Be your own role model
There are a lot of people in the world that I look up to. My parents have been a huge motivating force in my life, and their own accomplishments are ones that I admire. My sisters both are ambitious and successful young women, and so many of my friends in my life are doing great things. It's important to have people in your life who you look up to and who inspire you to do great things in turn. The other side of that, however, is making upwards comparisons that cause you to feel negatively about yourself, and that can be the poison that feeds low self-esteem.
One of my favourite writers is Janne Robinson. I have been following her work for the past few years after discovering her article "Why I give a damn about #yesallwomen" on Elephant Journal (an online publication for living the mindful life). In another article she wrote, she had this amazing quote that has stuck with me for years (paraphrased):
Take the qualities that you admire in a partner, and embody them for yourself.
Over the years, I tended to put the men I was dating on a pedestal that towered over me. The things about them that made me fall for them soon became things that, I believed, made them better than me. I was envious, in particular, of their unwavering confidence. It's safe to say that nobody (nobody) has unwavering confidence -- but I was envious of what they put out into the world, how they chose to show up in it, and how they used confidence as fuel to achieve the things they wanted to.
That quote stopped me in my tracks. I thought about all the qualities in the men I'd dated that I'd admired, and thought about how cool it would be if I chose to embody those same qualities so that I admired myself a whole lot more. This wasn't the kind of revelation that happened over night. I read this quote about three years ago now and I'm still on that journey to make my life one that I can be proud of.
There is no pedestal, in this life, for us to stand on. We're all runners on that track and we all finish, one way or another. I'm starting to realize what matters is how you show up to that run, the kind of attitude and heart you bring, and the perspective you maintain no matter what place you finish.