All Articles Tagged "low self-esteem"
Why Be Intimidated By Other Sistahs? We Can ALL Shine: How I Learned To Deal With Feelings Of Inadequacy
A few weeks ago, I reported on the moving speech delivered by Gabrielle Union at Essence’s Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon. During her speech, the Being Mary Jane actress discussed masking her feelings of inadequacy and being intimidated by other beautiful and successful women.
“We live in a town that rewards pretending. I had been pretending to be fierce and fearless for a very long time. I was a victim masquerading as a survivor… I used to shrink in the presence of other dope beautiful women. I used to revel in gossip and rumors, and I lived for the negativity inflicted upon my sister actresses or anyone who I felt whose shine diminished my own.”
Something about those words resonated with me. I remember playing the video clip of her speech over and over, in complete awe of her courage and transparency. I was taken back to a time where I greatly struggled with low self-esteem; a time when feelings of inadequacy and condemning thoughts took permanent residency in mind.
I remembered the times when I’d feel down on myself after another woman made a major accomplishment or less than beautiful because I was in the presence of another fabulous and attractive woman. I reflected on the days where I was overly ambitious and nearly killed myself trying to be perfect. Not merely because I simply wanted to attain whatever goal I was striving towards, but because I wanted to ensure that my family was proud of me. As if I was somehow earning their love. As if when stripped of everything, I was somehow unworthy of being loved by them, but with every degree earned, accomplishment made and reward received, I was somehow earning my keep. At least that’s what my subconscious mind believed.
It took me so long to even recognize that I had a problem and come to grips with the fact that although I may have appeared to have it all together outwardly, inside I was a mess. Inside was a disturbed and insecure young woman, who no matter what equation she used to gauge her worth, never quite measured up.
Black women are simply amazing, so it’s not strange to believe that every once in a while we may feel a bit intimidated by one another, but the point is not tear each other down, but instead to build one another up. I believe this was best summarized in an October piece on Clutch entitled “Special Enough” written by Jamilah Lemeiux:
“Black girls are awesome, right? We talk about this all the time. We’re fierce, funky, and fly. We make trends, we transcend. You go to any ‘hood in America and you can find sisters who are no less stunning than the Halle Berrys and Kelly Rowlands on TV. We’re dope. In Brooklyn, I am constantly surrounded by stunning, accomplished, Black magic women. And I feel very much empowered as a part of this tribe. Glamazon women. Urban warriors. Dust daughters.”
“But I can’t lie: it’s some days where I just feel like I’m not enough.”
Feelings of inadequacy are rarely discussed, so we’re made to think we’re abnormal in sometimes feelings this way, but the truth of the matter is, it’s really not abnormal at all. What really matters is what we choose to do with those thoughts and feelings. One day I made up my mind to no longer be a victim to my thoughts and emotions. I decided that I would no longer dwell on condemning thoughts that made me feel as if I was anything less than a talented and beautiful black woman. I cleansed my mind of the ideology that someone else’s success and progress somehow dimmed my own. And finally, I vowed to cease comparing myself to other people. It was a long road, but I eventually got to the point where I learned to sincerely celebrate others without viewing their triumphs as some kind of impedance of my own success, and I like to believe that I am a better person because of it.
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.
Q: “I’m 47 years and my boyfriend lives with me. I’ve been very depressed and confused lately. I haven’t had relations with my boyfriend for six months, due to his decreased libido. He has seen the doctor who says it may stem from his high blood pressure and possibly his age—he’s over 50. I’m also trying to cope with loving myself. I have low self-esteem and I want to please everybody; family, friends and strangers. But at the end of the day, I’m sad. I want some affection and attention from my man, and I want to learn how to love myself too. What to do?”
See what celebrity psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake has to say about this situation on Essence.com.
Brand New Kind Of Me: How I Overcame My Low Self-Esteem And Negativity To Be A Better Me (And You Can Do It Too…)
Self-esteem is defined as “a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.” While it seems that loving one’s self is a basic act that should go without saying, it is often an ability that is taken for granted by those who don’t struggle with it. Being confident and having self-esteem does not mean that you are perfect, but that you have made the conscious decision to love yourself regardless of your faults and shortcomings. If you find that you struggle with self-esteem, know that you do not have to live this way and that you can overcome this poor image you have of yourself if you really put your mind to it. I know because I’ve been there. Here are 10 things that assisted me in overcoming the negative and distorted image that I had of myself and hopefully they can help you, too.
1. Identify the problem
Recognizing the exact source of your insecurity is a crucial step in overcoming low self-esteem. It is impossible to fix an issue when you are unable to identify the root of it. Are you unhappy with some physical feature about yourself? Is there some personality flaw that you believe you have? According to Dr. John M. Grohol of Psych Central, in order to overcome this issue, you have to first locate your “irrational thoughts.” He suggests creating a a duel-sided list where you compile 10 of your strengths and 10 of your weaknesses.
2. Think about what you’re thinking about
This golden nugget was provided by Joyce Meyer’s best-selling book Battlefield of the Mind where she coaches and encourages readers to be triumphant in their battle against negative thinking. One of the tips offered is to become aware of the thoughts that you entertain. Many times negatives thoughts will enter our minds and we allow them to take residence in our thought process for the long haul. In becoming more conscious of your thoughts, you can effectively dismiss those that are self-condemning and hateful. It takes work and discipline, but it is very possible. As we know, our thoughts become our words and our words become our actions. It all starts in the mind.
3. Set a (realistic) goal
Achieving a goal that has significant meaning to you is a great way to give your confidence a boost. It doesn’t have to be something major, but something that you would view as a personal victory. Have you been meaning to drop that extra 5 lbs that you unknowingly picked up? Feeling the urge to go back to school? Go for it. Keep a written record on your victories, you’ll be able to reflect back on them later.
4. Pick up an exercise routine
You don’t have to go overboard and try to be the next Donna Richardson, but even light exercise will have you not only feeling better, but looking better as well. Physical activity has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health as well as self-image.
5. Pick up a hobby
What do you enjoy doing? If you like to sing, think about taking some voice lessons just for fun or joining your church or community choir. If you enjoy dancing try signing up for a dance class at your neighborhood recreational center. Focusing on something you’re good at is a sure way increase the manner in which you view yourself.
6. Resist the urge to compare
The temptation to compare yourself to other people is ever present and a threat to many. Comparing yourself to others will generally leave you feeling down on yourself and it’s a habit that should be broken immediately. Recognize that no two people are alike and that just because another person is strong in an area where you feel that you are weak does not make you any less than they are.
7. Don’t hate, congratulate
I know this is a really corny saying, but it’s true. The green-eyed monster loves to show up when someone else has made a major accomplishment, but before you allow him to overtake you, stop and think. Make an attempt at generally being happy for the person and congratulate them, because I’m sure you would want the same love from your friends and family. You’ll feel a lot better.
8. Add to or upgrade your wardrobe
It is important to realize that confidence comes from within, but there’s nothing wrong with feeling good about the way you look, and sometimes a new outfit or two can do the trick. Don’t put yourself in debt or max out your credit cards, but there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to something nice.
9. Compliment others
I’m not sure what it is about making someone else smile, but it makes you feel good too. The next time the girl in the cubicle next to yours comes in with some fly new shoes, tell her. If you’ve noticed that the usher at church has lost weight, let her know how great she looks. I promise that releasing positivity and positive energy into the atmosphere usually always make you feel good.
10. Meditate on how God sees you
Sometimes it is difficult to see the greatness inside of you, but constantly reminding yourself of how God views you is a great start. Memorizing scriptures such as Psalm 139: 13-16 or Ephesians 2:10 that reinforce the idea that you are a divinely created being who is deeply loved by the One who created you is a strategic way to put a smile on your face.
What are some other ways that you boost your self-esteem on days you’re running low?
All photos are courtesy of Shutterstock
About 10 years ago, I dated an Asian man. This in and of itself was not particularly unique. By that point I’d dated white men, black men and Hispanic men and briefly had an Asian pseudo-boyfriend in high school. As a biracial woman who grew up in a family where get-togethers looked like diversity workshops, I viewed interracial dating as ordinary. I was interested in getting to know an individual, not some member of a particular racial group. Apparently my then-boyfriend didn’t feel the same way.
He told me at some early stage of our relationship—I don’t remember if we were still friends or had become romantically involved—that his ideal woman was half-white and half-Asian, supposedly because he thought that mix produced the best-looking females. I suspect there was more to it than just appearance. In a society where “white is right,” he probably felt that a half-white, half-Asian significant other would allow him to remain loyal to his family’s cultural traditions while he racially “upgraded” in his own mind.
And I guess it was his right to have his own “ideal woman.” We all have qualities that we seek in a potential partner, whether they’re mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial or racial. I’m just not sure he needed to make it so clear that my half-Italian, half-black background didn’t conform to his version of perfect.
There were other warning signs I should have heeded. We worked for the same company and he insisted on hiding our relationship from co-workers. When he called me at work he would give a fake name and scold me if I accidentally slipped and called him by his real one. When I called him at work he’d tell his co-workers it was “the Lauren from the food court,” though I’ve never had a food court affiliation.
His so-called reasoning was that he was slightly higher on the professional food chain than I was, and he didn’t want to jeopardize his position by dating a subordinate—even though we worked at different stores and he was not my boss. The real reason, I know now, was that he was ashamed of me. And if I’d had enough courage to open my eyes and confront that fact, I would have had no option but to leave.
Instead I hung around until he got tired of me. I almost wasn’t surprised when he broke up with me a few months later and told me that despite his previous declarations of love, which had come complete with a bouquet of handmade, tissue-paper roses on Valentine’s Day, he never actually loved me.
Immature as his actions seem to me now, he was not really the problem. The issue was not that he painted a picture of an ideal woman who was not me, or that he hid our relationship from co-workers, or that he took back the love he’d professed. The real issue was that I chose to be with someone who did all of these things.
Though being overly cocky and full of yourself is never a good thing, the opposite side of the spectrum isn’t any better. Low self-esteem isn’t just unhealthy for your well being, it can also cause your relationships to suffer, which can further lessen your self-esteem. Here are 14 ways that low self-esteem can ruin a relationship.
I nervously fidgeted in the hard classroom chair. It was finally my first day of graduate school and my professor had just requested that each student stand up, one by one and introduce themselves as well as the business that they would be looking to develop during their time as an MBA student. After apprehensively scanning the room, I gulped. Every student sat confidently and poised as if they had it altogether. I swore my rapidly beating heart could be heard by everyone in the room as each student spoke of their business plan with assurance that it would change the world of media as we know it. After hearing business idea after business idea I realized that not one student was working on anything even close to what I was working on. Failing to realize that this was a gift instead of a curse I quickly made an appointment with my professor, hoping to pick her brain to see if I should shift gears and change direction of the company that I was seeking to build. She quickly reassured me that I was fine and that many successful and unique businesses were birthed out of our program. “Don’t allow what everyone else is doing to cause you to doubt yourself. One student has absolutely nothing to do with another, it’s like apples and oranges,” she said to me before shooing me out of her office. I learned a valuable lesson that day.
We all face the temptation to compare ourselves to those around us, it is human nature. It is sometimes how we measure our own progression, successes, and failures. While this may be a natural behavior, it isn’t always a healthy one. Making a habit out of trying to appraise your own self-worth by paralleling your life against that of another can be detrimental to your mental and emotional well-being. This behavior will often place one on the road to feelings of unhappiness, inferiority, inadequacy, failure, envy, and a host of other undesired emotions. Living in the age of social media, with platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which give us the ability to voyeur into the lives of others with the mere click of a mouse, only intensifies the ever present temptation to compare. We’ve all sat in front of the computer at one point or another and while innocently scanning through one of our social media timeline’s, have come across a distant (or close) friend’s major life announcement that has caused us to question the place in which we are in our own lives. Whether it be a graduation announcement, a sonogram photo, new business venture, or a relationship status update, and so on.
So here’s the thing, one of the most enthralling things about life is that we were all created to be individuals. No two people are exactly the same. We all move at our own separate paces. Consider your life an unfinished work of art. How can it ever be considered a masterpiece if it is a mere copy of something else? Dr. Judith Orloff, author of Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life said it best in an April 2012 feature she wrote for the Huffington Post, “ Your life is explicitly designed for your own growth. Every person you meet, every situation you encounter, challenges you to become a stronger, more loving, and confident person.”
Social comparison can be a pretty difficult habit to break because it comes so naturally, but here are some things to remember that may help you out along the way:
1. You are one of a kind. There is literally no one walking this earth quite like you.
2. Life isn’t a competition so pursue what makes you happy in a pace that you are comfortable with.
3. Remind yourself of how wonderful you are.
4. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem to others.
5. Realize that you won’t always be the best at everything and that’s okay. Try focusing on beating your own best score instead of someone else’s, it will help measure your growth in a healthy way.
6. Be grateful for what you do have and what you’ve already accomplished, instead of harping on what you don’t.
7. Realize that everything that glitters isn’t gold. Just because a person appears to have it all on the outward doesn’t mean they actually do. You’ll never know a person’s full story until you’ve actually walked in their shoes.
8. It is cool to learn from the successes and failures of others, but don’t dwell on them.
9. It is impossible to keep up with the Joneses! They can’t even keep up with themselves.
Some women have dreamed of being married since the age of baby dolls and pigtails, so once they begin dating, every guy becomes a potential Prince Charming. As romantic as the notion of marriage may be, most people don’t stop to think if they are actually “marriage material.” Many think that simply because you fall in love and date for a year or two, marriage is the natural next step – but it’s not for everyone. If you DO decide that marriage is in your future, make sure you’re honest with yourself about what you bring to the table. After all, you can’t attract a man who possesses the traits of a good husband if you don’t display those traits yourself (and of course the same applies to men). If you’re unsure, these signs may indicate that you may not make a good wife – and have some work to do on yourself before you walk the aisle.
Is being confident relevant to one’s existence? Does it make a difference in having low or high self-esteem? What exactly is self-esteem? Self-esteem is the realistic respect, or favorable impression a person has of themselves. It is who one believes they are, believing in their abilities, or the lack thereof. It is also who one believes they can be or desire to be. Self-esteem or the lack of comes from within and is revealed in the way a person walks, talks, their style of dress, the way they interact with others, etc.
A person’s self-esteem is a key part in who they are, who they will become, and what they will do. It starts developing as a child, and continues to develop as an adult. The relationships we encounter, the people we surround ourselves with, our parents, community, etc. all play an intricate part in the initial development of self-esteem.
When picking between a “bad guy” or “nice guy,” often times the “bad guy” wins the fight, but why? It’s not so much that “nice” isn’t good, but for women I think being good and attractive are two different things.
Check out these 7 reasons why women end up with bad boys instead of nice guys…
Women’s misogynist behavior towards each other exposes something deep and dark within women’s relationships. For some reason our ability to support, protect and fight for each other is not always our first instinct. Whether this behavior stems from a childhood issue or it was something we learned from society, women are often too critical of one other. But why? Explore these 5 reasons for our competitive nature, and 5 ways we can change it today.