The Day You’ll Start To Like Yourself

Yes, to like. Not to love, we don’t go there. At least not in this post. This post is not going to be heavy, profound and “really touching” stuff. This is going to be light stuff. Easy going. You know, when you just like somebody and want to hang out. Have a beer, chit chat, grab something to eat and watch the world unfolding in front of you, enjoyable second after enjoyable second.

I bet you don’t really like yourself. Maybe you like the whole package, but there are a few bits and pieces that could be corrected. Perhaps you could lose some weight. Maybe you could be a little more patient when you argue. Or maybe you could make some more money if you’d really start to use your full potential. Overall you’re good, don’t get me wrong. 🙂 But you know, those bits and pieces…

The Subtle Disliking Process

Those bits and pieces are taking a lot more space and time than you think. Every time you’re stumbling upon some aspect of your being you don’t like, something happens. A subtle, most of the time invisible process is triggered. Unfortunately, as subtle as it can be, this process is also destructive and leaves deep marks.

Here’s how it works:

First: you identify the part that you don’t like. You do that by spotting differences. You carry around a mental model of what’s “average” or “acceptable” and whatever part of you which doesn’t fit the description is immediately identified, labeled and stored for further review.

Second: you start to feel bad about that part. Being different means most of the time being rejected. Surprisingly enough, this rejection feeling is not always triggered by somebody else, but, more often than you think, it’s an individual reaction. People are feeling alienated because they don’t fit in their own image of “acceptable”, although they may be accepted and valued by their peers.

Third: you activate some sort of rejection mechanism. This mechanism works in various ways. For instance, you start to completely ignore that different part of yourself, acting like you’re normal (although you know you’re different), which makes that difference even more visible. Or you amplify it to the point it takes over your entire behavior and becomes your main acting theme. The small part takes over the big part.

Let’s have an example: suppose you’re fat. Yeap, exactly, fat. Not chubby, not a little overweighted, fat. Your internal dislike process could be something like this:

1 Oh, I’m so fat, I’m bigger than most of the people I know.
2 I’m definitely different and that makes me feel alienated.
3 I gotta get rid of these alienation feelings, so I’m pretending I’m normal. I wear tight tee shirts, or I start acting like an elephant in a porcelain store, letting everyone know that I’m huge.

You see how this disliking process is taking over? You see how those perceived differences are changing the whole world around you? The dislike process is a reality modifier. It transforms the reality you know and understand in a twisted one, in which you try to cope with your own feelings of rejection.

Disliking yourself will ultimately extend unto others. You’ll start to gradually dislike other people because you became really good at the whole disliking process. You’re good at spotting differences and “unacceptable” parts in other people and start triggering the rejection mechanisms for those people too.

Now isn’t that an incredible waste of time? I mean really, you see how much energy is concentrated in this dislike process? And the worst part is that the dislike process is unnatural.

The Natural Liking Process

On the other hand, liking yourself is natural. Accepting your parts as a whole is your normal condition. You’re not made up by discrete pieces, conflicting with each other. You’re a complete and functional individual. Everything you have, you have it for a reason. Just because you didn’t find the reason yet, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. You can refine and enhance your current version of yourself, that’s true, but overall, everything you have within your being, your physical body, your emotional arsenal, your skills, everything is there for a reason.

Disliking parts of yourself will only break apart this monolithic entity, making you smaller and weaker, piece by piece. Liking yourself will glue the parts together,.

Here’s how “dislike” is translated into “like”:

I’m fat -> I’m taking the exact amount of space my body needs and I like that.

I’m shy -> I’m sensitive and have an enormous emotional potential, which I let out in small drops, because small is beautiful, and I really like beautiful.

I’m broke -> I don’t have any money and that gives me this incredible opportunity to start learning one of the most important lessons in my life: how to be an autonomous person.

I’m alone -> I feel better with myself than most of the people do. And I like that.

See a pattern here? See how liking yourself is making room for more stuff into your life? See how your entire personality is uncovered (like by like) and gives you the freedom to do whatever you feel like? Liking yourself is a reality enhancer. It activates every bit of your potential and boosts your life enjoying capacity way beyond what you thought you can have.

Liking yourself has also this contagious property of extending unto others. Have you noticed how people who are at ease with themselves are usually surrounded by more people than the others? It’s a trivial observation, by the way, anyone can see this.

The Day You’ll Start To Like Yourself

You wake up. Go the bathroom and look in the mirror. You like what you see. That face looks familiar, right? You smile at yourself. Oh, you notice a little wrinkle around your eyes. Instead of triggering that nasty, and oh, so familiar feeling of: “I’m getting old and I feel alienated” you realize those wrinkles are rather sexy. A mature, powerful man. Yeah, I kinda like that.

After you finish washing your face, you notice the mess in the living room or the kitchen. Maybe you had guests last night and didn’t want to clean up. Instead of activating that childhood conditioning about your pathological laziness, you start to mentally construct a walking path around that mess. Two degrees left after the table and a big step over the couch, and voila, you’re in the kitchen, starting to prepare coffee. In the process, you straighten up a chair, pick up some dirty dishes and improvise a salsa move. Oh yesss, dancing and cleaning up the kitchen at the same time. I kinda like this too.

Few minutes later, on the porch of your house, you notice you’re going to be late for work. Instead of triggering that guilt mechanism, you start to mentally allocate some extra time that you know you’ll need to actually finish your work and start concocting a beautiful story for your boss. Oh, those stories for your boos… He actually believes them. Maybe you should start thinking about writing those stories on a blog, or sending them to a fantasy magazine. No, you’re not a liar, as some of your colleagues are calling you, you just have an incredible imagination.

Once you have the story draft in your mind, you put  a big a smile on your face (that wrinkle is surely looking sexy), leave the garbage in the garbage can and breathe in.

Yes, this is going to be a really great day. The day you’ll really start to like yourself.

Chinese translation of this article: 那天你开始喜欢自己



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I’m blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You’re invited, by the way.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. A great post. I can relate to the liking process and that sudden realisation of the change is so powerful when you first realise tht you like yourself or that you don’t like yourself. Going through that transaction is quite amazing. And after and when you do like who you are you feel incredible 🙂 Thanks for posting

    1. I can surely relate to the transaction as well. Some of us are even call this transaction “epiphany” 🙂

  2. Dragos, that was fantastic. It came at a right time for me. I feel like I need to turn those things about me that I dislike into things that I do like, like you say, because it’s natural. It’s natural to be whole, we are not fragmented people. We are not parts, we are whole. This cannot happen when we decide to declare war on a part of ourselves and either cut it off or play it up in order to avoid the anxiety of rejection or rejection itself. It’s harsh, but you gotta stop someday. Now’s my day.
    Thank you.

  3. Dragos, Dragos! This was brilliant. How did you do this? And HOW did you know that is exactly the conversation (the dislike) in my mind? I can’t understand it. I am the envy of most of my friends and family and live a fantastic life and I still manage to run those dialogues like there is no tomorrow. Only my husband knows I have them and until today only he could address them and move me to positive thinking but now with this article, I seriously need to change the way I think. THANK YOU! You made my Friday!

  4. Great post. As someone who does this in a way, I have questions. I am an avid seeker of self-improvement and by critiquing some of these little things and fixing them I feel like I’m leading a better life overall.

    For instance, your test case of an over-weight person, “I’m taking the exact amount of space my body needs and I like that.”

    Your way of turning things for the better is nice and definitely better for mental health, but the problem of the person being over-weight is still there. Assuming a person wants to live a healthy life the “guilt” would help motivate them to become more health conscience.

    I don’t really see it as guilt though. I kind of see it more as critiquing for better self-development. How can we use your method, yet still motivate ourselves to become the people we want to be?

      1. Thanks for responding! This post has got me thinking. I am new to your blog and hadn’t read that post before, intriguing thoughts.

        I have a mental image of myself and I’m always searching for better methods of self-improvement. There isn’t anything wrong with me, and I like myself. I just enjoy always hedging one step closer to where I want to be as person. It’s mostly things such as more patience and understanding, or work-ethic.

        I want to say I use guilt, because if I don’t meet said goal I do get a bit of guilty feelings. However, I attempt a balancing act by letting go of the guilt, but make judgments based on said outcome to create a plan to attack why I didn’t achieve my goal. Your post talks about other metrics to follow.

        What metrics do you follow for motivation?

  5. Hey Dragos, you sure handled this whole topic in a light and easy to swallow way. I really appreciate your sensitive yet direct approach. That’s a real talent my friend. This would make a good podcast. I could actually hear the expression in your voice while reading as you walked us down the path from dislike to like. Excellent.
    .-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s last blog ..Designing a Personal Transformation =-.

    1. Hey, Jonathan, thanks for the, hint, to be honest I didn’t think about it. And happy you liked it 🙂

  6. Dragos. Good damn job! I’m not going to lie. This morning I’ve been reading a lot, so I quickly scanned through your page, some words popped out at me. So I slowed down, it got much more interesting. And I slowed down some more.

    In short, I LOVE the style this post was written in, and I learned a thing or two. Keep it up buddy!

    –Parker
    .-= Parker Lee´s last blog ..Three Phrases Preventing you from Happiness—Which Phrase Do You Use? =-.

    1. Welcome around, pal. Happy to have you as a reader and glad I made you slow down. Slowing down every once in a while is good 🙂

  7. Hi!
    This is so good and true for every human being. I love the way you ended it and the reason that it’s so important to like yourself everyday is because just when you think you do the ego will move the line and show you some other unattractive part! You rock!

    1. That’s a continuous and stupid fight, between that ego you talk about and our real structure. And yes, doing this every day will weaken the ego. Thanks for the nice words, Tess 🙂

  8. That was a great post! So many people think that they feel bad about themselves because something is wrong with them. It’s not true! People don’t realize how important what goes on in your mind is.

    We don’t have as much control of our minds as we think, and we need to realize this and take steps to steer ourselves in the right direction, if that makes sense 🙂
    .-= Marek´s last blog ..The Top 5 Outrageous Ways to Get More Twitter Followers =-.

  9. There’s nothing wrong with nobody :-), but the mind is tricking us far more often than we’d want to accept 🙂

  10. It’s another reminder that ruminating and dwelling is a downward spiral, while positive action from a positive mindset helps you get your best results.

    One mantra that always helped me is to think of perfection as a path, and enjoy the path along the way … iterating on versions. I think the best metaphor though is to “age like wine” and get better with age.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..Lessons Learned from Mom =-.

  11. […] Auzi, tu te placi pe tine? Stii ca mai toate sfaturile se indreapta spre zona asta si anume, sa ajungi sa te placi, sa te iubesti pe tine insuti ca sa te armonizezi cu cei din jur si pentru ca si acesta sa te poata iubii la randul lor? Dragos Roua zice ca in ziua in care vei incepe sa te placi… […]

  12. I don’t really mind the fact that I am shy and introverted. As long as I have at least one or two friends whom I feel really close to, I wouldn’t feel so paranoid and down all the time. I start to feel disconnected from everything, especially when I isolate myself for too long. Although I have a lot of time to study and keep my grades up, I’d at least like to have deeper conversations with people to just relieve some of the stress. I don’t feel the need to have a ton of friends, but at least a couple of good solid ones would be nice.

    1. okay..this is exactly how i am and people have come to term me as someone who doesn’t like to be around people, thing is, not many people are like me, and i enjoy being with me. Though i have few friends. I’m the kind of person that don’t see the need to have a thousand friends on face book that you know next to nothing about, just because you want to be termed as popular. I’d like to make long lasting with anyone just like me.

  13. Thanks a lot…

    I’ve had a very low self estheem all my life, and I never thought it was a real problem, but after my boyfriend broke up with me I realized I’m now stuck with a person I really hate and I can’t be bothered to look for aproval anywhere else… I started trying to hate myself a little less, but all advice blogs I’ve seen are very religious orientated so I felt despair that if I didn’t believe I was special for being born or being the creation of some god I wasn’t worth anything… but your advice is written to change my way of focusing on stuff…

    Really, thanks a lot

  14. Thanks Dragos for this amazing piece. I dislike the fact that i’m skinny and small in stature, something i know most girls would die for but I’d like to add fat in a few places. My mom says it’s hereditary, apart from that i think I’m fabulous, but this one thing i don’t like keep preventing me from being everything i can be, i always have this self conscious feeling and it prevents me from being at ease with myself or even being articulate, so i present myself as this shy, nervous, self conscious that’s really amazing at what she does if she puts her mind to it. I hate this and badly want to change.

  15. I believe loving yourself is the most important thing. You need to always remember that in order to improve and better yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is 2 + 3 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)