Many people who harbor issues with their self-esteem tend to short-change themselves from living life to its fullest potential. In this post I’m going to refer to some of our physical attributes we find ourselves being self-critical about that potentially become handicaps for fully enjoying all aspects of our lives.
Let’s start by talking about some of the reasons why some people may refuse to go to a school reunion, as an example. These people feel they may not have lived up to expectations that fellow classmates may have labelled them as most likely to have succeeded at something. Many people feel embarrassed to be seen in these circles of a past life because of how much they’ve physically changed through the years and decades. And these feelings are usually more prominent for some who perhaps may not have aged so gracefully, gained a few pounds through the years, or even possibly may not have accomplished in life what they feel others may have expected of them. It’s not difficult to understand that our inner insecurities would be highlighted in such social situations if we are suffering a lack of self-confidence.
You may think I may be referring specifically to the female population here more than men, but I have no doubts these issues of harboring low self-esteem can definitely pertain to the male species as well. While the male population may not always focus on their physical attributes as much as many women do and may not worry about how they no longer look like the Prom Queen they once were, or perhaps the popular cheerleader they once were, they have their own insecurities about success levels they may or may not have achieved, or quite often just enough lack of self- esteem from going bald at an early age or becoming a far cry from the school sports jock they once were.
Whatever spurs these feelings of inadequacy will differ for each individual, but the bottom line is that often we get stuck in the past with our former looks and accomplishments when it comes to facing old friends or peers from the past. In those moments of fearing our sensitivity and self-conscience about our appearance, it can become an intimidating factor. While holding those fears, we don’t take any consideration for the fact that the very people we’re intimidated to face will undoubtedly also have aged because we’re only focused on the attributes we’re not happy about with our own selves. This will occur more in people who have carried insecurities with themselves most of their lives despite never being Prom Queens or jocks, and those who were never popular in school in their younger years.
It’s difficult to change our self perceptions and self-criticisms, especially if we’ve been a tough self-critic most of our lives. Those self-criticisms become a wall we put up that grows bigger as we age, often leading many to becoming homebodies.
I don’t profess to be a psychologist nor do I have any fancy credentials beside my name, but I’ve been a studier of people since I was a wee child and my empathic nature helps me read between the lines of silence or that of an over-powering personality when I’m speaking with someone who harbors insecurities about themselves. In many of my own books, I discuss openly about my own insecurities and how I’ve learned to overcome them. I can say with certainty that it’s not always easy and it’s taken me years to become a self-confident person despite acknowledging my own flaws. But I want to emphasize here that if we could learn to love ourselves by focusing on the good things about ourselves as human beings rather than self-criticizing for all we are not, it’s a great starting point for growing and learning to project a self-confidence. And eventually, we can find ourselves feeling more acceptable and comfortable around others.
Besides learning to commend ourselves for our finer attributes and all the wonderful contributions we’ve made to others and our communities, we should all learn to walk away from negative people who criticize us and others. We can’t change people, but we can always take steps to change ourselves and our choices in who we wish to keep company with. We need to take a step back and look at our accomplishments, the good things we’ve done for ourselves, our families, our communities. We need to step past our egos and take pride in who we are, all we’ve overcome and remember our younger selves for who we were then, with so much less knowledge and power that we earned with time and hold now from life experiences.
We are who we are, not what we look like or how much money we’ve made or lost. If we aren’t getting the vote of confidence from those in the circles we are keeping, we really need to re-evaluate the people we allow into our inner circles. If we don’t have a support system at home to lift us instead of berating us then this may be something to reflect on and discuss with those in our home lives. As for friendships, if they aren’t uplifting and don’t make us feel worthy in any fashion, it’s time to let go of those friendships. It is often the people we choose to keep in our close circles that are indicators of our happiness meters. If we have friends that congratulate us on our victories, give our confidence a boost when it is sorrily lacking, or can laugh with us, not at us, then we’re halfway there with a healthy self-confidence and self-acceptance. This contentment we feel around others leaves us with a comfortable feeling with ourselves, and one that gives us the courage to get on with our lives and exposure to outside influences with a feeling of self-satisfaction and helps to break down the barriers of not feeling confident enough to meet anyone any time in our daily endeavors without dwelling on whatever physical attributes we may feel we’re lacking. The over abundance of positive people we keep in our circles will undoubtedly lift our self-esteems, just as easily as being around negative people on a daily basis will contribute to those walls we often tend to box ourselves into when we have no positive influencers in our lives.
Remember: Self-confidence is built on daily acceptance of who we are, how far we’ve come, what we give and get from others. It’s not about being a certain size or how many wrinkles we’ve dodged. Traveling in circles with positive people is key to building self-confidence. And our delicate psyches can be so easily torn down by a lack of those positive people in our lives when living in a negative environment. It’s up to us all to evaluate what’s good and what’s not in our lives and to make the necessary corrections to begin living a life more fulfilled by opening ourselves up to the many good people and opportunities there are when we step out of our egos and into the outside world.