Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. Dr. Seuss
Have you ever stopped to consider how much of your choices in life, actions you have taken both today, and in the past, have been based on opinions you have heard from people in your environment? People that have influence – parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, spiritual leaders, coaches and so on. These opinions, I might add, true or not, you have taken on, and lived by as if they hold a power, a truth, a magic spell that stops you from questioning their validity and authenticity.
During your formative years, especially between the ages of zero to 7 years, the way you feel about yourself is largely influenced by your caregivers and other important people in your environment in that time. The words and messages given to you at this time have influenced how you made sense of your environment, and yourself. As a child, the way you made sense of your world, and your perception of yourself is strongly tied to these positive and negative messages that you internalised from these influential people. Unfortunately, because we are wired to focus on the negative, it is the messages of failure and defeat that stay with us. The messages of rejection, isolation and being not good enough that influence our future choices and actions.
We are spending too much time seeking external validation, disconnecting from ourselves, worrying what others think of ourselves that we forget how to praise ourselves.
This is where the problem comes in. We look externally for the cue and the fix. We look to self-help books, fancy clothes, jewellery, online gurus to teach us to have good self-esteem, we spend countless hours watching Ted talks all on this very topic, but the truth of the matter is that self-esteem by its very definition is esteem of the self. Meaning it is something that we have to give ourselves. Somewhere inside of ourselves we have this vessel, that needs filling. Filling by ourselves and no-one else. Only you can do the deed of filling it up. Now it doesn’t mean to say that it is a solitary act. No. not at all. What it does mean, is that feeling worthy, good enough, loveable comes from you. It is not based on someone else’s opinion, viewpoint or as a result of you doing a deed for someone that elicits their praise or acknowledgement. So herein is where so many of us go wrong. We are spending too much time seeking external validation, disconnecting from ourselves, worrying what others think of ourselves that we forget how to praise ourselves. We have forgotten to acknowledge our own self-worth. We no longer listen to our own intuitive self, we don’t know how to trust ourselves – we have given up on our own power and instead taken on the opinion of some other to make us feel ok, or good enough. It is time to dial down your inner critic, and turn up your voice of self-praise, self-love and self-validation.
Don’t be confined to the prison walls imposed on you by someone else’s limited perspective and way of seeing the world
Can you imagine if someone like Rowan Atkinson aka Mr. Bean had listened to the “wisdom” of his school teachers? He would not have obtained his Degree. He would not have brought us hours of laughter in his acting abilities. Here is a perfect example of someone who believed in himself, did not let other people’s opinion stand in his way, in the words of Virginia Woolf, “The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” Don’t be confined to the prison walls imposed on you by someone else’s limited perspective and way of seeing the world. Splash your face with clear water, clean your eyes, wipe your glasses and see the future through your lens, based on a healthy, unbiased self-esteem.