How Do You Learn to Feel Good About Yourself

How do you learn to feel good about yourself?

That’s a good question.  It fills a ton of websites with all kinds of “how tos” from the world of self-help to that of  psychology and psychiatry to personal development  and there are a host of books on Amazon – it seems that it’s an issue for a lot of people.  I had no idea it was such a common problem.

Sometimes though, lessons come in the strangest “packages” and at the oddest moments.

Last night, the movie Forrest Gump was on.  I’d watched it a couple of times before because it’s just one of those movies that’s a little “old fashioned” – it has a happy ending.

As I watching Forrest Gump, it finally dawned on me that this movie was actually a lesson in “how to feel good about oneself”. In fact, it was probably the best way for people to really understand what feeling good about yourself is all about – what it looks like, feels like and is .

Forrest Gump (Two-Disc Special Collector’s Edition)

Here’s a man who, despite people’s opinion of him accomplishes what most of us would consider a highly successful life in all ways. This man who is ridiculed or approached in not such kind ways, navigates his way through life expressing himself and his character in a fashion which would make any mother proud.

He is – loving — loyal —- faithful —-  dependable —- motivational —- kind —  generous —- determined —- hardworking —- honest and, by any definition, an exemplary son, friend, soldier, businessman, husband and father —–  yet, he is according to him, “not a smart man”!

He is, however, very, very special – he knows his limitations, society’s view of his disability and . . . yet . . . he feels good about who he is! It is a lesson to all of us to feel good about ourselves no matter what other people think or how they react to us.  Who we are is enough and being true to ourselves is the most important lesson we need to learn. He ran back into the jungle several times to try to save his friend – he saved as many as he could and finally found his friend.  It was obvious that Baba was going to die because of his injuries but Forrest picked him up and took him out of the jungle despite artillery blasting around him the whole time.  He was told to stop.  He didn’t.  His loyalty to his friend was what he lived at that moment.

He has few friends and few supporters.  He never gives up on people and has an innate understanding of people – Jenny, the party girl for whom he cares about his whole life, his captain who is furious about losing his legs.   Forrest is always there to love and care for Jenny when she needs it – not to judge.  His captain whom he rescued is given a whole new lease on life.  They come to him because they know how accepting he is of who they are, not what they have done or said or what parts are missing.  He inspires and motivates others to be the best of who they are – including those who join him on his treks across the US.

I encourage you – if you are one of those people who doesn’t feel so good about yourself – to get this movie – to really, really watch it intently and to put yourself in Forrest Gump’s shoes – walk in his shoes in your imagination – try to feel what he must feel – feel what it must be like to be Forrest Gump.  If you do, you’ll begin to understand what it means to feel good about yourself no matter what. This man did the best he could with what he had – and what a life!

Feel it – feel good about yourself.  There will be another understanding which comes across –  everyone on earth is valuable – there couldn’t be a “star” if there was no one to applaud!  There is no one on earth who is “ordinary” – we are all extraordinary and that’s the truth.

I hope you will take the time to get a copy of this movie or watch it on tv – it’s on quite often – and watch it the way you have probably have never watched it before – not as a good movie by an excellent cast but as a life lesson.

For all people who are not feeling good about themselves, this is a way to understand what that looks like, how it feels and how to “process the world” with all its ups and downs.  The most important conviction we can nurture for ourselves – feeling good about oneself no matter the slings and arrows thrown our way – I can’t but think how Jenny’s life would have been so different had she been more like Forrest.

Lorraine Arams
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