Friday, November 13, 2009
REAL vs. FAKE Self Esteem
So this topic came to me in the middle of writing another blog. I had to post this first because it is extremely important to distinguish a real versus fake opinion of ones self. As of lately I have seen so many people obsessed with LOOKING like they are confident. However this is very different from actually being confident. So here are some questions to air out that emotional baggage you may be carrying about your self image.
1) Do I see beauty in being an imperfect human?
Almost everyday I scan my facebook and twitter pages to see how people lives are going. One thing that I find interesting is that some of my friends are ALWAYS posting status driven statuses (I know you like the wordplay :)). Now don't get me wrong I am not saying air out your dirty laundry via facebook or that there is anything wrong with positive emotions, but there is something real and refreshing about someone who paints themselves are a flawed human. There are going to be some days you don't feel like a don, a 5 star bitch, a boss, a diva, etc, etc. But it seems like even in their worst hours, people are determined to make others feel like their lives are perfection. If you are only comfortable faking superiority or posting pictures of how your life is better than everyone elses, perhaps you need to evaluate your NEED for this. If you fake it, you never will really make it.
Instead realize that some days you will feel more confident than others and on these days lacking that self assurance you can face your feelings and issues head on instead of submerging your feelings under things that really don't make you any better of a person.
2) Do I need constant reassurance?
Like any human, we crave attention and reassurance but lack of confidence is evident in needing constant reassurance. You know the people....that have to twitter "At the club with Person A"...."At the mall with person B"..."Here's a picture of me doing something crazy" . People craving retweets and status replies. Here's a news flash: if what you were doing was so much fun, you probably would not be thinking of how people on the Internet will react to what you are doing. Always needing validation leads to nothing but confusion and more self doubt. What happens when nobody seems to care about something you thought they would? Do your emotions free fall?
Instead try to lead the life that you want to lead, not the life you believe would get the most envious stares and gossip bits, because sadly most of those people are laughing at you not with you. Set a plan in action of where you want to be in 10 years and before you go act on a whim ask yourself if this is going to get you any closer to THAT goal. The best way to get people to notice is to be original, be confident, and be genuine. Those three are in short supply.
3) Do I like other people like me?
A lot of times people with low self esteem transfer their negative feelings about themselves onto other people who portray similar characteristics. Do you find yourself randomly disliking people? If so there may be something in that person that is mirroring something you do not like about yourself. Don't idolize people you are nothing like. That will always lead to self doubt. Instead find role models that encompass who are you and could grow into.
When we were all growing up there weren't many women portrayed that were brown skin successful women that weren't mean, controlling, or bitter. As a child my three chicks were Stacey Dash, Kenya Moore, and my mom. Stacey Dash usually portrayed a sweet quiet spoken woman. Kenya Moore was a beautiful brown skin Miss USA that excelled in philantrophy. My mother has the most strength class and wisdom of anyone I know. I started to really love being Ashley Kennedy and believed that I, just as I am physically and mentally, could encompass all those things. Love for myself grew leaps and bounds. Try your hardest to like people that look like you, have the same goals as you, think like you, and act like you. Who you REALLY are is to be celebrated. As you begin to love them, you in turn begin to love myself.
4) Can I be alone?
Now this is an interesting one a friend and I discussed. A little test to see how you really feel about yourself is to go home alone, sit down, and try to just relax in bed with no mindless television or music. If you can't face the thoughts in your head, most of the time you are lacking true self esteem. Most people keep busy so as not to face themselves.
If this is the case, then really listen to what you're thinking and feeling for those few moments. Let the insecurities creep in so you can find the root and destroy them. Lack of self esteem usually comes from ideas that aren't true to begin with:
"I am the only one that feels this way" - WRONG. Like Kanye says we're all self conscious and you're just admitting it.
"People have it better than me" - WRONG. 2 things always ring true: Life is what you make it and tribulations affect everyone. Every person has had a day when they are the fall guy. Today is just yours.
"People don't care about me" - WRONG. To be honest the general public doesn't care about anything. Most people on your friend list would not even notice if you didn't post for 5 years. And they are not being mean, people are living their own lives. However, you DO have your squad of people in your life that are your cheerleaders. Focus on spending time with the people that actually care about you instead of impressing people that barely know you are there.
Now doing these three things will not be an instant access to self esteem but it will get you in the right mindset to deal with any negative emotions you have. And believe me it is worth it to deal with some negative emotions to promote overall good mental health and positive self image. I write this because I am going through it as we speak as I know many others are. Remember, you can't fake it until you make it so deal with it and be the person you are portraying for real.