Oh dear readers! Quite a while it has been. I must confess I have done the biggest wrong that a blogger must not do – not writing for a long time. Really couldn’t help it. Was using all my mental energy to go through a significant milestone. That in no way means I have given up on this project. And this means I am back to continue God willing.
So, we have had a general note about beauty, talked about inner beauty, then about difference between sexy and beautiful. But what is it that is particularly essential for every woman to have in order to appreciate her beauty? What is the most important inner strength that radiates through and defines our lives? What is the one thing that can make a difference whether we choose to build or neglect ourselves, nurture or destroy our God-given potentials?
I remember the first time I came across these two words: self-esteem, in a pamphlet given to us at school. I was in my middle teenage years then, in senior secondary school. I think I read that paper over 10 times, each time finding an extra ‘symptom’ of low self-esteem that I could identify with myself. I wouldn’t say I had very low self-esteem, thank God for my nurturing parents, but I did go through low self-esteem for some time in my life. This is just to say, I know what it is capable of doing to all those beautiful minds of ours.
Self esteem basically is how you see yourself. What you think of yourself. How much you love yourself. How much you trust yourself and your confidence in yourself. How much of ‘you’ that you see and know, and understand and choose to live happily with.
The good thing about self-esteem is that once you’re able to find it, it is very difficult to lose. The task is only in building it. This is because once you do, there’s a level of contentment that comes with it, a level of pride and self belief. A feeling of beautiful uniqueness that defines us all as individuals. These are qualities that are naturally rewarding and thus, self-propagating and that’s why it’s hard to break.
But how do we build it. The popular notion is that you have to consciously work on yourself to build your self-esteem. Not that I don’t believe working on it from the inside is important, but I have my reservations. There is no waking up one day and just deciding, I’ll start to love myself, get to know myself (strengths and weaknesses and accept them), trust myself and appreciate my uniqueness. In fact, many people with low self-esteem actually know all that. They know they are different and they know they cannot be someone else. But there is usually no amount of talking to themselves or being talked to that makes them content with their individuality. And even if it does, it would usually be short-term. They do need to make an important conscious decision, but it’s not about forcing their minds to change its subconscious rantings!
To me, the most important thing to do is to look around you. Look at the people around you and assess the roles they play in your lives. Are they builders or destroyers of your ‘self’? Builders, nurture the relationship. Destroyers, dump that relationship in the bin (not necessarily literally)! That is the most important way that working on yourself will build your self-esteem. The most important conscious effort is deciding on which relationships to nurture and which to do away with. If you want to love yourself, then you have no place for negative or negativity inducing people. Some people just don’t see good in anything and thus cannot help you develop. You can choose to try to help each other develop. But if it fails, move on! Some other people are just out to stop you from reaching your potential, they’ll criticize you and never appreciate you. And when it gets to you, they feed on your low esteem to build theirs as it gives them some feeling of superiority and relative success (seeing you are then a relative failure compared to them).
These characters are particularly rampant among those we call friends and voluntarily associate with. In that context, they are easier to deal with actually. Sometimes though, we may have such among our relatives including our own parents. These you cannot just break away from. And to be honest, you cannot stop their criticisms from getting to you. What I however find useful in such cases is that for each time they hit at your esteem, don’t try to fight the feeling that follows. Rather, counter it by looking at their own lives and bringing out a negative aspect of their character or a weakness of theirs that you know of. You don’t have to say it back to them. Just make a note of it to yourself. Not all at once, but one for each time they do same to you expressly. You can keep written notes of it. What this will do, is that it will serve to point out to you that it is not only you that has weaknesses. You’re not the only bad person in the world. More importantly, that person has no right to determine how you feel about yourself when they have many reasons (probably more than you) to instead direct their criticisms at themselves. You will also realise that if they can love themselves despite all the negative things that you know about them, then you have no reason not to love yourself. You can even give yourself a bonus of listing a good side of you each time you write down their bad!
I thank God it wasn’t late when I realized this and I thank God it worked. Most times you cannot choose the people you are surrounded with, but you can choose those who you get close to and allow to become important players in your life. As much as the modern world may seem to make us more independent, we can never transcend beyond that inherent social nature we are made of. Man is indeed a social creature and your social circles do define your life.
Understanding and appreciating natural beauty and attaching enough value to it requires a certain attitude and mental state – a good understanding of the concept of self-esteem. It is only when your self esteem is good that you can really show your beauty and live life to the fullest. When you love and appreciate yourself, you don’t as a woman, have to always compare yourself to other women or try to be like them. You will feel beautiful no matter what. And when you are gone, people will remember how in your uniqueness, you were beautiful. And isn’t that what we all want? To be remembered for who we are? Not for who we tried to impress or be like or worse, for the miserable life we lived.
So sift through your relationships and make that change girl!!!
Image Credits: FreeImages.com/Ne¾a Èerin.