Improving your self-esteem can make a lot of difference in your life: Feel better about yourself and your take on many things becomes more positive. But where does self-esteem come from and how do you get more of it? Some answers.
Self-Esteem Is A Fickle Partner
When we lack it, it seems impossible to gain. When we have enough of it, we usually don’t spare it a thought and take it for granted. But during our lives most of us will sooner or later go through some encounters with self-esteem. To my personal observation it’s more women who struggle with the issue of low self-esteem, although men of course have problems there, too. Maybe women are just more vocal about it.
In that regard, and funnily enough, another observation I made is that it’s often beautiful women, who seem perfect to everyone else, that have problems with a lack of self-esteem. Maybe instead of enjoying their lives they are obsessing about their physical imperfections, trying to achieve that perfect look.
The other day I saw a woman on TV who is probably few years older than me, and had 50 something surgeries. She still wasn’t happy with the way she looked, because her goal was to look like a Barbie doll. I must have missed the point at which Barbie became a model for physical perfection or at least why she chose it. But it didn’t take me long to figure out.
The Big Factors Of Self-Esteem
In order to understand why so many people are struggling with self-esteem issues we have to understand what is causing you to have these issues in the first place. Once you dig deep into the root of the problem, you can start rebuilding your self-worth and hopefully begin to understand how special and unique you and we all are, different from each other, very unique and beautiful.
At the basis of self-esteem is our self-image and there are two big factors that play a huge role in how we come up with it:
- Our childhoods are where our basic belief systems are created. These beliefs about how the world works may be right or wrong, but as children we take them at face value. It takes a good bit of growing up to recognize that there are different beliefs. As children we are like sponges, have no alternatives and absorb everything. If we grow up in a loving and caring home, it usually doesn’t creat any problems. But if it’s a violent environment, we come up with a set of rules that can later cause us and others a lot of grief.
- The media these days dictates us a lot of our concepts about the world and ourselves. Before there was radio, television or the internet we only had our immediate family and community to make sense of things. Of course we can use media sources to educate ourselves in a positive way, but more often than not they paint a picture of the world that is removed from reality – without media, the fashion industry would have a hard time dictating young girls an aloof definition of “attractivity” (and turn them into Barbie).
Especially the influence of media for me is an extremely sore subject to talk about. It wasn’t until I separated myself as far away from their messages as I could that I began to see things crystal clear and could free me from following rules that made me unhappy. You may notice these things, too, if you closely watch closely watch what programs, commercials and pictures our media is filled with.
There already lies the positive side in all this: it is in your power to change this. Ask yourself what your ideal self-image is and what you want to achieve in life and be like (when you grow up).
And now ask yourself how you came up with that.
As I said above, the sets of beliefs we were taught as children are very strong, but when we grow up we start evaluating them. The question then is what we evaluate them against, what we choose to replace them with, if we are unhappy with them.
If the media has this big an impact on our self-images as I assume it has, the first and foremost step is to simply stop watching TV or at least start questioning what it and other media is trying to tell you. Don’t be passive, look behind the curtain: Are these beautiful people really happy? Do I need a big mansion to be happy? Will people only love me when my hair is perfect?
Mountains In Your Head
I can tell you from my personal experience that when I stopped watching TV on a regular basis, many, many concepts about what I needed to feel “worthy” faded away. I didn’t think it was going to make a big difference, until several weeks went by and I started to separate my own ideas and thoughts from what I was previously taught to believe. There was suddenly room in my mind to think about what really made me happy. And the more I realized that, the better my self-esteem became.
I started to observe my self-image, and to my surprise it was quite different when it wasn’t affected by the outside noise. In a very short time I began to see things for how they truly were, I felt like mountains were moved inside of my mind. I realized that I don’t want to be like anybody else but me, I have my own ideals of what I want to look like, and I definitely don’t want to look like a Victoria’s Secret Model! I don’t need 10 cars, nor do I need a leather purse for 3000 dollars just because it’s cool and stylish, I don’t want to follow trends or fashion, I want to create my own style! All of this I realized just by distancing myself from TV and magazines.
The True You
There are other things that helped me to find my inner me, such as working on my inner world with the same effort as I work on my outer world. We exercise, we eat healthy and that is all great, but if we start cleaning the cluster inside of our minds, too, everything else just comes together much easier. Find a way that fits you best to work on your inner world, it can be many different things: express yourself creatively, help others, meditate, do yoga etc. – there is something for everyone.
In short, reflect and find out who you truly are. The goal is to expand your inner knowledge and the more we grow internally the more we learn to see and appreciate our own uniqueness and beauty.