She stood before the mirror and immediately looked away because she could hardly bear to look at the image staring back at her. Even in her own eyes she was ugly and in her opinion, her eyes were set too far apart and her nose was crooked in a way that just wasn’t pretty. Then there was the question of how her mouth was shaped… she was too dark and her breasts were disproportionate with her hips. She longed to hide herself and not have to face the world ever again. She couldn’t bear being the only one that never got compliments when she was out with her friends. On the rare occasions that she did get one, she clung to it like her life depended on it.
He wasn’t much better than her, although, he had no problems with his physical appearance. He knew that in intellect he could never measure up to his peers and had heard so many nasty and hurtful things said about him that he had begun to feel worthless. He had no confidence and could barely speak up to offer an opinion when he was around people because he felt he had nothing meaningful to say, after all they all knew more than he did.
Perhaps this is where you currently are….
Do you feel pressured to be perfect?
The pressure to be perfect is so great in our society that people will go to any length to be considered ‘perfect’. Society has defined what perfection is and people scurry to go with those standards of perfection ultimately ending up in one hell of a rat race. From defining what the ‘right’ body type is to defining what the ‘right’ clothes to wear are, the list is endless. All these standards that the society set has made it harder for people with the ‘wrong’ specifications to feel good about themselves.
It’s so much easier to love others than it is to love our own selves many times. It’s easier to pinpoint our weaknesses and focus on them. Even those that grew up being showered with loving words eventually, at one point or the other, meet with circumstances and situations that put a dent in their self-esteem.
Low Self –Esteem: Can it be Overcome?
Self-esteem issues follow many people from their childhood into adulthood but I have also found that self-esteem issues can be overcome. I’ve had my own share of self-esteem issues in the past – from feeling I wasn’t pretty enough, to the point of not being able to really look myself in the mirror for long, to just not feeling like I was smart enough, which made me scared to answer questions in class even when I knew the answers, and then to just not feeling good about myself generally, which resulted in me being shy and wanting to hide myself.
People deal with their self-esteem issues in various ways – drugs, toxic relationships, a fake life, unhealthy habits, bullying others to feel good about themselves, etc. Only a few people actually nip it in the bud and get on with the journey to self-love.
5 Ways to Tackle Low Self-Esteem
- Self-loathing is not your golden ticket out
I know you have read all the articles on the “Importance of loving yourself” as the first step to dealing with low self-esteem but you still ask: ‘How do I love what I already hate?’
Here’s my answer and it’s quite frank: No matter how hard you hate yourself or try to be someone else, you are always going to be you.
You are stuck with you!
Accept that your large hips, buck teeth, wide eyes, thick lips, dark complexion, fat face, wide feet or crooked teeth are here to stay and will possibly be your companions for life except if you are considering cosmetic surgery in the future.
But here is the plot twist: Although, esteem comes from a healthy love of self, too little is unhealthy and too much is deadly. Find a balance, that point where you are neither timid nor proud. Be confident! Find out how in the next steps.
- Identify toxic habits and relationships
I’ve found that one of the first things to do in dealing with insecurities is to separate yourself from toxic people as much as you can. A person that constantly belittles you and makes you feel bad about yourself is one who is unhealthy for your growth process.
For those you cannot avoid, understand that their opinion of you is not the ultimate – you weren’t born to please everyone. Consciously deal with destructive feelings like jealousy, envy and the need to slander others.
- You hear what you say and feel what you think about yourself
You won’t exactly live in a bubble of happiness all the time, sometimes your bubbles may burst. However, the only opinion that matters at the end of the day is yours and yours alone! Stop talking down on yourself, you can do as much damage to your self -image as any other person can by talking down on yourself. Stop being too hard on yourself, allow yourself to have some imperfections, it’s OK to not be perfect.
You need to understand that comparing yourself to others will only damage you. Stop obsessing about finding ways in which you’re better than others, proving that you’re better than someone else doesn’t change the imperfections that you possess, it only heightens your awareness of your lapses and lacking qualities.
- Discover your gifts, build intrinsic value and gain mastery
Low self-esteem is sometimes as a result of our awareness of how valueless and incompetent we are. Until you become a person of value, problem solver and have something to offer that can in a way be your own contribution to making your life and by implication, the lives around you better, you will be stuck in the place of self-pity.
Develop talents and build mastery over your skills. This is your way out of a life of mockery, pain and mediocrity. Sit and do some self-searching, understand the person that you are – your flaws, insecurities and then understand what brought those things up in the first place so you can find ways to deal with them from the root.
- Acknowledge every good gift in you
List things you love about yourself that are not tied to anyone else, this might be hard if you’ve always sought affirmation from others but if you try, you’ll be able to get them out. After you have found these things, focus on them instead of the negative things. Whenever you feel like talking yourself down, begin to say words of affirmation to yourself, begin to believe sincerely the compliments you receive and learn to look yourself straight in the mirror :).
In conclusion, you will only be of much value to others as you have been to yourself. Be your own best friend and remember that loving yourself and being comfortable in your own skin doesn’t mean you shouldn’t improve on yourself and your shortcomings. For your own good, work on yourself and be the best version of you that you can ever be. Remember, to love someone else fully, you have to first love yourself and accept yourself for who you are. Look straight at that woman in the mirror and tell her,
“We’re going to be the best version of us available!”
Like this article? Share with your friends and faya on!