Like most people, I struggle with self-esteem from time to time. Sometimes even extended periods of time. But, I’ve been trying to establish a proper perspective because low or no self-esteem is our enemy.
It’s healthy to have good self-esteem.
But, recognize this… accepting yourself is not the same as having a big ego. Not even close.
I think the best self-esteem is instilled in us from birth by our parents but that doesn’t always happen. After all, most of us were raised by parents who had their own struggles with self-esteem… among other things…
So, what happens when we grow up thinking we’re not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, talented enough, anything enough? It’s like trying to live life with this huge weight dragging us down. A weight we attached to ourselves.
I know what it’s like because I’ve lived it.
Oh, it’s true that others can chip away at our self-esteem but they can only be as successful as we let them be.
I like me.
Well, at least, I think I do.
That’s not to say there aren’t things about myself I wish were different. I struggle with anxiety, I think too much, I lack a creativity chip, I’m not really good at any one thing, I’m not skilled at doing things with my hands, I can be too reserved, I’ve made way more than my share of mistakes in life.
I could tell you more but you get my drift.
So, I work on the things I can work on. When I start feeling anxious, I pray. I work to make sure that my thinking is more positive than negative. The things I can’t change – like past mistakes – I’ve forgiven myself for. The hardest thing I have ever done.
I’m transparent about my mistakes, weaknesses, and struggles so that others can hopefully avoid or overcome the same pain I’ve either experienced or self-inflicted. And, some of the things I can’t change – like my talents – I don’t need to change. No talent, gift, or ability is better than any another. They’re only different, not better.
All I can be is me. I’m better at being me than anyone else. So, I should celebrate being me. Things like… I know a little about a lot, I’m good with words, I’m good with numbers, I like to bake, I like hockey, I like current events, I like cars, I’m reasonably smart, I have a good sense of humour, I care about people, I have a soft heart, I’m a deep thinker, I’m a hard worker, I don’t give up.
If God didn’t intend for me to be me, He would have created me to be someone else.
So, if someone doesn’t like me for me, it’s their problem, not mine. Everyone isn’t going to like me, and that’s ok (even if it doesn’t always feel very good…).
The greatest gift we can give others is to love and accept them just the way they are. That doesn’t mean we will like everyone. I don’t even think that’s a realistic expectation. What it does mean is that we will recognize and embrace others’ individuality, and the things that make them different from us.
We’re not all the same and we’re not all meant to be.
So, be you.
Everyone else is already taken.