How I wish I could have believed those four words at 17! Or at 25! Or even at 35! Even now, at 45 ( for one more week), I still sometimes have to tell myself:"Don't push yourself so hard. You are good enough!" Do you also battle to maintain a good self esteem?
What has changed for me lately ? Well, there is a motivational quote I read recently by Goi Nasu that reads: "An entire sea of water can't sink a ship, unless it gets inside a ship."
It is amazing when I think back over my life, how much of the "sea" I allowed to get into my "ship"! At times I really believed that I had absolutely no value and no worth! I took everything people said to heart; I was hurt by so many external things! How does a person get to such a low point?
Let's explore the sea of things that can affect how we feel about ourselves:
1. Home / Family:
Relationships with your parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, etc. influence your self esteem. This is because you ‘copy’ their attitudes and reactions when you are still young and this influences the way you think of yourself and others.
2. Work / School:
Relationships with classmates, teachers, administrators and counsellors influence your self esteem, due to the result of you learning from others. Experiences with schoolwork, extracurricular activities, sports, discipline, etc. can also play an important role.
3. Feedback from others:
What others tell you about yourself, how they look at you and how they treat you as a person; what important people (friends, family, teachers, role-models) say about you.
In this interesting study below, it was found that genetics play a lesser role in self esteem, and especially so in girls. The role of genetics in the self esteem of boys was marginally higher in the study.
These are those Life events that leave a lasting impression on you. The good and the bad decisions and choices you make. How you face the consequences of these choices impacts on how you feel about yourself.
6. Handling / Coping Ability:
How do you deal with challenges and opportunities? How you handle situations trains you to build self esteem. These skills can be developed.
Through achieving goals you should feel an improvement in self esteem.
How much other people seek your company and value your opinion can influence self esteem a lot.
How the media portrays the ideal "woman", "mother" or any other generalization can be quite damaging, should you happen to not be able to conform...and the irony is that most people don't!
As I always say, people are deeply complex beings. Each person is affected differently by these 9 factors and so many unique permutations are generated. Handle the waves and don't let the sea get into your ship!
All I know is that it doesn't matter that:
- I may not be as athletic or intelligent as I would like to be
- I may not be as mature or kind as I would like to be
- I may be a bit of a geeky nerd with an odd sense of humour
- My social skills often let me down
- I may not be the most popular person
BUT in spite of all the above, regardless of what I am not, or what mistakes I may have made - I AM GOOD ENOUGH.