities and their resilience when things get tough. They are masters of themselves, and as such there is always something new to learn from them and apply to your own life.
Recognizing your own unique value to the world, whatever that may be, can motivate you to exercise your gifts and take pride in your accomplishments. And that pride can be contagious to whoever watches you succeed.
People like people who believe in themselves. We often seek to be more self-dependent just like them, and we find ourselves inspired by the way they carry themselves.
Some of my own inspirations include entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck, personal development guru Steve Pavlina, writer Ayn Rand, and musician Maynard James Keenan (from the band Tool). These are just a handful of the many personalities in my life who have taken pride in their craft, and in return accomplished things that were later beloved by many. Who has influenced you in your life?
Having a mentor who exhibits this kind of self-worth can help you build strong character for yourself. When you relate to others who overcome struggles and later triumph, you can borrow that energy to help fuel your own endeavors. A recent study in social psychology showed that role models work best during times when we can relate to them. So find yourself a mentor or two, and then find the parallels between their story and yours (I personally try to find inspiration in every success story I hear).
Take this short success story involving Bruce Lee and a friend
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In the story, we see how Bruce Lee’s confidence in himself spills over into his confidence in others. When his friend says, “If I run anymore I am liable to have a heart-attack and die,” Bruce responds, “then die.” He would rather his friend die trying to achieve his maximum potential, then live constantly selling himself short. The friend took this as a challenge and found the power to run the full 5 miles. Lee’s response motivated the friend to do something they previously thought was impossible. By the end of it, the friend walked away feeling like a better person – that’s the effect magnetic self-esteem can have on another person.
Before we can share self-esteem, we have to have it ourselves. And once we do, we can become an endless source of inspiration for others.
One of the key ideas here is that the benefits of self-esteem stretch far greater than our narrow ego – I’ve used words like “magnetic” and contagious” to help illustrate this point.
One area I’ve been trying to build self-esteem in is entrepreneurship and self-employment. You can imagine how much confidence it takes to build a product or service that others will find valuable. If you think you can’t do it, you’ll never finish it, because you’ll always feel you are inadequate or “not good enough.”
Barbara Winter touches on this very concept in her book Making A Living Without A Job. She stresses that self-esteem has a consequence on our actions, and that a person with high self-esteem is often more compassionate toward others. Because the esteemed person can already sufficiently take care of their own needs, they can now focus more on the needs of others. Self-esteem thus enables us to work with others more effectively (this is something important to both business and life in general):
“While it may be intangible, self esteem is not invisible. It’s easy to spot people who have high self-esteem by their behavior. Chances are that the people you most like being with possess it in abundance. These people are frequently described as ‘gracious’ and ‘thoughtful,’ which makes them desirable as friends.
They love and care of themselves, but they are not arrogant. They have compassion for others, which rises out of their compassion for themselves. Since few of us arrive at a place of healthy self-esteem by accident or birth, these folks may be constantly aware of their own struggle to achieve it – and their ongoing effort to nurture it.
Their curiosity and interest in others lead them them to be excellent listeners, another magnetic quality. In addition, they have an elevated sense of personal responsibility; they rarely blame others for their problems or misfortunes. They may have a passionate desire to contribute to society. Whether they speak it or not, they frequently have a sense of mission in their lives that others lack. Knowing their own worth gives them a profound sense that they are here for some purpose, which, in turn, shows itself in a reverence for life.
Forward-thinking, they are aware that all past experiences in their lives have helped to mold their character. Even when their lives have seemed difficult, you’ll hear them say, “I wouldn’t change a thing.” They have a strong aura of integrity and truthfulness about them, but they are truly sensitive to the feelings of others. People with high self-esteem don’t have the need to say everything that’s on their mind. The bonus you receive for hanging out with these folks is that in their presence you feel safe and accepted just as you are. In fact, when you leave them you may find that you like yourself a bit more.”
I think Winter’s is right. People who have authentic self-esteem build stronger relationships with others. They don’t view everyone as a threat, so they are willing to help people instead of break them down. When we are confident enough in our own abilities, we are comfortable helping others build their own strengths and overcome their own weaknesses, without worrying that we are making ourselves look worse. That’s a very enchanting quality to have.
People like people who make them feel good about themselves. If being with a person inspires you to be a better person, by most accounts you will want to keep them as a worthy friend. So I think it is important to remember that self-esteem is not only something that is good for ourselves, but also something good for society at large. We should all strive to feel more comfortable in our own skin.
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