(The Self-Esteem Killer)
By Reydon Stanford
Have you ever felt stupid? Weak, ugly, fat, skinny, too tall, too short? Who or what made you feel that way?
Most likely it was self-esteem, a demanding and oftentimes mean ghost that can haunt a person throughout their lifetime.
The danger with self-esteem is that it causes us to be vulnerable to several outside influences, many of which may
not be healthy sources of accurate information and therefore might provide us with a false sense of "self-worth."
Adding to this danger of deception is the fact that much of our self-esteem is developed while we are still in our "Formative
Years," (ages 3-13, typically); years that most children are subjected to the hardships of trying to ‘fit in' among
their school-mates and often feeling quite unsuccessful at the attempt. Also, the formative years are vulnerable to
deception due to the immature and the still-developing brain, which cannot always determine for itself what, is true versus
what is false.
If I had to
define what self-esteem is, I'd say that it's: "The way we view ourselves in relation to the rest of society,
especially our peers." Commonly asked questions regarding our self-esteem are: "Where
do I fit in?" or "Do I have what it takes to compete among my peers?" "Am I pretty enough, handsome
enough, smart enough, athletic enough, rich enough, cool enough, or talented enough?" These types of questions
range in emotional sensitivity from ‘mild wondering', to ‘obsessive worry,' consuming the thoughts and actions.
Again, the problem with self-esteem is that we oftentimes base it upon the voices and actions of others, or even worse; our
own perception of what others "might" think. This dilemma obviously leaves a great potential for us to have
a ‘false view of ourselves,' and when that happens, emotional turmoil ensues.
There are basically two extremes that self-esteem often involves. First is a sense that we do not meet up with the expectations
of others and end up feeling like we are of little or no value to others and therefore do not like ourselves. The results
of such a mindset are serious and can end with a person going completely against their nature in order to secure friends and
a feeling of self-worth. When this happens it leads to a host of other problems, such as vulnerability towards be constantly
The other extreme is ‘arrogance,' which is a false sense that we are better than others based upon
our looks, intelligence, social status, or race. Either of these two extremes is a serious flaw in the mental and emotional
make-up of an individual and can leave a path of emotional pain or destruction in its wake.
Self-esteem is a powerful commodity for our success and happiness. If we have an accurate and healthy self-esteem we
can accomplish great things through the usage of our gifts and talents that flow freely. However, if our self-esteem
is built upon the words and actions of others, or our own deceived perceptions of what people expect of us, it can leave us
feeling depressed, saddened and confused.
In short, a self-esteem based upon our acceptance of who we are as an individual, allows us the freedom to explore how God
created us and to embrace those talents and gifts, while self-esteem based upon conformity causes us to feel confused, weak
reading this article, it is probably safe to assume that you don't feel too great about your self-esteem or there is someone
you care deeply about that is suffering from a low self-esteem. With that in mind, I want to encourage you to simply
STOP for awhile and re-examine what you have based your own self-esteem upon. Have you based it upon what others have
said about you? Have you based it upon what you "think" other people "think" about you?
One way to test whether or not you have a healthy self-esteem is to ask yourself a few questions. First: "Do I
care too much about what other people think about me?" Before you answer bravely with a statement such as; "I
don't care what anyone thinks of me," let's look a little deeper. Do you feel very uncomfortable leaving your house
without having your make-up on, your hair washed and styled or at the very least...looking your best? If so, you DO
care a great deal what other people think. Although there is nothing fundamentally wrong with wanting to look your best,
there is something wrong when you do so for fear that others might see you in a negative light and such a thought is very
the healthiest self-esteem comes when we realize that God created each one of us uniquely different. We each have different
DNA, different fingerprints, different ideas, different desires, different tastes and so forth. Sadly, society
seems to want us to CONFORM like gingerbread men, crafted with a cookie-cutter, rather than embracing and rejoicing in the
fact that we are each uniquely individual and that individuality is what makes us valuable!!!
I've spent most of my life playing the piano. There are other people who can play circles around me, without a doubt.
However, not only do I play the piano, but I also sing, write, race cars, counsel, teach, tell corny jokes and the list goes
on. My point here is that it is not ONE of these things that make me unique, but the combination of them.
Sure there are piano players much better than me, but what about piano players who can also win at racing cars??? See
what I mean? Just like me, you have a host of things that make you uniquely individual. It is not how much you
are "alike" other people, but how you are different that accesses your true value. Embrace your talents, desires
and gifts as uniquely individual!
Finally, I want to warn you against focusing upon the negatives in your life in regards to self-esteem. We all have
weaknesses, we all have faults. (Anyone who tells you differently is not being honest...or is delusional). It's
alright to admit your weaknesses, but it is not alright to focus upon them.
If you're suffering from a low self-esteem, begin looking at all the attributes that make you individually you! Embrace
them, empower them and you'll find you like yourself much better. As an unexpected consequence...you'll probably find
that others like you much better that way too.
Copyright by Reydon Stanford 2010
or comments regarding this article can be made here in the comments section of the website or by private consultation with
Reydon at firstname.lastname@example.org)