“Aren’t you something to admire” –Justin Timberlake, Mirrors
“Siri, define self-esteem”.
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, “self-esteem” is defined as “the degree to which the qualities and characteristics contained in one’s self-concept are perceived to be positive. It reflects a person’s physical self-image, view of his or her accomplishments and capabilities, and values and perceived success in living up to them, as well as the ways in which others view and respond to that person.”
Quick Question: How do you see yourself?
Over the past few years I’ve been learning to take pride in my appearance with poise along with believing in myself on the road of becoming, well, me. I’ve had my doubts, talked down to myself, and had moments where I just couldn’t believe I’d be accepted into what society deems acceptable. We’ve been born in an era where we’ve been made to compete against one another whether it’d be in our appearance, goals, accomplishments, or so many other things. I’ve tried to fit in, however time has taught me that in attempting to be like others, you sort of lose yourself because you’re continuously being blinded by this superficial identity and lifestyle.
Comparing myself to others greatly contributed to my low self-esteem. It seemed as if every other girl had it all together. They could wear certain things, act a certain way, and have the pretty face. That was my mindset for a long period of time. I wasn’t happy or confident with myself even though that wasn’t what I portrayed on the outside. I pretended so much and hid what I felt deep down inside, not realizing this wasn’t healthy. Because I wasn’t content with my appearance because I wasn’t content with myself.
When I look back, I try to blame how I felt on my school environment, but the people at the school had nothing to do with it. It was an internal issue. Yet, time has its way of working in your favor. My family and I moved to a different district and that’s where my transformation truly began. I thought of it as a new beginning because I wasn’t proud of who I became however, I know that in all that has transpired I was meant to be where I am now. As a spiritual person, I thank God for the way He orchestrates all things in my life. I wouldn’t be who I am today without a particular series of events.
Steps I Took to Build My Self-Esteem
First and foremost, I didn’t go through this process of gaining confidence and loving myself on my own. It took a lot of motivation and help from my mother along with me leaning towards my faith for encouragement and empowerment. It’s been a long road of change, self-reflection, denial, and more, but in the end I would do it all over again because it helped make me the person I am today!.
-Write Down ALL of the Things You Don’t like About Yourself
I had to write a list of all the things I didn’t like about myself and to counteract the negatives, my family and friends would write down true positives such as things they liked/admired about me or what I was good at doing. This activity helped me realize that how others saw me was the complete opposite of how I saw myself.
-Speak Kindly To Yourself
The way you speak to yourself matters. Every morning I had to say out loud three positive things to myself beginning with the “I am…” statement. For example, “I am BEAUTIFUL! I am WORTHY! I am LOVED!”
-Speak Kindly To Others
It’s never okay to discourage someone else. That’s why I started telling my classmates whether I see them in the hallways at school or text them that “You’re LOVED!” or “Hey girl! You look cute!” Saying these, of course, has to come from your heart with good intention. When/if you do this I hope it brings joy to you as well!
And if you don’t feel comfortable saying these things specifically, sometimes just saying “Hi” lets one know that you see them, that they’re not invisible.
-If You’re a Spiritual Person, Try Leaning on your Faith
If you’re a spiritual person, try leaning on your faith. For me, my faith has helped me a lot when it comes to my self esteem, because I believe that God made me in His image and loves me. If you’re not a spiritual person, that’s totally okay!
You may wonder why I mention the phrase “denying yourself” and this is because over the years I’ve learned I have no right nor am I in a place to judge others. Most of the time I didn’t know one’s story, yet I judged with a sense of superiority. However, as I continue to grow in this area, I know that I’m no greater than those around me. This change in mindset has truly been the foundation that needed. No matter what I may think, everyone has different circumstances and their own story and struggles they’re trying to live with. And I’m not exempt from that.
-Be Transparent with Others
I’m nowhere near perfect, but I do know that being transparent with others has truly helped me grow as a compassionate and caring person. My mother has helped me tear down my walls of pride, which has allowed me to become better at transparency with others. How can I help others if I can’t help myself?
Trying to fit in is a tale I know I share with most, but it’s different when you willingly expose yourself and become vulnerable. When you keep so much negativity inside, it can start to affect your mental health.
We have to start changing the narrative but of course, it all starts within. So ask yourself…AM I WORTHY? The answer to that is yes! Yes, you are worthy! You are loved, and you are strong!