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How Can I Like Myself More Than I Did Yesterday?

Yesterday I put something up on Facebook to get some questions in for what you want me to write about. If you don’t already, be sure to like my page so that you have the chance to respond to this kind of thing when I post it.

The question that I’m going to answer this week is from Christina:

“How about how to work past negative views of your PAST self (be it weight, poor decisions, a “past”…) and see yourself as you are TODAY?”

(‘I think I’ll start a new life’ – Photo Credit: Noukka Signe)

Here’s what I have to say on the matter:

“We all make mistakes”

“Nobody’s perfect”

“Every failure is a chance to learn”.

We’re constantly fed these cliches whenever we fall down, usually by friends and family as a way of comforting us and helping us move forward from past failures.

But where is the line?

At what point should we stop forgiving ourselves for past failures? Many of us have done bad things; to ourselves, and to others. Things we still feel guilty for today. To a great extent, the things we have done in the past are responsible for us seeing ourselves as ‘low-value’ today.

Some people don’t like themselves because of what they were given from day one: their looks, their intelligence, their body shape. But for many people it comes from having felt like they let themselves down in the past.

I’m familiar with the feeling of having a self-negative view. My own often comes from the feeling of not having achieved enough in a day. I start to feel angry at myself for under-performing. But people can have a low self image for any number of reasons. Maybe they didn’t approach someone they liked and now they feel like a coward. Maybe they made an awful decision that has shaped their entire life in a negative way ever since.

It’s hard; and like most things in life that matter, it’s not easy to overcome. These feelings in many of us are deep rooted.

Then someone comes along and tells you to believe in yourself, or suggests it’s possible to simply wipe away memories of your past. Such a notion feels like an insult at best. I used to talk like that when I first started out. I have since learnt that life isn’t that easy.

So what do we do?

There’s some comfort in knowing that other people have made mistakes worse than our own. Focusing on their failures seems to help. But it’s usually not very long before our own baggage begins to feel heavy again, and in any case, focusing on someone worse than us is a crappy way to feel good.

Here’s what I’ve learnt from my years working with people: The only guaranteed way to have a ‘positive-present-view’ of yourself, is to BUILD it from scratch.

I say ‘build’ because a positive self-view is created the same way trust in a relationship is created – by being built on, one small step at a time. Want a better image of yourself? Do something today that’s slightly more than the YOU of yesterday managed.

You think you’ve been a shitty person in your life until now? Fine. Do something small today that’s the opposite of what a shitty person would do. Do something nice for someone, a small act of generosity. Show a moment of understanding. Prove to yourself that you are better than yesterday.

You’ve been a wimp you’re whole life? Someone who cowers away from risk, or rejection? The antithesis of the hero? Fine. Talk to someone today and tell them they look beautiful. Stick up for someone who’s being verbally bullied in a group. Set an example for someone you know looks up to you. Prove to yourself that you are stronger than yesterday.

You’ve been lazy until now? Avoided responsibility? Down-played your dreams and ambitions to take the comfortable route? Fine. Go set up a call with someone who can help a vision you’ve had for a long time. Run for 10 minutes, clean your apartment, prove to yourself that you are more tenacious than yesterday.


(Photo credit: FlatWorldsEdge)


Will you erase all of your negative memories in a day? No. But instead of papering over past experiences with mindless pump-up mantras, you’ll have shown yourself something better: progress. A brief moment where you showed that even if only for 10 minutes, you were the person you wanted to be.

In the interests of full disclosure, even doing that one thing will probably not be easy. But do it you must. In that brief moment that you do do something different to the old you, you’ll like yourself. And we all know what happens when we meet someone we like. We want to spend more time with them.

When you do get to spend a moment with a version of you that you really like, you’re going to want to be around that part of you more. So you’ll find ways to be that person again tomorrow. It becomes a beautiful cycle that starts a new relationship with yourself. Not created – like a false friendship with a person we met the night before and told we loved in a drunken stupor – but built, one day at a time. A brand new relationship with the most important person in your life. YOU.

A thought to leave you with:

The criminal who just got out of jail can’t wipe away all of his crimes. But he has the ability to be better than before, one day at a time. You can too. But please before you start, let yourself out of jail. It’s stopping you from starting, and you’re the only person who’s been keeping yourself there.


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152 Replies to “How Can I Like Myself More Than I Did Yesterday?”

  • Great post today, Matthew. It’s come at a good time for me as I’ve had a very bad weekend having a heart to heart with a guy I really liked and who I was uncertain liked me back . Turns out he’s playing the field, but didn’t tell me to what extent. We were never together and it was long distance, so it’s okay.

    The funny thing is that despite being told that feelings were not mutual, I have been most upset by how I let him cheapen our relationship – our friendship – by letting me get so emotionally close. That is a mistake on my part, that I made and knew for a long time but was too afraid to face, and so it went on for months. I know I’m a woman worth giving a damn about and who deserves so much better, and sadly for him, he’s pissed that away.

    So now I’m going to keep busy, meeting up with friends and socialising, to claim back that strong, independent person I was before meeting him. I’m getting back on that frikkin horse, Matthew! xxx

      1. Thanks for responding Matthew. Your blogs remain an amazing source of strength and inspiration to all of us. I really needed that today. Keep up the brilliant work :) xx

    1. OMG I had the EXACTLY problem this weekend. I mean, it´s like reading myself.

      Even if it hurts this will make you a stronger person. Go girl.

      1. Oh Rumours – how weird is that? We deserve better than idiots who don’t treat special relationships as the precious things they are, or ones who pretend that there is a relationship when all they want is one thing. Life is too short for that kinda messy bullish*t.

        You go too, sista! ;) xx

        1. Yes, it´s so weird. (Excuse me my English, I´m spanish). What really hurts me is knowing that the guy is not a bad person but acts like a total asshole. That and that our friendship will end like this.

          But we will go through this and we will learn a bunch of things. Send you all my encouragement.


          1. Rumor! Same here! We’ve not been talking to the same man, have we?? ;) Yes, absolutely the same situation. I’m struggling to come to terms with hearing how much of an asshole he behaves, and yet I miss my friend who I got to know and adored. I wish I could just have that man back, even without a relationship – I want to like him again as a nice person. But I don’t know if I deal with essentially ignoring that dumb side of him that thinks he play around and hurt so many people. Thankfully, he never messed around with me, so it was a bullet dodged.

            Supportive energy to you too, my dear. Stay strong. We can do be better, and we both know it, else we wouldn’t be saying goodbye to these guys.


  • “Sometimes in life what you’re looking for is looking for you too”
    This article comes for me at a perfect timing. I used to be one of those people who would constantly say: ‘tomorrow this, tomorrow that’ when it came to better myself, had all the drive in the world when it came to my carreer but zero drive to becoming the person I wanted to be. Just like you mention above I said ‘enough’ one day and started investing more and more of my time towards building myself from scratch, little by little. I’m not complete where I want to be yet but it is because I started that I got to see the person I can be, the person I like to be at least an hour of each day, and is because of that feeling that I know that I won’t build Rome in one day but I sure will have it done if I just stick to the pace I’m at right now.

    Thank you for contributing to that feeling Matthew.


  • The timing of this article is amazing! I was thinking last night, as I watched a movie with my dog (yep, no hot date for me) that I will probably meet a man with the same level of self-esteem that I have, so I better make sure that mine is high because I want a man who has confidence in himself and treats me well and I’m sure ill attract a man who is at my same level. Eek! I’m sure taking the steps you mentioned will help because I’ve seen far too many romantic comedies with my dog this year (LOL).

    1. Hey Sabrina,

      You’re absolutely right – confidence attracts confidence.

      Just make sure that in addition to your cosy nights you’re getting out there and putting this stuff into practice too. I want you to have your own romcom in your life ; )


  • The past is past. We should just learn from the mistakes we made in past. The only thing that seems to bring a change in our life is to look forward, not backward.
    “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”. -Unknown
    Thanks for the article, Matthew!!!)))

  • All day long i felt so bad about myself , i was thinking about how my life isnt progressing and how fed up i was of waiting for that boyfreind i keep imagining , but then i read this and realized that what your saying is completly true . I cant control whether a guy i like will come over and talk to me or not , but I can control how I feel about myself . This article has made me beleive in myself . Thank you so much for taking the time to write it Matt , you give the best advice ever.

  • I particularly find your article brilliant as you focus on self-image rather than use the term self-esteem. When we get to the stage of realising we really need to take action to remedy this in our lives, for whatever reason, not only to meet the man of our dreams we want it to happen overnight. Then when this is not borne out we feel more deflated than before. The way you explained makes perfect sense to me,as I inadvertently started the process yesterday and I felt it working. This is the best advice you have given so far : ) x

  • Hei :)
    I like this blog. Its true I completely agree on that u need to train your will and use it for being who you want to be. Thats the way to be happy and love yourself :)

  • Matt, it is rare to find someone who keeps churning out thoughtful, empowering, relable and inspiring articles. Enjoyed reading this and learning from you.

    Reminds me of my motto: the only person you need to believe in is yourself.

    Well said, D,

    1. Thanks so much D! When I’m writing this things I never know to what extent people will enjoy it, I just write form the heart and hope it will resonate. I’m so glad to hear this one did.

      Thanks for commenting.

      M x

  • What if over time youve become the person u always wanted to become,someone you genuingly like to be but it turns out both ppl u know and dont know are somehow not attracted to u?and u cannot for the life of u pinpoint where ur going wrong?

    1. Hey Erica!

      Well the first thing to realise is not everyone will like us. But if right now noone you meet is taking an interest in the way you would like it is likely to be down to your ‘strategy’ as opposed to your confidence. There’s probably something you still aren’t showing or demonstrating which is preventing them from seeing you in that way. Once you’ve figured out what that is you’ll realise your probably not far off at all in getting the attraction you want.

      M x

      1. Big thanku! the way u explained it is clear and helpful.youre the sweetest Matt!^^
        p.s. f*** it im ordering your book(s)! haha. Looks like ill need them. xx

  • Well I believe this article came at the right time in my life. This might sound cheesy but I cried myself to sleep and woke up to this link on your email. I was extremly hard on myself for the things in my life that haven’t happened yet and I forgot to see what I have accomplished so far day by day. In learning that life doesn’t happen in one day but a series of steps in a process greater than I, helped me release some stress. The words from your heart have spoken to mine with great comfort. I don’t think you will ever realize how much but you should know that you are blessed with a gift. A gift in not only helping people but giving them a new positive view into the future. I haven’t made many major mistakes because in some way I have been inclosed in myself so I will not get hurt by this big bad world and in some ways that has hindered my growth in life as to when I did make some if those mistakes is when I learned the most. Not saying that I should make more mistakes but not to get myself-esteem down because things didn’t go a certain way and that I was not able to control a situation. Thanks again and I wish you the best in life and love because you are a true genuine man who deserves every minute of the greatness that is coming. No matter what do not give up and if you ever even think for an inch about that just please look back on my words to you if they mean anything and know that you have helped a soul and much more that it would be ridiculous to stop. As you tour the United States be mindful that not everyone is genuine and there is an extent to everything. I hope to see you in March in Los Angeles with my busy schedule and financial issues, but if I cannot make it then again I wish you a successful life in everything. Sorry for writing soo much. Thank you again.


    Suzie G

    1. Dear Suzie G,

      What a kind and generous person you are to have taken the time out to write to me like that. Thank you for the beautiful things you said. Please know that it affects me deeply to know that this has helped so much, and that hearing you say these things motivates me to keep doing what I’m doing.

      I truly hope you’ll come to LA in March to see me. I would love to have you there so that we can continue this journey together, as a team.

      Massive love

      Matthew x

  • Dear Matt
    the article is truly inspiring and shows a new
    Perpective that encourages to leave ” the prison”
    on the spot and improve
    One thing I really appreciate
    From your lessons is also the positive dinamic energy
    and your great sense of humour
    Things are changing in my life
    Thank you


  • Hello Matt!
    I loved your article, and thanks God I understood these things you write about a few months ago, but you have no idea of the amount of people I’ve met who don’t understand this and see themselves badly. Is there a way to make them see that they’re worth it? Is there anything you consider I could do to make them realize they have the capability of redeeming themselves from their bad actions? I’m from Venezuela, so not many of my friends speak english and I can’t show them your article :s What do you recomend me to do?

    PS: I wish you could come to Latin-America! :(

  • Thank you so much matt. Your articles really help alot to deal with life. Sometimes we put so much in a relationship, still the person we are in love with doesnt recognize. That makes one feel down and low.why i always think that iam lonely and i need love. I should be happy.

  • Hi Matt,

    I am deeply impressed by three things.

    1 Your honesty
    2 The value you are bringing
    3 That you are taking the time to reply to every message

    This has been a special day for me.

    I woke up feeling wretched – yesterday I was refused travel from Morocco to London, because I had overstayed my visa. The visa laws here are quite strict for forginers, it is not the first time this has happened to me! I felt so disorganised and feckless… not to metion all the money I wasted traveling to the airport and on a place to stay in London and the apointmets I have to cancel… This against the background of a turbulent relationship with the father of my baby with whom I am separated and uncertainty about where we will live and what we will do next.

    But, I have been praying a lot and I oppened my facebook this morning to something which grabbed me.

    It said:

    Five Points To Live Happily

    1 Know that after all, life is simple.

    2 Be generous in your thoughts, deeds and with your things.

    3 Remember things go according to Karma – whether you like it or not.

    4 Humbly obey the law of the Universe (Tao)

    5 Be positive under any circumstances

    The first one was the kicker for me, closely followed by the second… and so forth.

    Well, I wrote it down on a little slip of paper – but before I did, I made a commitment to take it to heart and act on it.

    I can remember the feeling I had as I tried to put it in to action…
    Making the descision to take my daughter to the park instead of moping around the house on my laptop. There was a sucking sensation, as if I was trying to pull my soul out of quicksand… :D

    But I got the kid dressed and with as much kindness as I have in a long time.

    I set out with her and along the way we called on a friend who works at a hotel where the owner, also a friend, has died. I found the people there bewildered.

    He had died and left a half-finnished dream – a hotel spa with an organic garden, but nothing finnished and no cash and five people needing their salarys and bills piling up… And a large studio sitting empty. Bearing in mind principle number two, I told them to take the studio and open a coin operated laundrey – an idea I have long known will be an easy way to make money. This town is beautiful and firmly on the tourist trail – but there isn’t one in the whole place. And it turns out the old mill I on the waterfalls I have occasionaly immagined as the venue for the artisan ice cream shop I want to start is owned by the man I am speaking to .He knows it is sublime but he dosen’t know what to do with it, or with the little workshop nearby that I know will make a fine kitchen.

    The decesed’s apartment, at the base of the hotel facing on to the garden is sitting empty now and since there is a need of regular income, I could rent it and help the hotel stay afloat while getting a great place to live and working on these projects and turning the garden into a place to buy plants and compost and seeds and gardening tools with aplace for the bees I have always wanted to keep. And I am thinking about honey and candles and maybe even bee pollen…

    In the space of one visit with a simple and positive attiude I see the means to nurture a clutch of dreams and the possibility of working in community with people I like and having a place to live that I will nourish us.

    I took my daughter to pray and I met the man who’s house I failed to buy once – not for lack of funds at that time just for lack of desicive action and have been kicking myself about ever since. And he shook my hand with such sincerity, as if to say I know – and I wish I had waited for you to get your act together. We prayed in the atiechamber that prayer corner, a humble place I have never entered before but have often remarked to myself on the feeling that it is the heart of this town’s spritiuallity. As I walked out with my daughter a man passed and pressed some coins into my hand. The connitation is a little different here… he didn’t think I was in dire need but he was aknowleging the child, that she has needs and it is a honour to participate in meeting them. I didn’t protest but was never the less embarrased and turned away to tie my shoe lace at that moment seeing a genuinly needy mountain woman shuffling past I pressed the coins into her hand and went to lunch in the cafe of a friend who has been upset with me about my difficulties in caring for my child – a mother who realy feels for my daughter. Instead of acting on the anger I felt when when my daughter ran to my friend and didn’t want to be with me pressed it down to hear what she said when she looked me in the eye and pleaded with me to ‘have so, so, so much patience’ and we were able to hug each other, heart to heart, for the first time in ages.

    Just then my daughter’s father turned up and I was able to welcome him to the park with us… my daughter took to the slide like a duck to water and sat on a bike while we took turns pushing her around and went on the swings alone for the first time in her life. When her dad got mad and acted out at her at her for monopoliseing the ball some other kids were kicking around I was able to keep my cool and let him know it was not acceptable in a way that didn’t make him feel un-manned.

    I gave my Avacado milkshake to the little girl with the big brown eyes and shy smile who had befriended my daughter and let her ride her bike and had mint tea instead – far better for the waist line! The cafe’s sterio played an instrumental version of Moon River and I watched everyone in the park moving as if the music was chorigraphing them and watched the feet of a little boy following my daughter’s lead and climbing up the slide with his hands on the guard rails. Thinking each of us would remember some aspect of this afternoon and how much of life’s value is in making of memories you will be happy to revist.

    On the walk home my daughter picked flowers and was happy and natural, relived, I sensed, that her folks were not arguing and pinging her around between them.

    And when we got inside the city, with out her having to ask I picked her up and carried her all the way home, but then I forgot to obey the natural law of the universe that says don’t force people to do hings they don’t want to do and insisted on sending her dad out for wet wipes when he wanted to change her with water in the bathroom but I wanted her to be able to stay laying down. All I needed to do was what I eventually did after he left; gently clean her with a cloth and warm water and soap – the kind ot thing that is always in my heart to do but I rarely find the patience and time for.

    After a rest I took her out to tea in the home of a family who live nearby – who I go to see rarely – even though I like them so much and their table is always wonderful. The best thing about their house is their grandma, she is ninty ish years old – isn’t it funny how the years become irrelivant after a certain age? She is the heart of the place, everyone else revolves arround and she lets me sit beside her and share her blanket and put my head on her shoulder and she puts her hand over mine and she is warm and still and there, always except when sitting on her door step or visiting the mosque. Meanwhile my daughter is so happy playing with a little boy who lives there I am able to strike up a conversation with a girl who is visiting her family from Holland who speaks English fluently and studdies economics and was able to make profoundly helpful suggestions about how to get a meeting, God willing, with the King of this country who I have been carged with contacting for permission to mint gold and silver coins in his name for the purpose of paying the Zagat, or charitible tax. This is the heart of my mission here and I have been feeling so down about my lack of success in oppening the problem – but now I have a perceptive new allie with powerful connections.

    Carrying my daughter home she spontiaously showerd me with kisses… and now she is dozing on my lap…

    … I opened my email to find I have my first guest for my listing on AIRBNB.

    and then I found your post the name of which ‘how can I like myself more’ brought tears of longing to my eyes and inside you describe perfectly the process I am living today.

    Was I perfect? No, I got things wrong but today was way better than yesterday….


  • Thanks Matt! This article, like many others you shared always strike me through. As to the saying “let bygones be bygones”, I would like to agree that let’s forget about the past and move on, a new dawn, a promising beginning is just around the corner…You are such an affirming gentleman Matt and I appreciate every single article by you. Good luck and more power!

    I know that I am always a part of my past, but with all humility I am surrendering all the broken pieces and pains and heartaches to God who is the source of all healing, grace and blessings.

    Thanks for your generosity,


  • I feel that you wrote this article just for me. I’m young and I am still learning things about myself. But I have things in my life that have been holding me back from reaching my full potential in dating/relationships, my career and letting people in. These tips, I believe, will better me as a person and challenge me to be bold. Shake it up, haha. Thank you.

  • Thank you Matt, Great topic and article as well! I completely agree and would add being positive and surrounding yourself with people who are positive and supportive, but it starts with YOU!!!

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