Reydon Stanford Counseling Studies

"Conformity: Self-Esteem Killer"

HOME | RECEIVE UPDATES!!! | MAKING EFFECTIVE CHANGES | THE PAIN OF GRIEF | THE SELF ESTEEM KILLER | THE RUNAWAY MIND | EXPENDING NERVOUS ENERGY | Delusional Thinking | LETTING GO OF LOST LOVE | "Conformity: Self-Esteem Killer" | THE PASSIONLESS MARRIAGE | ADDICTIONS | SELF-INDUCED STRESS | LOW SELF-ESTEEM | STRESS RELIEF | THE PAIN OF REJECTION | RELATIONSHIP DIFFICULTIES | NOTE TO PASTORAL COUNSELORS | DEPRESSION | LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE | ANXIETY | FEAR AND MANIA | MENTAL ILLNESS | GUILT AND SELF-CONDEMNATION | BITTERNESS | PARENTING ISSUES | *LONELINESS* | EMOTIONAL TURMOIL | COUNSELOR'S PAGE (FOR COUNSELORS) | DIVORCE RECOVERY | GRIEF RECOVERY | PERSONALITY ISSUES | About Reydon | Contact Info | Disclaimer | WHY AM I SO ANGRY?

CONFORMITY

(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 manipulated.

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 and obsessive.

                Since you're 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 uncomforting.

                In reality, 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

(Questions or comments regarding this article can be made here in the comments section of the website or by private consultation with Reydon at reydonstanford@gmail.com)

Home
RECEIVE UPDATES!!!
MAKING EFFECTIVE CHANGES
THE PAIN OF GRIEF
THE SELF ESTEEM KILLER
THE RUNAWAY MIND
EXPENDING NERVOUS ENERGY
Delusional Thinking
LETTING GO OF LOST LOVE
"Conformity: Self-Esteem Killer"
THE PASSIONLESS MARRIAGE
ADDICTIONS
SELF-INDUCED STRESS
LOW SELF-ESTEEM
STRESS RELIEF
THE PAIN OF REJECTION
RELATIONSHIP DIFFICULTIES
NOTE TO PASTORAL COUNSELORS
DEPRESSION
LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE
Anxiety
FEAR AND MANIA
MENTAL ILLNESS
GUILT AND SELF-CONDEMNATION
BITTERNESS
PARENTING ISSUES
*LONELINESS*
EMOTIONAL TURMOIL
COUNSELOR'S PAGE (FOR COUNSELORS)
The Pain of Divorce
GRIEF RECOVERY
PERSONALITY ISSUES
About Reydon
Contact Info
Disclaimer
*WHY AM I SO ANGRY?