Meditation: Calm, Relationship with Self Series: Self-Esteem Length: 11 minutes Where: Bedroom, Los Angeles How It Felt: Beautiful
Just as I sat down to write this post, I realized I’ve been having a lot of different conversations with people about confidence and self-esteem lately. People are introspective and different after a year of being somewhat or fully isolated. They are examining their lives and priorities. There is a lot of growth that happens when we have to face ourselves and how we really feel. Pretty powerful stuff.
When asked where I get my confidence I chalk it up to three things.
One, you build a lot of confidence just going for it. Just doing the thing, failing, trying again, sometimes succeeding. You can’t build confidence if you don’t try!
Two, I was lucky to have family that built up my self-esteem in a really healthy way when I was very young. My family really loves me and appreciates me for who I am, even if we don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to certain issues. My parents also celebrated my strengths, though that became more…. strained at certain points. I think healthy self-esteem starts very young, at least that makes it a lot easier, so I’m incredibly grateful for this.
Three, and most importantly, I learned to laugh at myself. This is the number one thing I would say to anyone struggling with self-worth. Laugh at yourself! If you can’t, you’ll suffer terribly. I grew up with a family that loves to laugh, loves to tell stories of embarrassing moments we had and have others laugh with us, loves to find the humor in the ridiculous moments of life. If we trip and fall, we are reenacting it for the entire family over cards the next weekend.
When someone can’t laugh at themselves, it means every hard situation is going to reach maximum pain level. If you mess up and all you feel is shame and embarrassment, it’s hard to get over that moment. The ability to laugh at yourself tells the world you know you are human and that means you aren’t perfect, but you’ve made peace with that. It means the people around you don’t have to feel terrible for you or awkward around you. It means everyone is allowed to make mistakes, because you accept mistakes in yourself.
Plus, it’s a way to take the power back. If I point out something crazy I did and laugh at it, no one else can really sneak around making fun of me. I mean, they could, but why? We can all laugh together! On top of which, life is going to kick our asses sometimes. You’ll get handed situations you didn’t want and can’t control. Are you going to be miserable about it, or get to a point where you can laugh about it? I know, for myself, when three or four things go wrong in a row, sometimes all I can do is laugh. It’s life! This is how it is some days!
It just takes the tension out of being human. Surviving as a human being is challenging enough! Why make it as stressful as possible on top of that by holding yourself and the world around you to a standard of perfection?
Think about the people you love to be around. They are probably people who don’t take life too seriously! These people are loose and fun and easy. I know I feel unbelievably stressed around people who crumple like paper as soon as things go slightly wrong. I spend a lot of time comforting and taking care of them, reassuring them it’s all going to be okay. It’s exhausting.
I’m not blaming these people. I think a lot of times the inability to laugh at yourself comes from growing up in a home (or maybe being in a long term relationship or marriage) where you are not allowed to mess up at all. I’ve seen this behavior in people close to me over the years, including, at times, my husband and step-kids, especially in the early years. These folks tend to freeze up and look terrified when something goes wrong. You can just see them waiting to be yelled at or scolded, made to feel like a terrible person for making a mistake.
If this is you, remind yourself this isn’t your fault. Try to locate the source of this shame- it can usually be traced back pretty directly to someone in our past. This type of abuse can run deep but it can be healed! Everyone deserves to still feel lovable and whole even when they mess something up, deserves to feel safe being a human being. I’m so passionate about this.
If you have people in your life who continually make you feel like a screw up or a failure, do whatever you can to get space from those people. Move away from those relationships. I cannot recommend this enough! No one should be surrounded by people who try to tear them down- especially if those people claim to love you. This would mess up anyone’s self-esteem and world view! The people who love you are supposed to treat you with love. That means patience, kindness, understanding, all that good stuff!
Man, sometimes I wish I could just wrap the whole world in a giant hug and say, “you’re okay.”
Ok, speaking of people we love, finishing up some last tasks today before picking Steve up at the airport tonight and meeting my uncles in Vegas tomorrow! I’m so excited I could explode. Hoping to come back with sore abs from laughing, a sweet tan, and a bag full o’ money! As long as we do the first one, though, I’ll be more than satisfied!!