Friday, February 15, 2013

What is Self Esteem

What is self esteem?  Psychology tells us that self esteem describes our over-all self worth.  Self esteem is attributed to different aspects of our self including our opinion of our appearance, our beliefs, emotions, and behaviors.  Self esteem is something we all have.  Some of us have a low self esteem and other have a high self esteem, but we all struggle to keep our self esteem in check.  We all want to be the best we can be and when we do not achieve that goal we tend to be hard on ourselves.

I have never had a very high self esteem.  I have never liked my body or my "looks".  People tell me that I am beautiful and I sarcastically say "thanks" and roll my eyes because I know better.  I know what my flaws are and I know that many of them cannot be "fixed" the way I wish they could.  I have a really difficult time finding anything I like about myself, so please don't ask me to.  Now, I know that physical appearance is not the only part of what makes us, well, us.  We also have our intelligence, our abilities, our beliefs, our personalities, and more.

So how does our self esteem develop?  It is my personal opinion that several things in life help us to develop our self esteem.  Our parents are the first people to influence our lives.  They tell us how beautiful or handsome we are, how great our artwork is, and how good we are at dancing, singing, sports or whatever activity we are involved in. Teachers (school and Sunday school) are the next people to touch our lives.  They do the same things our parents do, just not on the same scale.  However, once we reach school age we then start dealing with peers. Our peers are not always as kind as our family and teachers which can lead to self doubt.

School can be a cruel place for some children.  If the child has a learning disability, is handicap, is "awkward" in any way, or maybe his or her family is poor (or rich) the child may become the target of a bully or teasing.  As wonderful as children are they can also be very cruel to other children, especially those they do not perceive as equals.  It is our responsibility as parents (and grandparents) to show our children how amazing they are.  Each child is beautiful gift from God and should see him or herself as the unique individual that he or she is.

As we grow older and enter adulthood we still judge ourselves every time we look in the mirror, put on an outfit, complete a college assignment, finish a project at work, and especially when we are looking for a mate.  If we have not already developed a positive self esteem by the time we have left high school, the likelihood of doing so as an adult is slim, not impossible, but slim.

It has been my personal experience that adults are more cruel then children.  We are expected to secure a job, buy a home, drive a nice car, wear the best clothes, carry a Coach bag, fix our hair, wear makeup, take care of children, cook dinner, clean our home, and so on and so fourth.  We are also supposed to go hang out with our friends every weekend and "party".  If we do not do those things by a certain age we have failed as adults.

Guess what?  I have failed as an adult!  I do not own a car, nice clothes, or an expensive bag.  You know what I do have?  I have a wonderful man in my life.  I have five (5) amazing children that I love very much.  I also have two (2) very handsome grandsons that I would take a bullet for along with 2 more grandbabies due this year.  I have three adorable, loving dogs and two pain in the butt cats.  We have a home that we are buying and fixing up how we want it.  I have a lot of love in my life and I am happy.

My self esteem is not perfect and that is ok.  I am not happy with the way I look and that is ok too because my man loves me just as I am.  I have finally learned to accept myself just a little bit.  I am still dealing with depression, stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and being bi-polar, but I know that someday I will be able to deal with it because I have God on my side and I have my amazing family.

If you have a low self esteem, are suicidal, are dealing with depression or other emotional or mental disorders please do not try to handle them alone.  Seek help...I am!

All opinions and stories are my own.   

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