Self-Esteem: The Dance of Self-Love
In order to understand what self-esteem is, we have to understand that the mind functions like a mirror. It reflects everything that our senses capture in a very specific way. It perceives everything like a piece of a puzzle that must fit together in some way.
The mind is pleased when it’s able to fit everything together, and it can get a little upset when it is unable to do so. This special mirror also perceives an image of the people around us, and by extension, ourselves. This image of ourselves is none other than our self-esteem.
Think of self-esteem like a dance performed by our senses as we construct the puzzle of something bigger: love for oneself, for what is depicted and drawn with each little movement that we make.
Why is self-esteem important?
The answer is simple: because self-esteem is present in everything that we do. Like a chef that adds a magic secret ingredient to his recipes, we add our self-esteem to our actions. The way we see ourselves will condition the goals that we choose to strive for and the way we treat other people.
So, if we have a low self-esteem, we will shoot for goals that are clearly below our potential. And the possibilities of leaving our comfort zone will shrink, which also hurts our potential.
A low self-esteem can also affect our relationships with other people. It is a source of timidity and causes us to fear being assertive. It makes us feel and act as though we’re inferior to other people.
Also, it causes us to develop negative thoughts. You may have witnessed the following scene at some point: someone receives a reward that they deserve, but nevertheless, you can see in their eyes that they don’t think they deserve it. Having a negatively biased image of ourselves keeps us from enjoying our achievements, and therefore, from celebrating them the way we deserve.
What characterizes a healthy self-esteem?
A healthy self-esteem involves being vulnerable. We don’t need to protect our self-image if its foundations are strong. We don’t need to hide behind a shell of aloofness or shyness, nor egocentrism or the subjugation of others. A healthy self-esteem is not tightly restricted because it evolves and grows with us.
Moreover, a healthy self-esteem is free of the blindness and competitiveness that comes with egocentrism. It is vulnerable so that one’s feelings can be what they truly are, so they can form a part of one’s being. It gives the same weight to successes and failures, and it takes intention into account.
A healthy self-esteem produces love, generosity, and enthusiasm, because through it we see that we all have something valuable to give. Something that can help our family, group of friends, society, or the entire world. Lastly, because we’re conscious of the value that we have, we allow ourselves to accept the appreciation of others, and maybe even give it to ourselves.
How can we develop a good self-esteem?
The relationship between self-esteem and the rest of the elements in our lives is bidirectional. The same things that promote a good self-esteem also help it to grow and remain strong.
Correctly choosing the challenges that we want to take on – so that along the way we can maximize our strength and improve on our weak points – can be the first step. These challenges shouldn’t be too big or too small; they should require effort but a huge sacrifice.
If we feel like we’re very far away from reaching our goal, it’s a good idea to set smaller, intermediate goals that will bring us satisfaction when we achieve them. It’s also good to add alternative activities into the mix, because they’ll be a good way to escape temporarily when we experience a setback.
Secondly, keep yourself moving. Get healthy and let your body spread out and move the way it was meant to. When we do that, we rattle our thoughts, letting gravity do the work, so that they become disentangled.
An important note on the subject of exercise: becoming obsessed with our image won’t help us in any way. However, taking care of it and feeling the gratification of a good physical appearance can lend a hand to our self-esteem.
Our image vs. other people’s image
As we said at the beginning, a parallel of images exists in our minds. Continuing with this topic, we’ve seen how unique and different the image of our self-esteem is.
This reflection, self-esteem, not only gives us an idea of who we are, but also of how we appear to other people. And here is where the paradox comes in; it’s precisely our friends, family, enemies, and acquaintances who determine the angle at which we place ourselves in front of the mirror.
Knowing how to gauge their opinions and giving necessary importance to them will be the last – and maybe most important – factor in having a good self-esteem. Carefully considering the relevance of external feedback will fertilize the field where your self-esteem can grow strong roots and vulnerable skin.