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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?”

  • Really inspiring!!! and i need to send this to a friend, who needs so badly this wonderful! perspective and advice…!
    Matty, you have the “power” to make my day brighter, every time! :) kiss*

  • I also find it helps to pretend that I’m already the person I want to be and ask myself what I would be doing in that moment if it were true. And most importantly, how would I feel. And that’s what I do. I allow myself to feel that joy and that excitement and it motivates me to get out there and do it for real. Now, I’m not always right on how I’d feel about it but that just means I’ve learned something new that can direct me to the best path for me.

    1. This is brilliant Kira….And a wise, wise tactic to propel yourself to the woman you want to be faster than you can imagine. Smart woman. Keep it up.

  • Matthew, again and again “Oh how you inspire and motivate me.” Not only for myself, but to eagerly and graciousely share with others. I look forward to your inspirations daily.

  • I’ve been following you for a little while now. This article in particular comes at a good time for me, I met someone whom I really liked. I allowed my past, my insecurities destroy it. It’s depressing, but as you said, a learning experience. At least now I know I can indeed find a guy I like in the world.

  • Amazing! As always, thanks Matthew! Just great, sound, positive advice! We can’t change the past–events that have occurred and things we have done are complete and written in stone! However, we do not have to let those events dictate how we coose to live our present or future. The greatest revenge we can have against things that we may not be proud of from our past is to make changes and learn from mistakes and take those baby steps into a new present day and a greater tomorrow! We are here to learn and the more we learn and gain insight from the past, the more we can progress to the person we really want to be. I love your statement that if we change and do something we can like about ourselves even for a short time at first, we then are drawn to that person that we are and want to be around that person more. We in turn then will want to act that way more and more and the cycle continues! Thanks again Matthew! You brighten my days!

  • is there any way two things can be done, for all of us?
    first: place a superscription on your videos, i try to watch then on my breaks at work so cant really listen to it
    and would help a lot us women how dont have English as a native language

    second and important: “how not to spoil something, that had hardly started, with a nice guy”, how not to loose a guy before you even meet him well… hahahah will you pleaaaace do it i need it and i am sure lots of us do to.
    afraid of doing to much or to little
    afraid of loosing control or loosing myself at risk of getting hurt or even hurting (how knows)…

    thank you very much …

    Elise !Love Your Work!

  • Hi matt….how do I build myself being confident and loving myself again after been emotionally physically mentally beating for 20years and my husband walls away and moves on like he was the victim….now I’m seeing someone but just hooking up once in a blue moon…he doesn’t call and I don’t want to chase but I feel like an idiot he doesn’t want to commit but I really like h but he series pushes the wrong buttons and triggers my insecuritys…I think I’ve pushed h away and my heart just everyday I don’t mo how to be with a guy they just walk of my life

  • Thank you.
    This helped after having what I now consider an insignificant first argument with my boyfriend. Everything was worked out but there was a part of me thinking I wasn’t “punishing myself” enough to move on.

    Now I know it’s enough to admit the mistake, ask for forgiveness and be the great woman he is in love with.

    I used many many of your techniques and advice and have found what most would consider a “catch” when it comes to men. Thank you a million times.


  • Matt…

    This is the single best thing I’ve read from your blogs and emails thus far. Wow. “Prove to yourself…”, “Let yourself out of jail”, “If only for 10 minutes”. Those are powerful words.

    It may sound overplayed to you by this point, but what you are instilling in the lives of women is not just a pathway to a paycheck, but it’s your true gift….possibly even your calling.

    Thank you.

  • Thanks for this its the truth of being in a low place makes you all the more negative leading to spiraling depression and self loathing. knowing that you have value is worthless when you don’t feel it. This is the most sensible thing I’ve read about building self esteem, slowly proving yourself to be of value rather than wishing it to be so.

  • Hi Matt,
    Ive been following you since i first saw you on todays show, and at first ive been addicted to your videos even though im engaged, but i still love listening to what you have to say becuase every time i get something positive and useful, so thank you so much for doing all the wonderful things you do!
    Best eishes to you,

  • Hi Matt,

    You are truly a wise gem! This is really beautiful and very timely as I recently had a big crash and burn trying new things – new to dating. I am so grateful for all you do, I’m watching and absorbing like a sponge. I have purchased several of your programs and I’m finding them so invaluable. I can’t imagine doing this without the training you provide.
    Much love & bless you

  • Hii Matt,

    I have read most of your what you have wrote on your site and had followed all the u tube videos that you have posted but I think this is one of your best advices..You are such a positive person…

  • Thank you Matt, great advice. I always feel so much more inertia and energy towards my goals after watching your videos

  • God Matthew I have just deactivated my fb account :D And now I want to activate it just to share this amazing Article.

    Maybe coz u were not saying this like : Hey you are incredible .. whatever you did we have been there .. we need to learn to forgive ourselves.

    You are right its all about BUILDING ourselves. Thank you <3
    Have a nice day dear.

  • my gosh you make me cry, you open my mind for all the words in that article, amazing matt your the best!!! thank you :)

  • I feel surprised that I never came across this article before today. Thank you,Matt. I needed this great read :-)

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