4 Biggest Misconceptions About Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem Doesn’t Mean Perfect

Self-Esteem is a great thing!  In fact, I’d say it probably is the most important ingredient for a happy life. 

But, and there is a but, having self-esteem doesn’t mean having a “perfect life.”

So often when I talk with people about their self-esteem, they go to their bad days, the stress in their life, the area’s they feel are lacking and base their self-worth on these. 

As Forest Gump taught us, sh*t happens…. period.

There is no way around it.  Life (and sometimes sh*t) happens, no matter how much self-esteem we have.  Understanding this is one of the first steps to improving self-esteem.  So simple, right?  But think about it, if we stopped judging ourselves for things we can’t control anyways, a whole new world of self-esteem opportunities opens up! 

Self-esteem is kind of like a physics or a math problem; when we know what to look for, and how to use it, the possibilities are endless. So, let’s start by ruling out some of the biggest misconceptions about self-esteem….

4 Biggest Misconceptions About Self-Esteem

1. Self-Esteem growth is a straight line. 

Having a bad day, week, or even period of time doesn’t mean you have low self-esteem it simply means you are growing. 

Self-Esteem, like anything, has peaks and valleys, highs and lows. 

Sometimes during the Self-Esteem journey we can end up taking one step forward and two steps back as we learn to adjust to our new “normal.”  This doesn’t mean we’ve lost or decreased our Self-Esteem, nor does it mean we won’t be able to keep moving forward; it’s just part of the learning curve.

Think about it this way, if you took a trip to a foreign country there would be an adjustment period, right?  It was take some time, and a certain amount of trial and error, to figure out the language, customs, transportation, and to get your over all bearings to your new surroundings.   Well, Self-Esteem is the same way.  Increased Self-Esteem is a new place.  It’s a new viewpoint, lens, feeling, and a new “normal” for us to operate from.  So, of course it will take some trial and error and time to acclimate along the way.

(A little reminder or re-frame here….the need for adjustment is growth!)

2. Either you have Self-Esteem, or you don’t. 

Self-Esteem is not set in stone. 

No matter where you’ve come from, what you’ve been through, or how you feel about yourself, Self-Esteem can be strengthened and increased, if you want it to be.  Your want is the key! 

A lot of us don’t realize that our want, our drive, our pursuit is the most important part of the Self-Esteem journey.  Because of this, we end up giving up, feeling defeated, blaming ourselves, and feeling fated to our current level of Self-Worth.  If we begin to understand however, that the journey is our growth and strengthening of Self-Esteem, we are able to continually see our progress, see the areas that we do have confidence, and learn to build on it.

3. Having high Self-Esteem means no more “bad days.”

Bad day’s and Self-Esteem are not the same thing.  Bad days will happen, no matter how high your Self-Esteem is. 

Our self-worth helps us to recover from, deal with, move past, and seek comfort from bad days in more healthy ways, and keeps us from becoming Chicken Little at the first sight of trouble.  But, Self-Esteem cannot prevent life and all the up’s and downs it entails.

4. Self-Esteem comes from the “win,” not the struggle.

Think about the things in your life you are most proud of, the most confident about, that give you the most security.  Where these things just handed to you, or did you have to work for them?  We might enjoy the easy wins at times, but they do little for maintaining our self-confidence.  It’s the areas we’ve worked for, struggled through, put our blood sweat and tears into that bring us the most self-confidence and the most security in life.

What have you been basing your Self-Esteem on?

I’m curious, armed with this new knowledge, do you feel any different about your own self-worth?

Have you unknowingly been judging yourself based on thing out of your control?

Can you wrap your mind around this re-frame and begin to see the possibilities that can come from this new way of viewing self-esteem?

If so, you are already on your way to improved self-esteem.  Your journey has begun.  And, you can literally put “work on self-esteem” in your accomplished list for the day!  Score!