One day about a year ago, I told my dad that I had struggled with self-esteem issues. He was extremely shocked at my statement and he asked why I would feel this way because he said, “everyone loves me”. He went on to say that all his friends always compliment how wonderful I am.
I thought it was interesting how my dad associated my self-esteem with the acceptance of others. If everyone loved me, then I should love myself right? This is the way most of us will think: that the way we feel about ourselves should be based on if we’re accepted by others.
I had this mentality growing up because I constantly compared myself to others. For example, if I saw a beautiful woman with a thin waist, I’d instantly wish I had a thin waist so I can look at beautiful as her. I think many of us compare ourselves like this.
I’ve also noticed that when I go out with my group of girl friends, I’ll get more dressed up than I would if I went out with my husband. Why? Because if you’re in a group of women who are all wearing dresses and heels to dinner, you will feel compelled to wear a similar outfit so you can look just as nice as them.
It’s sad that this way of matching others is the way many women (and even men) think today. It’s all about comparing ourselves with others because we care too much about what others think.
I struggled with these self-esteem issues for a while but I recently learned that there are actually two separate ideas: self-esteem and self-worth. Self-esteem is what we think of ourselves but it’s usually based on what others say to us, such as praise, compliments, or disapproval. So the reality is that our self-esteem can constantly change because we base it off of what others say.
But self-worth is not supposed to change because it’s how we value ourselves personally. It’s the high standard we are supposed to set ourselves at. However, we tend to combine self-esteem and self-worth together. We tend to rely on what others think of us in order to determine our own value.
We are taught to determine our self-worth based off how much others like us, compliment us, and accept us. Then when they don’t like us or accept us, we no longer like ourselves. We are no longer valuable. We are no longer worth anything because they don’t think we are worth anything.
But I think it’s time we go against the norm and separate our self-esteem and our self-worth. Our self-worth should never change. It’s how we value ourselves, not how others value us. So it’s time to ask ourselves… “who defines your worth?”