Girls like guys who like themselves.
When I talk about liking yourself, people generally think I mean being narcissistic or arrogant. And if you’ve developed a strong positive self-image, people will sometimes consider you to be one or the other. But if you’ve attained that level of inner-strength, you’re not likely to be bothered about what people think about you anyway.
If you really were a narcissist, your self image would be based on vanity and your Ego would definitely be a major influence in your life. Usually your self-image would be based around some temporary attribute like good looks or academic prowess. Over time, these attributes fade and the narcissist suffers from a crisis as his self-image crumbles about him.
A genuine, strong self-image has little to do with the Ego and comes mainly from self-approval.
Everyone Starts Somewhere
I remember when I was a teenager, I thought highly of myself but there was always a feeling of self-doubt in the back of my mind. I knew I had the potential to be great but had so far failed to prove it. I would still look to others for praise when I accomplished anything. I was easily swayed by the opinions of others.
If I thought that I was one thing and someone told me otherwise, I would have a crisis of confidence. If I had an opinion about something and someone else challenged it, I would withdraw it or timidly agree with them. I know Bruce Lee said “Be like water”, but this isn’t what he meant. He was talking about adapting to circumstances, whereas all I was doing was lacking conviction.
So, to build a positive self-image, you not only have to like yourself for who you are, but you must do it with conviction.
Maybe you’re thinking to yourself:
“Yeah but I’ve done some shitty things in my life.”
Well, you’re not alone. Everybody has done something in their life that they’re not proud of. You’ve just got to accept it, forgive yourself and get on with your life. You can’t change your past. But you can change your future by resolving to act in a more positive and constructive way right now. Always be improving and learning from your mistakes.
You’re Already Awesome
So now you’ve forgiven yourself for your past, you need to get a piece of paper and a pen, think deeply about your life and write down all of the things you’ve ever done that you’re proud of. Once you’ve done that, imagine being in that situation again and feel how good it felt to be that previous version of you. That’s how you’ll be aiming to feel in your regular life from now on.
If you’re still staring at a blank piece of paper, you’ve not put enough effort into your introspection. Everybody has done something in their life that they’re proud of. Now that you’ve done that, you can see that you’re not so bad after all.
The next step is to work towards a constant state of self-improvement.
You might say to me:
“But if I’m always trying to improve myself, doesn’t that mean that I don’t like who I am at the moment?”
Not at all. You can like yourself but still realise that you can improve and evolve as a man in every area of your life. All you do is transform your dislike to discontent. Instead of hating yourself for being weak, you have discontent for your weakness and resolve to join a gym tomorrow and start working out. One is negative and will harm your self-image and the other is positive and will bolster it.
You should examine your life, look at your weaknesses and make plans to work on and strengthen them. You should work out what your focus is and set goals to achieve it. Every time you achieve a goal, give yourself a hearty slap on the back, smile and tell yourself:
As you achieve more and more, you have higher self-esteem and your self-image changes. You no longer see yourself as weak and incompetent and begin to see yourself as strong and capable. When someone makes a disparaging remark about you, instead of being mortally wounded, it simply bounces off your self-image as if it were bullet-proof.
If you go too far, your positive self-image can turn into arrogance. You will know when this happens because instead of ignoring the naysayers, you actually start hurting them. As the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility”, so keep an eye out for this and try not to go too far.
However, this is normal and you can correct it. Let me give you an example. When you pilot a plane, you never fly in a straight line from your origin to your destination. You aim where you want to go but after you’ve travelled a certain distance, you realise that you’re off course and you have to change direction to correct it. You eventually arrive at your destination but if you were to look at a plot of your path, it wouldn’t be a straight line, but a squiggle.
This is what will happen while you’re building your self-image. You’ll go too far and break into arrogance. Then you’ll compensate and veer too into meekness and repeat until eventually you gain stability. This is when you become rock solid. That’s the ultimate goal, that unshakeable belief in your own self worth.
But that’s not all. You need to have opinions and you need to have values.
Own Your Values and Opinions
If someone asks you what you think of something and then laughs at your opinion, it shouldn’t matter one bit. This is because you know what your standpoint is and the only way someone is going to convince you otherwise is by systematically refuting it. They need to prove to you without a shadow of a doubt that you’re wrong. If you listen to their argument and decide that it cannot be ignored, be gracious, admit that you were wrong and adopt the new viewpoint.
The way that you get to this stage in your development is by spending an extended period of time thinking deeply about what aspects of life are important to you and make a strong judgements on your values and opinions based upon fact and reasoning. Don’t waste your time explaining your reasons for having a particular value or opinion, but if someone asks you to, you should be able to give a strong and considered argument for it.
Of course if someone tells you that you’re stupid for liking a certain type of music or art, you can just ignore them, because preferences are subjective. If you like vanilla ice-cream and someone tells you “You’re so boring”, you can just ignore them or tell them to “Fuck off”. You know what you like and other people’s opinions are irrelevant. Which brings me on to the last point:
Always Trust Your Own Judgement First
If you’ve been introspective and thought about your life and your values and you have a positive self image, you can have confidence in your decisions. When people are in need of guidance, you can be the one to decide what to do.
When you have this decisiveness, you become a leader. You’re happy to accept responsibility because you know you can handle it. If you don’t have a positive self-image, your journey to masculinity and self-realisation is going to impossible, so it’s important to start now.