Self-esteem has been defined by one person as the degree to which one likes him or herself. When you are satisfied with who you are your self-esteem is high and you depend less on the valuation or assessments of others. When your self-esteem is low, greater weight is given to the opinions of others.
Growing up, what reasons did you use to determine your self-esteem? If you were like many, there were so many things about you for which you could have been dissatisfied. Some people thought they were too short. Others were taller than everyone in their age group, which resulted in them standing out (no pun intended) in the crowd. Some people were ‘thick-boned’ while others were ‘nothing-but-bones’. Those who had long hair had it pulled. Those with short hair had their heads rubbed. Regardless of your physical features, for many of us, there was always something wrong with us – something that we used to diminish our value. Personally, I found entirely too many reasons to like myself less.
Interestingly enough, in retrospect, it was not that I liked myself less. My self-centeredness revolved around what I felt others thought about me. I listened to the comments that others made but I listened to the people who were also self-conscious; individuals who were also struggling to find their value. As I matured, I realized that I was listening to the wrong people.
Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with a quote that goes something like, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” Thankfully, there were people around me who gave input about me that helped me understand and appreciate my true value. They pointed out the positive attributes to the things that I under-appreciated. There was one person in particular, who although she is no longer around, spoke into my life some words that forever changed my outlook. With her assistance, as well as many others, I began to understand that, although there were things about me that were different than others, I was the only one who possessed the right to assess or diminish my worth.
As I have opportunity to interact with some of the people from my past, I hear over and over that I have added value to the lives of others. And that is the fulfillment of my personal mission. I strive daily to positively impact the lives of everyone with whom I come in contact. My message is simple: YOU ARE IMPORTANT – TELL EVERYONE – EXCLUDE NO ONE – REACH SOMEONE!
Celebrate the YOU-niqueness that is you. Of all the people on the earth, those who have gone before and those who will come after, none will ever be just like you. It is a testimony to the value you possess. Each of your experiences, each of your exposures has harmoniously worked to create the wonderful person that you are. You are the best you to ever grace the earth. Someone’s life has been enriched by you.
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