Interesting thought… right? Why do I rely on others so much to give me information that I use to establish my self-esteem? SELF… esteem, SELF… worth. Take a look closely…. the word “others” is nowhere to be found.
One of the most important periods of my life, regarding self-worth, was the summer that I graduated from high school. Remember high school? There were all of these categories that you and I were suppose to try to fit into… Athletic Jock, Cheerleader, Class Officer, Honor Society, Popular Group…and…”The Rest of Us”. The rest of us who tried to occasionally fit into something predefined by some unwritten rule of who was cool, and who was not. But after graduation, suddenly, we were all the same! Hum… That’s interesting. Something that most of us spent so much time and emotional effort in trying to accomplish really didn’t matter at all! Why was that so stressful? It was not as big of a deal as we were all making it out to be.
So, who am I… and who are you? Let’s spend some time discovering this concept.
There are two types of behaviors that help us establish who we are. Internal and External Validation.
External validation is the easiest to understand and identify throughout our life. This is simply a compliment from others. When someone says something nice about us that makes us feel good. They are validating something positive about us that we can use to piece together our self-worth. This is what we kept looking for in high school, but if people were not in the stands cheering our name we felt left out, or not good enough. This was the false definition of self-worth that we were taught through actions of others on a grandiose unrealistic scale.
I invite you to take this next week and listen closely what others say to you. Really listen. Things like… You’re a great friend; You are so thoughtful; Dinner was awesome; You’re good at your job; I love you; Thanks for your help… and, on, and on. Don’t just dismiss these as people just being nice. If you listen closely, information will surface from others regarding YOUR strengths and characteristics that you should be PROUD of. Use these compliments to begin to create your self-esteem. They will help you feel positive about yourself.
Ok, I said that was the easy one. Sadly, if anyone of us solely uses external validation as our only tool for establishing our self-worth, we will be missing out of having a healthy self-esteem.
Here… is the secret you’ve been looking for your entire life: INTERNAL VALIDATION.
It’s time for you to take control of how you feel about yourself. An honest and true feeling, not something made up based upon pretending, but REAL. So, if you’re now going to take control of your self-esteem, it means it’s time for you to get busy. Let’s start with this one…Ready?
“Nobody ever says hi to me at school, at work, or just walking a hallway”. I’m nobody important. Does this describe you? Well… that problem just went “bye-bye”!
Tomorrow, throughout your day, when someone approaches you within 10 feet… try to make eye contact with them and say Hi. Say hi even if they don’t look you in the eyes. Just that tiny effort changed your entire day. People are noticing you now and responding back with their own greeting. Suddenly everyone is saying hi to you. (For those who don’t respond, you can’t take it personal. It’s very likely that person needs lots of continued kindness to get through a personal matter. Seek them out each day, and keep trying).
I’ll give you another thought with this. People today are becoming self-centered, mainly looking out for what’s in it for them. Their focus is entirely on them. Because of this, it’s becoming uncommon for others to reach out and help one another. Take that knowledge and make a difference. You be that person and reach out to someone in a loving gesture… “Just thinking about you.. Everything ok?” You be the one throwing out compliments to others. You drop a 2 liter bottle of root beer and ice cream to a neighbor and tell them, “Root beer floats are on me tonight.. Just thinking about you guys”. Take action and make a difference in someone’s life. Make kindness a part of your personality. It’s worth the effort.
Here’s another concept that I learned from the women in my life. You be that person that gets involved helping someone who needs help. And…. Here it comes…You just listen! You don’t have to solve things… just listen. Listening can be such a strength that builds self-worth. They will see you as their hero…and… What does that do to your self-worth? Are you getting this?
The bombshell here is that by doing things such as these, you have just discovered that you have control over creating and growing your healthy self-esteem. You are not leaving it up to others to build it for you. You feel good about yourself because of something you did, rather than waiting for someone to externally validate you. This one discovery is monumental in our self-esteem development. You take charge, you make it happen, and YOU decide how you feel about yourself. Let the negative bounce off for a change. Soak in the goodness that you have created. If you’re down today, go show kindness to someone.. it in turn will change YOUR day too.
My promise to you is that when your focus is on helping others, you will find yourself! And, when you find yourself… Your Self-Worth will be at the level that you are looking for.. which is… AWESOME! You are someone important on the rock because of the difference YOU are making in other peoples lives. Now… how does that feel?