Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Self-esteem, most simply said, refers to how one feels about one’s self. Inside. Do you feel valued? Do you feel affirmed in the unique gifts you possess? Have you been encouraged? Do you feel empowered to exercise your gifts and humbly share what you’ve been given? Positive self-esteem should lead one to a genuine confidence and security, clad in humility, which propels one to try new things, learn new things, and be willing to tackle a challenge. Classrooms, homes, and workplaces should be absolutely filled with behaviors and interactions that lead to this. There’s a contentedness and a quiet strength that emanate from true positive self-esteem; a peace deep down inside. It feels wonderful because it’s right. It costs nothing but the price of caring. Mistakenly, however, we have come to view overly inflated egos and arrogance as positive self-esteem, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. Swollen egos and showboat arrogance come from a shallow and insecure place that covers itself in the glory of the spotlight, the deafening roar of the applause, and struts pompously around energized by a regular diet of superlative after superlative after superlative. In this false “awesomeness” everyone clamors for a piece of you because of what you do or what you have or anything else external to whom you really deeply are inside. Everyone clamors for the image of you because by being close to you others can ride on the wave of your very important image and feel very important, too. But it’s empty. It’s not substantive. And when you are no longer the best, when you are no longer the star, you will be discarded, passed over and forgotten by the fickle wave-riders and camera flashers. Empty. Hollow. Broken. Sad. The end result of the joy ride of huge egos and shameless arrogance is the antithesis of a positive self-esteem. You have not been valued, you have been used. True, real and right positive self-esteem development values the uniqueness of you, gently challenges you to develop your gifts to chase your dreams, courageously holds you accountable to continuously aspiring without compromising or settling, and quietly speaks affirmation to your heart through meaningful words that encourage who you are which in turn inspire you to become all that you can be. To truly foster positive self-esteem development in someone, you must know that individual well, be willing to invest time, and deeply care about what matters to him or her. With a positive self-esteem, a child, or anyone for that matter, can and will soar.