I’ve never been comfortable in my own skin. As a child, I was stuck hiding behind glasses, relying on Barbie for moral support, and using humor as a crutch in difficult situations. As a 33 year old, not much has changed. I was lucky enough to get Lasik surgery so the glasses disappeared, but I’m the same awkward person now that I was as an adolescent.
When we grow up, much of our self-worth is calculated by others around us. We lean on our parents to give us guidance and keep us informed of how much we are loved. Our siblings are our first friends. They teach us how to unconditionally love, even if they stole our toys or got away with so much more because they were older. They were always there. As we grow up, our friends get added to that support system. It’s their job to constructively criticize us, from our actions, to relationship opinions, to advise that we really shouldn’t substitute Payless shoes for the real thing, but will love us anyways, even if we do.
Without family and friends around, it’s hard to garner self-love. Having self-esteem isn’t innate. You’re not born with it. The circumstances around you determine how confident you are as a person.
Every action is a direct result of every other action that preceded it. If you don’t know where you’re coming from, how do you really know where you are going? It’s important to look back on all of the experiences that have shaped us. I don’t know why I have low self-esteem. I know I put up with a lot, and sometimes question my self-worth because of how I am treated. I apologize for things that are not my fault. And I value myself based on the opinions of others. This isn’t healthy. But every day is a battle and I am a warrior. I look back at the wars I have fought internally and externally. I’m not always proud of the outcome but I think having a critical rearview eye helps.
These days I’m trying to find my footing and surround myself with people who want the best for me. It’s not always easy. Standing my ground hasn’t always been my strong point, but I find it’s getting easier with age. I have less time for situations where I am not appreciated, cherished or, at the very least, simply respected.