Being happy with ourselves lies at the core of all happiness. Even if we possess all the riches of the world and are surrounded by people who admire us - if we cannot be happy with ourselves all this will have no positive effect on us.
But how can we be happy with ourselves? Many people - far too many - think that they have to look good in order to feel confident. So they labor on their appearance in order to look slimmer, younger and more tanned and toned. But most of us know that our feelings about our looks can waver dramatically and that we rarely look good enough to give us the elusive self-confidence that we are all yearning for. Unfortunately, all these efforts will come to nothing if we miss the magic ingredients that will make us feel good about ourselves.
And then there is the advice that we should simply tell ourselves how wonderful we are and that - hey presto! - a better self-image will arrive. Unfortunately, repeating positive affirmations about ourselves often does more harm than good. It arouses our inner negativity that will tell us with ever increasing force how stupid or ugly we are the more we try to convince ourselves of the opposite.
I will now tell you the two magic ingredients that really work to make you feel thoroughly good about yourself. The first thing is integrity. What do I mean by that? Integrity means to be of good character - to be honest, reliable and not to harm anybody. In my work as a transpersonal therapist, I have consistently observed that people who cause grief to others feel unconsciously bad about themselves and then they go on to sabotage their dreams. It has become clearly evident to me that it is not God or karma who 'punishes' people - but that they do it all by themselves by sabotaging their happiness in one way or another. Once we can recognise this dynamic and resolve to live a life of highest integrity, we will already feel much better about ourselves.
However, by no means do we need to be perfect in order to feel confident. The second magic ingredient to build a stable and good self-esteem is to learn to love ourselves with all our faults and weaknesses. We inwardly embrace ourselves with our confusion, with our physical imperfections and with anything that we may think is wrong with us. For many people, this idea may seem contradictory at first. But in my work as a therapist I have seen how people almost instantly gain more self-confidence once they get the hang of loving themselves. We simply need to love ourselves like a loving mother loves her child - even if her child is not the brightest or the prettiest.
Once we generate this form of self-love and combine it with integrity, we will feel happy with ourselves no matter whether good or bad things happen to us.
To learn more about how to be happy with yourself refer to Tara Springett's book The Five-Minute Miracle. Tara holds an M.A. in Education and has post-graduate qualifications in gestalt therapy, body awareness therapy and transpersonal therapy. She is a fully qualified and licensed psychotherapist and counselor. Tara has worked as a drugs counselor, counselor for adolescents and general psychotherapist since 1988. Tara has been a dedicated Buddhist practitioner since 1986. In 1997 she received encouragement from her Buddhist teachers to teach meditation. Tara is the author of several self-help books. She has been featured in numerous publications and has appeared on various radio and television shows in Europe and the United States. Her website is: www.taraspringett.com.