3 Things You Should Forget if You Want To Grow Your Self-Esteem

Let these things go so you can grow.

Leah Njoki
Jan 19 · 5 min read

At 86, my father-in-law has great self-esteem. I visited him after the lockdown restrictions were lifted and he was still the same jovial and upbeat guy he’s always been, despite being locked up in an aged care facility for the last two years. I mistakenly thought he’d be depressed because for nine months during the lockdown, he didn’t see family. Not even his wife.

Curious, I asked how he stays so resilient, upbeat, and positive all the time.

After swallowing the bite of his vegemite toast, he responded, “Well, young lady…I learned a long time ago that as a barrister, I needed to cultivate good self-esteem if I was to represent my clients successfully.”

“Ah..so you did affirmations and all… wait… were those hyped up in your time too?” I asked cheekily.

“Ha! young lady, I’ve got no idea what those are. Actually, there’s too much I don’t understand about your generation, it’s waaay too complicated. But I’ll let you in on a secret that’ll improve your self-esteem dramatically. Ready?”


“Forget everything that weighs you down. Simple.”

Not one to take someone’s opinion as the gospel truth, I went online to validate Adrian’s claims. It turns out he was right. Forgetting is not only beneficial to your brain, but it can also build your self-esteem.

If you’d like to grow your self-esteem like Adrian, to a point where at 80, you feel fantastic about yourself and step into each day with zeal, you might want to start forgetting certain things. Here’s where you can begin.

1. Decisions that Made You Settle for Less Than You Deserve

Wrong decisions can entangle you in a loop of regret. Psychologists say this trend can harm your body by arousing your nervous system, triggering inflammation, headaches, and tummy aches. Clinging to the past doesn’t just make you feel worse; it creates mental blocks that keep your mind from thinking and making better choices in the future.

In college, I signed up for editing classes to maximize my chances of securing a job even though my heart wasn’t in it. For years, it became an itch I couldn’t scratch. I’d often wonder, What if I’d enrolled in communications as I’d always dreamed of?

One day, I chose to forget this and focus on what I could still control. A few years later, I worked a job that brought me great happiness, fulfillment, and lots of fun times. But it all happened because I chose to forget the wrong decision I’d made earlier.

One important thing you must do before forgetting the wrong decisions is to extract the lesson in each one. Then, use it as a tool to become wiser and to make great choices in the future. The smarter you are, the healthier your self-esteem grows, and the further ahead your life moves.

2. The Thought that You’re Not “Enough”

The main reason some people succeed and others don’t — even with the right attitude and good education — boils down to ambition. Ambitious folks have clear and concise plans of where they want to go. They accumulate knowledge and focus on the qualities that prepare them for opportunities.

They choose to forget their flaws and shortcomings and focus on working on their personality instead. By doing this, their self-esteem grows. If you, too, want your highest desires to come to fruition, you’ve got to stop disqualifying yourself by thinking that you’re not talented enough, smart enough, or pretty enough.

Self-deprecation not only distorts your self-image but also keeps you stuck by undermining your own authority. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist, advises reversing this by doing the following:

“When these thoughts intrude upon you, start combating them by looking at the good that you have done in your life. Looking back, you may actually find one or two things that you’ve been great at. Those moments of achievement are important milestones on the journey to liking who you are.”

When you concentrate on your good aspects, you start to rewrite your inner narrative, improve your self-image, and see yourself in a new light.

3. The Times You Gave Your Power Away

To keep the peace, be more likable, or avoid rocking the boat in relationships, many of us give our power away. What does this mean? Giving your power away is allowing someone else to control you or decide how you ought to live your life. Most of which never works out for your good anyway.

And yet, this happens in marriages, friendships, work environments, and even among siblings. To give you an idea, here are ways you give away your power:

  • When you allow negative comments to take root and shape how you see yourself.
  • When you hold onto beliefs not rooted in reality, and allow them to influence your direction in life.
  • When you gauge the validity of your needs based on the opinions of others.
  • When you silence your voice because you don’t feel worthy of being heard.

The list is endless. The point is that this affects you in a big way by making you feel inferior and unworthy, and your self-esteem suffers significantly. This then begs the question; How do you free yourself from the shackles? Simple. By choosing to forget.

Studies show that forgetting the past and concentrating on the present is one way to build your self-esteem. It helps you let go of past humiliations and gives you the freedom and power to choose your way and what you want. This way, you can move on with pride and create your life’s plot with confidence.

As I left Adrian’s room that day, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’ll feel as good at 80 as he does. A wise man once said we should learn from those who’ve walked the path before us if we want to turn out like them. Fortunately, you and I can learn from Adrian.

His lesson of the day being: to grow your self-esteem, become a master at forgetting. Today, choose to forget all the negativity, bad decisions, and imperfections keeping you stuck. Doing this will re-write your inner narrative and transform your life significantly. Choose one thing to forget today.

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Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Leah Njoki

Written by

Dreamer&Fitness Enthusiast | Writer on Love, Relationships & Self-Improvement| Featured on The Good Men Project, Thought Catalog, Ladders|Blog: ownyourspark.com

Mind Cafe

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Leah Njoki

Written by

Dreamer&Fitness Enthusiast | Writer on Love, Relationships & Self-Improvement| Featured on The Good Men Project, Thought Catalog, Ladders|Blog: ownyourspark.com

Mind Cafe

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

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