Us Brits are not good at blowing our own trumpet. We can have real problems in understanding the difference between positive self-acceptance, which is really self-love, and arrogance or being up your own backside. Now, I think this is really sad because self-esteem is essential for so many things in life. From allowing us to be happy and successful, to having a robust immune system.
Esteem vs arrogance
There is a very simple way to understand this. People that have arrogance do actually have posi-tive self-esteem but they are looking to you to tell them that they are ok. Imagine this scenario. There is a party, a gathering of people to celebrate an event or simply a social occasion, you get the idea. There are two people that are a little different to all the rest. One is sat quietly in the cor-ner having a meaningful conversation with someone else. The other makes a grand entrance that is loud, demanding attention and getting it. Which one is the most confident and which once feels small and insignificant?
Well, people that make lots of noise, who are larger than life and, demand attention are those that need other people to tell them that they are ok. They need the attention to give themselves value and to convince themselves that they are actually worth the skin that they stand up in. The person who is quietly getting on with life in the corner has self-esteem that is within them. Their value comes from the inside out; they do not need anyone else to tell them that they are ok.
In many ways we live in a world of opposites. Those of us that need to make lots of money, to ob-tain expensive possessions, the rich and famous are those that feel the least for themselves and lack self esteem. We often make the mistake of believing the opposite. We tend to believe that those who appear successful do so because they are full of self-esteem. You will find the most in-secure people, lacking self-esteem in spades, among the rich, the famous and those that we term celebrities.
To have positive self-awareness of your skills, qualities and to be open to accept your failings and, to have the awareness to be getting better at being a human being equals positive self-esteem.
What do we teach our children?
We, as a society, whether we are parents or not, have a responsibility to teach the children around us to have value in ‘who they are’ and not in ‘what they have’. In a materialistic society it is easy to mistake possessions for personal value and real self esteem. So many programmes on TV from “the house wives of…” wherever to “Big Brother” often show us the worst kind of people, with the worst moral and ethical values assuming a sense of self importance of the cost of the possessions that they have.
How is this for good self-esteem
I had dropped off my lovely mother in law, and was driving back to the house, so I switched on the radio. It was BBC Radio 4 and a man was being interviewed. He made a clear statement that he had worked out that he needed £20K per year to live on so every penny that he earned above that he gave away to charity. “Wow, how amazing” I thought. Apparently there is a whole movement of business people in the City of London, and other areas, who do exactly the same thing. This is amazing on so many levels. The fact that these people are not shouting about it and making a big deal, they are just simply doing it, This suggests a high level of self esteem that does not require any accolades or praise from others, they just do it. The second thing is that these people realise that their self-esteem does not come from turning their money into possessions to display to oth-ers.
There are times in our society when we need to display. I can rarely attend a business meeting in shorts and a tee shirt I need to be in a suit to be seen as credible by my peers. This kind of fancy dress is playing a societal game that for me is ok, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.
Unless we wake up to what we have and develop some gratitude for how lucky we are it is easy to feel deprived. If everyone in our street has two cars and we only have one we may begin to feel a sense of relative deprivation. Psychologically and emotionally such things can lead to symptoms of depression, GP visits and medication.
On the radio programme I was talking about before, the interviewer went on to discuss a website where you could put in your income and your circumstances and it would tell you where you ranked in the rich list of the entire world population. One shocking statistic was that if you are in Britain liv-ing on the minimum wage you are still in the top 10% of the world population in terms of monetary richness. Apparently someone Face booked this information and has been hit by a tsunami of neg-ative responses. For me this information is a wake up call to us all.
We, in the West, are very privileged, and those among us that really do have nothing or very little should be supported properly.
Anyway, I wander, self esteem comes from within. It is an expression of how we feel about our self and not about what we have or what we can display to others. If you feel deprived you may need to create more wealth, change your job, adjust your living situation and there is nothing wrong with aspiration. However, it does not matter how many material things you manage to accumulate un-less you feel good about you and who you are, you will only be miserable in comfort.
What you might benefit from most is some therapy to develop your self esteem rather than money and possessions to hide behind.
Look in the mirror every morning for the next one hundred days and say out loud to yourself “I Love You”. If you can’t do it you have little self-esteem. But, if you do it for one hundred day it will be-come a new habit that is inner self-esteem. Because, guess what, self esteem is a habit just like smoking. None of us popped out of the womb with positive or negative self esteem. The way that we feel about who we are is what we have learned to be – maybe time to change.
Be happy, think lucky and, keep looking in the mirror!
Remember, I love me, who do you love? It is real, charity begins at home. When I can love me I can also love you.