Sometimes it feels like there is no worse quality in the world than a low self-esteem. For as much harm as other people in the world can do, there is only person that you can never escape: yourself.
Insecurity is an all too well-known occurrence. Remember that one time when you were younger that you did something you aren’t proud of? What if when you try something new, you’ll be ridiculed? What if everyone you love doesn’t actually love you back?
Insecurities are universal, but they creep into the picture for some more than others. Sometimes that little voice in your head never has anything good to say. Then it takes every ounce of effort to push through all the negative scenarios the brain can put together. Feeling good about yourself can feel like an unattainable goal.
How can we break that cycle? How can those already struggling with low self-esteem find solace? Take a word from King of Pop by looking in the mirror to make that change.
nurturing more positivity.
We cannot improve our self-esteems through the “power” of positive thinking, essential oils, self-help books, or motivational quotes. Insecurity isn’t a surface-level condition, an ailment you can take to the doctor and bandage up. It takes a lot of time, effort, and methods to start breaking down the walls you’ve built inside your heart.
I see any kind of self-esteem, good or bad, as a plant. Positive self-esteem is a lovely flower, and negative self-esteem is a nasty weed that keeps on coming back, no matter how much weed killer you’ve doused it with. Plus, a few days where you don’t water the flower or give it fresh sunshine, it quickly wilts away to make room for more weeds.
What do you want flourishing in your soul’s garden? Easy answer, difficult execution. I myself still struggle every day with how I feel about myself, where I fit into this world, if what I’m doing matters.
Your time and energy are precious. Don’t allow the weeds to take over. Here are some thoughts to consider when nurturing your self-esteem.
Self-esteem issues are only worsened by how often we are able to see what other people’s lives are like, or more appropriately, what other people imagine their lives to be like. Social media is all about painting a picture of what you feel your life should be like. We don’t not tend to post about feeling bad: we showcase what’s going well.
That kind of gatekeeping creates a false image of what life is actually like, hiding away the bad parts and pretending that they don’t actually happen to people who are doing well. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve heard it a million-and-one times, but it bears repeating: comparison is the thief of joy.
You are you. What everyone else is doing has zero effect on your own progress and growth. We’re all on different journeys and exist for different purposes. If you pick up one book at chapter one, and a completely different book at chapter twenty-seven, you cannot make a fair judgment of which one is “better.”
You do you, boo. Wherever you are in this moment, everything’s just fine.
be honest with others and yourself.
In a face-to-face conversation, we’re always respond with a quick, “I’m good, I’m fine,” regardless of our actual feelings. It’s as if there’s an unwritten rule that feeling down isn’t allowed.
Like I said, you can’t slap on a bandage covered in smiley faces on your pain and call yourself “cured.” This aching is universal; we’ve all, at least once, been in a place of darkness. We want to be anybody else but ourselves, be anywhere but here.
If we allow that pain to accumulate like plaque on our teeth, it’ll end up creating even more pain. It bottles up until the entire vessel shatters. The goal to set is not waiting until that breaking point to express your emotions. Your thoughts and emotions don’t define you, nor do they classify you as “weak.”
The moment you recognize those nasty insecurities creeping back to the surface, address them. Reach out to your support system—a therapist, family, friends, anyone else you trust—and set the insecurity free from its cage.
Be gentle with yourself. Give time and care to the body, mind, and soul. Accept others’ help, and realize how that simple act, of asking for help, is a true testament of strength.
accept who you are.
Low self-esteem can feel all-consuming. It might act as a coping mechanism for anxiety or even become part of someone’s identity. At that point, “Trying to help someone accept that they are OK can be as difficult as telling them what they always thought was the color green is actually red.”
It’s all about creating a more realistic picture of ourselves. We all have strengths and weaknesses. At no point is any one of us going to do everything well. However, we all have a gift. We all come from the same Spirit, the same life force. It’s awe-provoking to realize the same energy that allows flowers to blossom, trees to grow delicious fruit, sunshine to radiate warmth…that energy is resting in our chests.
While embracing the Spirit’s beautiful nature, also remember that only the Creator is flawless. We have weaknesses. We sin and make mistakes. There’s always a balance of light and darkness; one cannot exist without its counterpart. The darkness can swallow us whole, but it only takes one thought to spark back your light.
A beautiful garden doesn’t appear out of thin air. You must tend to it every day and be patient while the seeds take root. The weeds will keep popping up, even amongst flower buds, but sense your presence and address those weeds immediately.
The same energy that emits love and compassion is the energy that strikes you with insecurities galore. A person that realizes their own worth and potential can fully provide light to everyone else. All that love you’re spreading? Those thoughtful, compassionate gestures? You deserve them, too.
Nobody, including yourself, should dictate your self-esteem based off a biased perspective. You are responsible for combatting those insecurities; your loved ones provide support, but they cannot fight for you. God has equipped you with the right tools and skills.
All that’s left is to set the intention: I am worthy. I exist for an important reason. My presence in the world matters. I deserve love, from others and myself.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie