Low Self Esteem – Do You REALLY Know What It Looks Like?
I’ve been wanting for a long time to blow the lid off a major misconception that people have, so here goes.
I find it funny that when we talk about low self esteem, we often talk about obvious examples such as:
- The morbidly obese woman who eats as an emotional escape.
- The person who has slit his wrists several times in attempt to end his life because he feels he has nothing to live for.
- The woman who continuously attracts abusive men because she feels she’s not worthy of a man who treats her right.
- The guy who has no friends and hides in his basement because he thinks nobody likes him.
- The guy who’s on depression meds because he feels there’s nothing good about his life.
Whenever we see a person that displays at least one of these behaviours, we are immediately able to see that this person has low self-esteem.
So why is this funny?
Well because if you just take the chance to look beyond The Illusion, you would clearly see that low self esteem is A LOT more widespread than these examples that I just described above.
Often we look at the strikingly beautiful woman that stops traffic when she walks down the street, is able to get all these “freebies” and favours because of her looks, and is surrounded by men who literally would give a pound of their flesh for the chance to be with her, and we automatically assume that because of her looks she automatically has a high self-esteem.
Or we look at the guy who’s surrounded by women all the time, who women can’t keep their hand off of, and we think that because he gets all these women, he MUST have high self-esteem.
Or we see famous actors, or famous rock and pop stars that adorn the cover of magazines, have millions of screaming fans, wear the nicest clothes, drive the most expensive cars, and live in the most luxurious mansions in the most exclusive neighborhoods, and we envy them because they seem to us as being the epitome of someone with high self-esteem.
I mean, shouldn’t they have high self-esteem because of all the people that like them, all the money they have and all the success they enjoy?
If I were to suggest that someone epitomizing any of these people I mentioned had low self esteem, a chorus of protests (and possibly insults) would be hurled in my direction saying,
“How could she have low self-esteem, she’s beautiful, and everybody sweats her.”
Or, “No way, look at all this money he has and that beautiful car he has, if I had all that I would feel good about myself.”
Now don’t get me wrong, it actually may be that these people I gave examples of may very well have high self esteem, but not for the reasons why most people would think.
It’s very sad that because of The Illusion that looms over the world at large, anything that is shallow and fake is completely held up and glorified, and anything dealing with the TRUTH is treated like some radioactive substance that would cause massive damage if “unleashed” to the population at large, and thus put in a box and kept FAR AWAY for “safe keeping.”
In a world like this, where everything taught on a large scale about who we are is FALSE, it’s no wonder why we have no understanding about what true self-esteem is or looks like, and in turn why we’re unable to look beyond a farce and see the low self-esteem in ourselves or others.
Let me tell you something, low self-esteem is one of the most widespread, prevalent, misunderstood and most importantly SUBTLE of all the mental diseases out there that most people don’t even know they even have it
Mental disease you ask?
Yes, mental disease.
Anytime when something is abused, in time it will begin not to function properly, and when something is not functioning properly it is at dis-ease.
When you’re wounded (and everybody walking the planet has some type of emotional wound or another in varying degrees…..yes, you too), whether it was inflicted through what someone said to us that we took to heart, or what horrible things we’ve told ourselves over the years, we think of ourselves as not good enough when measured up to a certain standard, (a standard which always winds up being b.s.), and we thus behave in ways that reflect the fact that we don’t believe that we’re good enough.
When we are habitually used to expressing anything less than the fearfully and wonderfully made beings that we really are, we’re at dis-ease which is exemplified s low self esteem.
Now rather than deal with the core of the issue, we instead are taught by The Illusion to build ourselves up by buying a nice flashy sports car, or getting plastic surgery to achieve a certain look, or trying to keep up a certain appearance, or by getting with as many girls as possible, or becoming filthy rich, etc.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these things in and of themselves, but when you come from a place where you’re using these things to build yourself up into some fanciful identity, then you have a problem.
Many people think that they have a high self-esteem because of all the “cool” things they possess, or because they think that they’re good looking, or because “everybody” likes them, or because they get a lot of girls or because of all the amazing things they’ve accomplished.
And, many of these very people would get VERY defensive if you were to suggest that they had a low self-esteem, and would spout off the very things I listed as to why their self-esteem is high.
Yet, to the astute eye, what they’re really doing is showing their a** as to how insecure they really are based on how they hide their inadequacies.
YES, they may be confident, but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily have high self-esteem. If you disagree, just look at Kurt Cobain. The guy obviously was very confident in his musical abilities, but if he truly thought he was worth something, would he have offed himself the way he did?
To put it another way, Kurt Cobain was confident in his musical ability, but he didn’t have confidence in his own self worth. He didn’t have self-confidence.
You can’t have a high self-esteem if you’re basing your self off the wrong thing.
I remember several years back getting into an argument with someone and him telling me point blank that I was a very insecure person with low self-esteem.
When I heard this, I thought the person was crazy, because I felt that though I did at one time have low self esteem, I had now come along way to “build myself up.” I certainly was no longer putting myself down, I read all these history books to further my knowledge of the past, I saw myself as a goodlooking guy, I got my college degree, etc, and I indeed let the person who told me this know, that.
Yet, he wasn’t convinced because he was able to see through all the b.s. I was projecting.
Truth be told, what I was really telling him was that I hid behind my inadequacies by reading all these books to feel smarter, using my college degree to prove that I was worthy, and basing my whole identity off my looks.
In essence I was saying, “I’m not enough the way I am, so I will do a, b and c to make myself feel as if I’m enough.”
Little did I know that I had a dismally low self esteem because I learned how to skillfully hide it from myself and from others to the point that I wasn’t even aware of it. Yet, this mental disease was eating me up from the inside, and since I wasn’t aware of it, there was nothing I could really do about it.
You know the saying from G.I. Joe… “Knowing is half the battle.”
Well, I didn’t know isht. And I could say the same thing for the majority of the people walking the planet.
When I was able to finally realize and admit to myself several years later that I was an insecure bastard, I really thought that I was the only one who was messed up with issues.
On a quest for “true self-esteem”, I looked at those loud, cocky people who always had something witty to say, and wished I “had that.” I looked at those charismatic people who always had a charming, warm smile and a friendly thing to say and wished I had the confidence to be that way. I looked at those polished, put together people whose feathers never seemed to get ruffled and wished I had my act together the way they did.
However, all this started to change when I took the Landmark Forum (no, this is not a plug for that program. If you want to find my thoughts on it you can read it here). This is where I saw a bunch of people who I thought had it “together” because of their looks, their social status, their level of success, etc who were just as scared and insecure as I was, except for they found different ways to hide it.
What’s more, many of these people, although they appeared to have a reasonably high self-esteem to others, weren’t aware that people perceived them that way because they felt so woefully inadequate.
I remember being in shock after having conversations with several people I had gone to high school and college with who always seemed to have that confident swagger, were always thought of as attractive by the opposite sex, and were thus part of the popular crowd when they admitted to me that many times, it was all a front, and they projected a certain a persona to hide deeper issues.
Here I was, the shy, meek, pizza faced kid in high school dealing with the same issues as the cool guy and highly sweated girl, it’s just that we found different ways of projecting our insecurities. I shrunk from others while the other huffed and puffed his chest.
Yet, at the time, I had no idea that this was going on.
Wow, deep stuff.
Realizing this made me see that society as a whole doesn’t know didley squat about self-esteem and a good number, I’ll even say a majority of people, suffer from it in varying degrees.
Either we’re envying or worshiping someone else for having what we falsely think of as self-esteem due to the fact that this person possesses things that have absolutely nothing to do with self esteem, or we’re living in fantasy that we ourselves have self-esteem because we possess things that again have absolutely nothing to do with having a high self-esteem.
I remember having gone to college out of state, thinking I was so damn cool because I was born and bred in New York. Yet, during some somber moments of reflection I would think to myself, “Is this all I have that makes me cool? What if I was from Ohio, then what?”
I had no idea of my self worth beyond a “cool” location where I was from that everybody held in high regard.
It’s interesting the way the majority of men look at what society calls those “perfect 10” women. Yeah they’ll talk your ear off about how they’d like to have sex with one, but oh Heaven forbid you ever suggest they actually get off their arses and go approach one.
Just the thought has many men losing control of all bodily functions.
Without even having had one single conversation with the woman, they make all these imaginary assumptions about the woman that are based on absolutely nothing but her looks. Because she’s “beautiful”, they put her on this pedestal and assume that she’s “perfect”, while in the meantime giving away absolutely all of their power.
Not to say that she doesn’t have some great qualities, but thinking that her looks automatically give her these qualities is completely and utterly preposterous.
No where does it enter into the head of a man the possibility that a lot of these women tend to VERY insecure because of their looks.
First off, because many of these women are used to being told that they’re beautiful their entire lives, given all these breaks because of their looks, and being treated as if they’re “special,” they base their entire sense of self worth on their looks.
What does this mean?
This means that oftentimes, they didn’t take the time to develop other qualities like their intellect, personality, character, etc. They never thought they had to because they were looked upon as “beautiful” and got everything they wanted for it. Think about the person who just works out his left bicep religiously while he leaves the rest of his body alone.
They often have a false sense of entitlement where they expect everything to be handed to them without them having to work for it because frankly, that’s what they’ve gotten all their lives. Thus, they’ve been cut off from developing the sense of self that can come when you take responsibility for actualizing your desires.
They have to constantly be worried whether every hair is in place, and everything on them looks perfect because this is where they get their sense of value from. For the same reasons, they also worry about what will happen if or when their looks will fade.
And the ones with more substance worry about guys only being into them because of their looks.
I remember hearing a dating coach say that he knew personally some very beautiful women who have profiles on online dating sites who save all the emails they get from guys praising them for their beauty even though they never answer these emails, and when they need a boost of self-esteem, they rifle through these emails until they receive that boost.
Now, for those people looking to crucify me, I’m not in any way saying ALL beautiful women are like this, I’m not even saying a majority of beautiful women are like this, I’m simply saying that because of The Illusion, and the high premium it places on beauty, many are like this.
Go on Facebook, or on Myspace (if anyone is still left on that), and take a look at the profiles of some of the very attractive woman out there who put up all these provocative pics of themselves on their profile. I guarantee you’ll see dozens upon dozens of comments under these pics from guys who tell them how good or sexy they look. Sadly and pathetically, the woman, thinking that all she has is her looks, puts up these pics so she could get comments to validate her self worth.
She never has a problem getting the responses she wants because there are legions of idiot dudes who predictably oblige her.
Every time she needs another hit of the validation crack pipe, she’ll post more of these pics of her in lying out on the beach in her bikini during her vacation in Miami, or her in her tight green dress, or her in her naughty nurse outfit, or whatever.
What’s amusing though, is that oftentimes, you’ll notice that she doesn’t even respond to these comments, though she has no problem soaking them up.
So let me ask you, would a person with TRUE self esteem need to have armies of horny dudes commenting on scantily clad pics of herself in order to feel good about herself?
Let me teach you a new math equation that they never taught you in school:
Great Looks DO NOT EQUAL High Self Esteem.
Neither does fame nor fortune.
I remember reading in R&B artist/actor Tyrese Gibson’s recent book, How to Get Out of Your Own Way where he recalls how he went to a club with a mult-platinum rapper where the women were of course all over them. The rapper leans over to Tyrese and says to him, “Wow, all these girls are sweatin’ me and I don’t even have any of my jewelry on.”
Yes the women were obviously into the guy because he’s a successful rapper, and yes it would’ve been bad if the guy tied his self worth to his fame which is often fleeting, but with this guy, even in the midst of his fame and success, this guy still needed his jewelry to feel attractive, not realizing that there was someone behind the façade of fame, fortune and jewelry that was already attractive.
Then of course, I welcome you to file through the newspapers, magazines and search engines to search for the inexhaustible examples of people whose celebrity did nothing to help their self-esteem.
Yep, in terms of self esteem, the many folks out there with the looks, the cocky swagger, the money, the fame, the celebrity, the social status, the expensive car(s), etc. are no different from those I mentioned in the beginning of this blog who hide from the world by sitting on a computer in their basement playing World of Warcraft and only coming out for sunshine once every six months because they’re afraid of people.
It’s just that the more “obvious” cases have a different way of dealing with their self-esteem issues than the ones who are less obvious.
To the “untrained eye”, the first group has the more obvious self-esteem because they don’t have all this “bling” around themselves to conceal it, while the latter group, harbouring similar if not identical feelings of worthlessness as the former, hides behind a façade of self esteem made up of things I mentioned earlier, in hopes of eliminating these feelings of inadequacy.
In fact, many in this group have so fooled themselves in believing this façade is real that they look down on others in the first group with pity or contempt thinking, “What a loser,” or, “This guy really needs to feel better about himself.” (Hey, I’ve done it before.)
However, when the façade of these people begins to crumble due to circumstances out of their control, or the lie that they’re trying to suppress can no longer be contained, many of these people “degenerate” to those in the first group I mentioned, where they become the ones on depression meds, or on drugs, or hiding in their basement, because now their wall has collapsed, they feel completely “naked” and are afraid to face the world (similar to what I felt when I cut my dreads).
Basically, neither group has any idea about how to eliminate low self esteem, and society is no help because it simply perpetuates The Illusion whose only solution is to cover it up rather than teach us how to heal.
And the problem is, most people walking the planet fall into one of these two categories.
Until society starts to really encourage us to embrace who we really are instead of embracing a shallow, cooked up version of ourselves, we’re going to remain a society made up of people walking around with varying degrees of low self esteem, totally incapable of properly dealing with it.
Once we start to look deeper beyond the false, shallow definitions of “self” that The Illusion creates, and seek the truth about who we REALLY are, we will no longer idolize the same people we once did because our standards for what we admire in people will change.
Our former “idols” will shrink back down to “size” because what we once saw as confidence in these people we’ll now see as various facades they put up to hide their deep feelings of inadequacy.
In addition, we will also be able to see the low self-esteem in ourselves, so that it will cease to be that undiagnosed disease we’re totally unaware of that’s wreaking havoc in our lives. A havoc that is something we see and feel, but have no idea where its source is from. A havoc I may add, that usually takes the form of alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, overeating, getting into bad relationships, anxiety, and many other destructive forms of behaviour.
We will now be able to see what we’re reacting to, and subsequently put out the fire so we can start being proactive in our lives instead of reactive.
This is The Viable Alternative.
So, if you feel insecure around someone because of one’s looks, bank account, poseessions, celebrity, popularity, etc, or envy them because they have one or more of these things, realize that these things in no way give a person high self-esteem, and that despite these things a person has, he may be just as, if not more insecure than you.
Take a chill pill and stop being so hard on yourself. You’re not the only one with insecurities.
And lastly, if you can only come up with a list of the things that you own, the amount of friends you have, how much money you make, how good you look, and any other external reason as to what makes you worthy as a human being, it is most likely you have low self-esteem and are completely clueless about the fact you have one.
The fact that you base your self-worth on something that pales in comparison to who you really are shows that you’re compensating for some feeling of inadequacy because you don’t think you’re enough on your own. No matter how much you argue and protest that you really feel good about yourself, I beg to differ, your actions speak so loudly, what you’re saying can’t be heard.
ANYONE using a finite object to define his self worth indeed has a low self-esteem because that “self-definition” he chooses to hide behind is a very poor subsitute of who he REALLY is.
Hope this helps.