This topic is something I have a personal experience with. I wanted to write an honest account on how I feel about Low Self Esteem, and some of the things I’ve done to tackle it. I really hope it helps some of you. Let me know your thoughts and if there’s anything you do to help you feel more confident!
Low Self Esteem can stem from any life experience. Mine is from the bullying I encountered at secondary school. As a result of verbal abuse, being pushed and spat on, my confidence was knocked quite a bit and I felt pretty awful about myself. All of this threw a spanner into the works, at a time where I should’ve been discovering myself and blossoming into a young, confident woman I was actually torn and smashed in those important places within my soul. My personality was suppressed and I became quiet and very down. I was anxious all the time, sometimes depressed and have constant knots in my tummy. I’m convinced all those years of having acid and butterflies (not nice ones!) in my tummy has led to the stomach problems I have now but that’s another story! I’d be paranoid about what everyone thought of me, not just the bullies but people I cared about and anyone I came into contact with. I had so much self doubt and felt alienated and like I wasn’t worthy of anyone’s love or friendship. My path was covered in sticks and stones rather than the yellow brick road everyone hopes for. I felt worthless, unworthy and stupid. I didn’t feel good enough and I felt like an outsider for years. I’ve had fall outs with close friends that have broken me. Things that have happened for no apparent reason but the tables have turned and that part of my life isn’t the same anymore. Friendships that can’t be rebuilt. And for what? Choices that I’ve made that were important to me but I was made to feel like they weren’t relevant or valid. What is it they say? You can pick up a broken plate but can you put it back exactly as it was? I’ve doubted myself, blamed myself for things that’ve happened that weren’t my fault. But in truth, it’s just life and shit happens. People change, loyalties sometimes sever. And it can be devastating. And I’ve had to accept that and it’s taken a lot of strength to move forward but in the end you’ve got to nuture your own life and focus on the other people in it and know that you’re worthy. The best thing you can do is learn from every experience. Sometimes you can’t alter what’s going to happen and the outcome of things. You can put your all into something and that’s all you can do. And that’s ok. So just be.
I look back now and I can see the flaws in the people who made my life hell. No one is perfect. I’m a lot happier in myself now than I used to be and it’s down to a lot of hard work building my emotional and mental strength. I’ve had to learn to challenge my thoughts and reassure myself about things. I’ve read self help books, seen a therapist and surrounded myself with things and people who inspire me. I’ve tried to encourage myself, even just for the small things, because that’s a big part of having low self esteem, you have to learn to love and trust yourself again.
Low self esteem could stem from a comment someone made to you once. It could even have been a physical encounter. It could’ve made you feel inadequate, isolated, depressed, or anxious. It could leave you questioning yourself as a human. Am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Am I too fat? Too thin? Who should I look like? What should I be like? Who am I in this world? What is my purpose to anyone if the person who made me feel like this thinks so negatively about me? There it is again…self doubt. When I make a comment about my appearance Hubby will look at me all disappointed and say “why do you bully yourself?” And that’s the thing. Why do I? There’s no reason to but I suppose the key thing here is about building that self belief back up. It was the bullies who made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. That I wasn’t pretty enough. That I was a freak. My self respect was non existent. Low self esteem, whatever it may be for you, can eat away at both your self belief and self respect. And it’ll take time to restore them. And that’s ok. I’m up for the challenge, and you should be too. Because you’re good enough, and pretty enough, and whatever else you want to be. The key is finding a guide to working on your beliefs about yourself, undermining the old negative views and building up new, more helpful perspectives.
A few things to think about and reflect on…
- “The opinions of others are just that. OPINIONS. It doesn’t mean they’re FACT”. When my Husband said this to me a few months ago it was like the earth stopped turning. I had a eureka moment. Seriously, my Hubby is a genius. He made me realise that everyone is entitled to an opinion but that’s all it is. But I’d never thought about it like that before. I literally took everyone’s opinion on board and believed it. I feel very strongly about the saying “if you’ve nothing nice to say then don’t say it at all.” Because it can stick with that person. Of course this doesn’t stand for a lot of people, sadly, and they will feel some sort of power and superiority when they say something to someone that is nasty and hurtful. But they’re fighting something inside themselves to be able to do that. And that’s where you have the upper hand. You are stronger than them.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Who love you for who you are. Who will support and encourage you. Cast off the bad apples who make you feel negative. Distance yourself, and then let them go. It can be difficult, but it’s for the best in the end. I’ve had a tough time accepting that but I feel so much better for it.
- What is the ideal person, exactly? Think about it. You are unique. There is not, and will never be, another you. You are special. You are meant to be just as you are. You will alter as you make your journey through life. You will experience joy and happiness. You will experience deep sadness. Anything you chose to do in life is your choice and should be influenced only by positivity. Any negativity should be taken with a pinch of salt and thrown back in the face of the person who gave it to you. There is no perfect person. But to someone else, you are perfect. As Lady Gaga said “I was born this way!”
- Try and turn negative comments you may receive around. I get the “your face is a lot chubbier now you’ve had a baby.” I’m still utterly baffled as to why someone feels the need to point this out to me. And it does hurt, because it’s a really personal remark. It might be another way of saying “you look healthy, motherhood suits you!” but it came out wrong. Some people are crap at interpreting how they feel into actual words. Some people just don’t actually use their brain and think about what they are saying. But if it’s meant to be a mean jibe, well, I just take one look at that person and I always see something in their eyes. Sadness, hurt, jealously… whatever it may be, it’s easy to see and whatever has gone on or is happening in their life sits in their soul and shows in what they say and do in life. And karma is a bitch sometimes, so they better be prepared for that.
- If you feel that something needs to change in your life, whether it be to get fit, lose weight, gain weight, eat healthier, change your job, take up a new hobby, colour your hair pink, get a tattoo…then please, please, please do it for yourself and not someone else. Just because someone thinks your job isn’t good enough or that you need to lose a few pounds shouldn’t be the motivation you need to actually do it. If you’re happy in your own skin then please stay that way. If you want change then make positive changes where you feel they are needed. Your choices are your own and are valid. The saying goes “some people won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to. It isn’t for them.”
If you’d like some help, inspiration and support…
- Self help books can be really beneficial in taking the first steps in tackling low self esteem. They’ve helped me and offered encouragement, explanation and perspective when I didn’t have any. Amazon have loads, or you can try your local library.
- I’ve found some useful websites which might be helpful too…
- If you feel you need more support and are experiencing what you think may be depression, panic attacks etc. then see you doctor. They can assess your situation and offer support and appropriate treatment if it’s required.
- Positive affirmations can be the little smile and hug from yourself when your feeling like all you’re doing is stabbing yourself in the back. Choose a room you find comforting and create a calm atmosphere. Spritz some aromatherapy room spray, put on some relaxation music and light a few candles. Sit in front of a mirror and take some deep breaths. Take in the peace and calm and smile at the moment. This is for yourself. Enjoy it. Then open your eyes and take in what you see. You are a beautiful, strong human being. Now you just need to tell yourself that. And believe it! Try saying these affirmations every single day…
I love and accept myself unconditionally.
I am free to make my own choices and decisions.
I accept others as they are and they in turn accept me as I am.
It matters little what others say. What matters is how I react and what I believe.
I am free to choose to live as I wish and to give priority to my desires.
I can choose happiness whenever I wish no matter what my circumstances.
I am flexible and open to change in every aspect of my life.
It is enough to have done my best.
- If you need reassurance from others then that’s fine. Just try and challenge your thoughts and reassure yourself, as well. I’d ask my husband numerous times a day for reassurance and eventually it wore him down too. He could no longer be the tree that I leaned on for support because he was now bent over, almost on the floor. He had nothing else to give. So start asking for reassurance from yourself. Why wouldn’t you? Only you know what your soul needs. So ask it.
- Find time to do things you enjoy. Don’t just sit around overthinking and over analysing. Discover. Learn. Create. Join a photography or craft group if you have an artistic flare. If you need to let off nervous energy then find a fitness class you like the look of. Take up a new hobby or make time for existing ones. Feed your inspiration and do something you’re good at. It’ll nuture your confidence.
- Get moving! Exercise really does help to boost your mood. Knowing that you’re doing something good for your body and mind is really uplifting. It releases those feel good hormones too!
- Keep a diary. Offloading can be liberating and uplifting. Don’t feel silly about what you write, just do it. I started to feel like everytime I saw friends I would just be anxious and moaning, and I didn’t want that anymore. So I started to write. And I could close the notebook until the next time and get on with my day. It can be over a space of weeks, months, or even years when you write. It’s entirely up to you. Then once you’ve written everything you feel you need to… Burn the diary. Say goodbye, piss off, don’t come back again to those demons. It can be the release you need to move on. You can keep two diaries even, one as above and another with your inspirations, hopes and dreams in.
Of course my account on low self esteem only scratches the surface of the issue itself. Everyone’s situation and experience is different and they’re thoughts and feelings may be different. There are options for everyone to start the healing and begin to love themselves. Because everyone deserves that.
Much love Xxx