Low self-esteem is a big issue in today’s society, especially among women. Women are known for being insecure, you see it every time a woman asks “Does this make me look fat?” We are emotional creatures by nature, and we often rely on others to make us feel good. We turn to friends for support and reassurance, and often drive our partners mad with our constant need to pick ourselves apart.
Why do woman have such a negative view of themselves, and what can be done to change this negative thinking pattern? How do we battle this silent menace? and What is causing women to feel so low?
To define self-esteem is a very deep and thoughtful task; Self-esteem comes from the inside out. Self-esteem basically means; “you should not rely on another person to make you feel good about yourself, you should know that you are fine, even perfect, just the way you are”.Self-esteem is the ability to see yourself as the strong, sensual, sexy, smart woman you are, both inside and out. No matter your shape, size, color, or class level.
Take a long look in the mirror right now… What do you see?
What features do you like most about yourself physically? Emotionally?
What have you accomplished lately that makes you feel proud? What are your goals for the future?
Are you happy with the person you are, both physically and emotionally? Are you content with your life? Appearance?
Chances are at least one of these ‘simple‘ questions makes you feel uncomfortable. But Why?
Woman, for whatever reason, have historically been programmed to be hard on themselves, to find faults, and to down-play their accomplishments. It is put into our heads somewhere along the line that we should not be boastful, that we should not voice our pride in ourselves, and that we should only allow others to tell us when we can feel, and express, pride and confidence… This may sound outrageous to some of you.. and if it does than I am proud of you, because the truth is; a substantial number of women, of all shapes, sizes, races, and class levels, struggle with self-esteem issues on one level or another during their lifetime.
Often woman who express pride in themselves, or their accomplishments open are accused of being conceited. There is a big difference between confidence and conceit. Two very big differences that often get confused; Confidence is the ability to see your strengths and accomplishments, and the desire to want to share them with others. Confidence is pride in who you are, it is acceptance of yourself flaws, faults, and the whole package. Confidence only becomes conceit when the woman is not aware of the areas in which she still wishes to improve and grow, and she portrays herself as being perfect, Conceit is often a cover-up for low self-esteem, it is a defense mechanism for a deeper issue, and is often a person’s way of making themselves feel good, not superior.
Women come in all different shapes, we are different colors, we have different opinions, different dress sizes, and different lifestyles, but inside, each and every one of us is the same. The person staring back at you in the mirror should not be the soul of who you are…
I will tell you the story of Beth. Beth is a beautiful, intelligent, and successful woman. Beth has a great job, two wonderful children, and a loving husband. She drives a nice car, owns her dream house, and vacations twice a year as she desires. She has a wardrobe to die for, and the kind of life most women only dream of, but Beth is unhappy. Overcome by constant insecurity, Beth is about 30 lbs over her desired weight, she is constantly seeking reassurance that she is attractive from her husband, and even though he willing assures her on a regular basis that he loves her just the way she is, Beth suffers bouts of depression due to her dislike for herself and her negative thinking patterns. Beth can not see her accomplishments, she can not see her success, and she can not see her obvious beauty… Beth can not see past her dress size.
Then there is Ashley, a strong independent woman over forty, she is single by choice, and successful in her career. Ashley will tell you that she is happy with her life, she has no fear telling you that she is a good person, and she willingly shares details about her recent accomplishments, and her future goals. She admits that she has personal issues she needs to work on, but she feels she is a good person in general and is happy with her life overall. She will also tell you that she is single, not because something is wrong with her, but because she wants to find someone who ‘fits’ into her lifestyle, rather than trying to have her lifestyle ‘fit’ someone else. Ashley is also about 30 lbs over her desired weight.
How can two women who are both beautiful, brilliant, and successful have such different opinions of their lives, and themselves?
Where Beth sees failure, Ashley sees a challenge, she sees a goal, and she sees success. Ashley sees her weight for what it is, simply a part of herself. If you ask Ashley she will easily admit that she wishes to lose a few pounds, but she will also tell you that ‘as long as she is healthy and happy it is not much of a priority to her at the moment.’ Ashley has the confidence to know that, although she may be a bigger dress size than she hopes to be, image is not everything.
I would love to find the person that decided women in magazines should be a size 3 and slap them silly. This tiny, ridiculous fact alone has caused more pain then it ever should have. Women unrealistically feel compelled to live up to this “Barbie Media” standard that doesn’t exist, when the reality of life should be who you are inside, and how you feel about yourself, not what you look like, what size you wear,or how big your breasts are, and certainly not what some ‘airbrushed Barbie Doll‘ looks like in comparison!
Self-esteem is a core personality trait that is essential to our happiness and success as an individual. It is a major cause of depression in women, and the biggest obstacle that teen girls battle on a regular basis, and It’s no wonder with societies obsession with size and the media’s definition of beauty.
So how do we build self-esteem in a world that is constantly battling to break it down???
- Accept who you are faults, flaws, and facts – Accept right now that your body ‘is what it is’, forget the size 3 dress you fit into when you were 12, and stop starving yourself in the hopes of becoming Kate Moss. Be yourself, and love yourself, every flaw, sag, fat cell, stretch mark, and pimple…
- Get over what you have done wrong – Allowing yourself to make mistakes is the easiest way to learn, and grow. Accept that life may not be what you planned for yourself, and focus instead on what this has taught you. Take these mistakes and turn them into lessons for the future, and view the mistakes you will make in the same light… There will never be a time in life when you won’t screw up one way or another. Remember in life, “It is not that you fell in the first place that matters, it is how fast you got up to try again that counts”.
- Take control of your choices – The number one mistake we all make is blaming others for our unhappiness. If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it change the way your react to it. There are always choices in life, it is up to you to make the best ones for yourself. Forget for a minute what others will think, and focus on how you will feel, base your decisions on that alone, and aim for the option that will create the most happiness in your life. Remember, if you are happy with yourself, others will be happy with you as well, and it will be easier for you to help others find their happiness… but remember happiness is only something you can create for yourself, you can not produce it for someone else, nor can they provide it for you.When you are happy though it will show and reflect on others, a smile is like an infectious disease, contagious!
- See the silver lining – Every single situation has a positive point of view, it is up to you to find it. Instead of looking at something as terrible find three positives in it. No matter how bad a situation may seem you will always be able to find three reasons that it not all bad. Think first about the opportunity it presents, think about the growth it may allow, and think about the chances it may produce. Change and challenge can be difficult, and they sometimes involve pain, or even sadness. It is fine to address these emotions as they arise, but it is also important that you see the positive they represent as well. Positive thinking brings positive results, try it out, what have you got to lose?
- If all else fails, Fake it! – If worse comes to worse, and you find yourself wallowing in self-doubt, fake confidence for a little while. Often times faking confidence leads to actually feeling confident. When you make something a habit it becomes natural, so walk with your shoulders back and your head held high, even if you aren’t feeling it. Talk and act like a confident, self-assured, person and eventually you will start to believe you are. Just as negative thinking becomes a pattern we easily fall into, positive thinking can be just as simple to achieve.. all it takes is a little imagination, consistency, and a bit of time.
Everyone suffers from low self-esteem at one point or another, the key is to seek help when it’s needed, and resolve to accept yourself for who you are. Don’t worry about what others think of your image, or your actions, all that should matter is how you feel inside. Most importantly don’t try to be something you are not, we were each created differently for a reason, embrace your uniqueness and celebrate your differences, don’t aim to change those things you consider flaws, instead look at how they have made you who you are today. Be the best person you can be, and do what makes you happy. Remember that you are in control of your happiness, and it is but a mere choice away, no one but you can create it, or break it, so don’t rely on, or expect others, to do it for you, (they can’t and usually won’t) set out to achieve it on your own.
You are strong, smart, and beautiful…. You are perfect, just the way you are!
Until Next Time….