We often look to the outside world to give us something that we feel we lack.
We want our boss to value us.
We want our partner to reassure us.
We want our mentors to guide us.
We want our audience to recognise us.
We want our friends to help us.
We look to different people, each of whom plays a different role in our lives, for different ways of filling gaps or making fixes. We look to others to improve ourselves.
In reality, no amount of external validation, recognition, reassurance, guidance or assistance can sustain us forever. Like a gas tank, each requires topping up when it runs low.
What’s the alternative?
Within ourselves we must become all of these elements. Within our own minds and hearts we need to create peace, courage and clarity. They need to coexist, and each needs to be available upon summoning, in any situation.
Reliance is a habit that sticks around. Self-sufficiency reduces its power.
We need to be able to value ourselves, recognise our own strengths, give ourselves a pep talk when needed, back ourselves to find the answer and have the discipline and mental strength to do what we need to do.
We could seek these things from multiple sources or we can find them all in one place.
Write a list of your own achievements to revisit when you feel down.
Notice what brings you energy and do more of those things.
Be your own biggest fan as well as harshest critic.
The answer isn’t self-improvement, it’s self-discovery. The paradox is, whilst we were looking to other people, we had the answers we needed within ourselves all along.