We’ve all been there; that place in the back of our minds we keep hidden from everyone that tells us we’re “too fat” or “too tall” or “too short”, “too loud”, or even “too quiet”. Most of the time it tells us that we’re not good enough and we need to try harder. It wears us down, stresses us out, and burns us out like a dwindling fire in the rain; and we’re left asking ourselves “What is self esteem?”.
The negative mind
Any shred of self-esteem we thought we had we sometimes lose in an instant, and for some of us, these negative thoughts occupy most of our thoughts and infects our daily activities. It holds onto us like chains in a jail we never thought we’d be in; keeps us indoors, and sometimes prevents us from spending time with new people, or doing new things like exploring and having fun. It prevents us from asking that girl out because we think “She’ll never go for me”. Or it stops us from wearing that cute dress that’s been sitting in the closet since forever, because we think “I’m not skinny enough yet”.
It’s like we were wrongly accused for a crime and are serving a sentence we don’t deserve. The worst part, is that we blame ourselves for this feeling: this feeling of being trapped in negative circular thoughts that never seem to go anywhere. We tell ourselves that this is who we are, and we feel upset, and even sometimes depressed. We wish we were different, but we don’t know how to change that.
Asking for help
If you’re brave enough to ask for help, because I know some of us out there are too proud to ask; some people tell you that you have low self-esteem, and you should work on it. Easier said than done right? Now I know I sometimes wish I had a ‘self-esteem’ pill I could take. Wouldn’t that be nice! Unfortunately, as you may know, it’s not that easy. You’ve heard the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Well ain’t that the truth! Good things take time!
Starting with you
That pathway to a better you must start with, well YOU. Although it can be tough, and sometimes frustrating, you need to do that hard work to build yourself up and make yourself a better and truer you. I know that negative voice in your head isn’t you!
To make sure we’re on the same page lets all think about ‘what is self esteem?’. I want you to take a moment and imagine yourself as someone you would consider with high self-esteem. What does this look like to you?
Is it walking into a room and having everyone’s eyes on you? Landing that new job? Waking up with perfect hair? Never feeling down about yourself? Always having a positive outlook on your life?
Merriam Webster defines it simply as “self-respect”, or “confidence and satisfaction in ones self”. Well that’s great! Let me just work on my “self-respect”, right? Personally, that definition doesn’t exactly do it for me. Even though something can be defined, words within that definition can have so many different meanings for so many different readers.
What does “self-esteem” mean to you?
In my opinion, the pathway to a higher self-esteem starts with “self love”.
Now, take a moment to find your own word on what self-esteem in your life would look like (or copy mine if you’d like). Write down how this will make you feel if you have it, and why you want more of it in your life.
If you’d like, post your own definition of what self-esteem means to you. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Next time we’ll go over just how you’ll tackle those negative thoughts, and accomplish being your true self.