When you don’t like yourself
"I tend to think negatively about everything. I don’t like myself that way, but don’t know what to do.” A junior high school student came up to me to share her feelings after a lecture I gave at a school.
She may be cautious by nature and tend to think very carefully, and she shouldn’t feel bad about that. It must be difficult, however, if she feels unhappy with the way she is and cannot like herself. I know it is hard when we cannot like ourselves and don't have a positive outlook on our lives.
Setting small goals
I was just like her when I was being hospitalized. I had lost the ability to walk, and I didn’t have an idea what I would be able to do or even what I wanted to do. I felt bitter and couldn’t like myself that way.
So, I forced myself to make a list of what I would like to do. I started with small challenges that I could try right away. “Tomorrow, I want to go to a kiosk on the ground floor in my wheelchair.” “The day after tomorrow, I want to go to the hospital lobby to see my kids off.”
Taking pride in small successes
In this way, I realized that there were actually many things I wished I could do. When I was able to achieve these small goals, I felt glad and excited. I came to enjoy thinking about what to do and trying them one by one. “What shall I do next?”, “I can do more.” It took me a long while, but, gradually, I came to feel more positive and outgoing.
If we ask ourselves about our own wishes and take pride in small successes day by day, we start thinking more positively about ourselves. It worked on me. After much trying, I was able to accept who I was.