Overcoming Low Self-Esteem and Guilt When Working toward Your Goals

Today, I’ll discuss two possible obstacles that keep you from realizing your goals and how to overcome them.

If you make your goals all about yourself, you might not have the motivation to achieve them. This happens especially if you have low self-esteem.

The results you get in your life reflect your self-esteem. There’s nothing wrong with having low self-esteem as long as you’re willing to improve it.

If you have followed my blog in the past few weeks, you know by now that I recommend Nathaniel Branden’s work to increase your self-esteem.

Nowadays, I’m going through the audio program The Psychology of High Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden. It’s a lot of work to complete the journaling exercises, but they’re worth the effort.

Low self-esteem is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You think you aren’t worth and/or capable of achieving the goals you set. As a result, you fail your goals, which leads to reinforcing your low self-esteem.

How are you going to break the vicious circle of low self-esteem?

If you make it all about yourself, you won’t make the  effort to increase your self-esteem because that’s a lot of hard work and you probably think that you aren’t worth making that much effort to increase your self-esteem.

How are you going to motivate yourself to improve your self-esteem?

If you think you aren’t worth the effort, make it about other people. How are other people going to benefit from you being a better version of yourself?

  • How is your significant other going to benefit from a better you?
  • How are your family and friends benefit from a better you?
  • How are your employer, colleagues, or your employees benefit from a better you?
  • How is your community benefit from a better you?
  • Last but not least, how are the humanity at large and the planet going to benefit from a better you?

If you can’t motivate yourself to do something good for yourself and to work toward your goals, then do it for the other people that are going to benefit from your improvement and from the realization of your goals.

The second obstacle I want to discuss is guilt. You’ll feel guilt, if you believe that by improving yourself and realizing your goals, you’re taking away from other people and making them worse off.

If you have that type of limiting belief, you can ask the same questions as above. If you can’t come up with any answers to those questions, you’re either blind to the benefits of you realizing your goals to other people or your goals are really selfish.

By selfish, I mean goals like, I’m going to become the richest person on earth, and by doing that, I’m going impoverish everyone else. I can hardly see anyone who’s reading my blog to come up with a goal like that.

Sometimes, we look at our goals from a personal point of view. If we have low self-esteem or guilt, that personal approach to goals can backfire. To overcome the disempowering effects of low self-esteem and guilt, you can focus on the benefits of your goals to other people to motivate yourself to work on them.

Burak Bilgin
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.

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