Recently I was laying in bed after getting the kids to sleep and couldn’t shake the disgusting feeling of overwhelming guilt, shame, and disgust with myself. I couldn’t pinpoint a reason, but the emotional response to my thoughts was visceral. This isn’t a new occurrence, either. Mom guilt consumes my thoughts and there are days when I wonder if I’m even cut out to be a mother to my boys and if I have what it takes to not “mess them up.” Sometimes I find myself mindlessly viewing everyone’s highlight reel’s on social media, only to compare them my life and where I’m currently at and face a tidal wave of horrifically low self-esteem. These moments I experience are only a symptom much larger issues, or maybe they’re the cause of; anxiety and depression.
A while back, I was seeing a therapist who pointed out that I might, in fact, have low self-esteem and suffer from low self-worth. I don’t mention this to sound extreme or look for sympathy, these are facts about my current mental health state. I don’t value myself and I lack the motivation to continuously pursue self-care, especially self-care without guilt. This likely stems to something deep within my psyche that I haven’t discovered, but maybe I will someday. Until then I’m going to take small, manageable steps towards bettering myself and my self-esteem in the hopes that I can stop the cycle of disappointment, guilt, shame, etc. before it starts again. The first step is recognizing that mental health issues are not a
The first step in this process is recognizing that mental health issues are not my fault and they’re not the result of me not trying enough or my lack of ‘willpower.’ Additionally, the stigma surrounding mental health is ridiculous considering mental health is a continuum that every single person falls somewhere on the spectrum of fromhealthy to ill. No one is free from mental health issues and our lives are ever changing, so it can only benefit us to pursue positive psychological practices such as bettering our self-esteem in healthy ways.
Why is Self-Esteem Important?
Low self-esteem can arise due to one seeing themselves “as failing to meet an internalized and unreasonably high standard of goodness and thus display very low self-esteem and corresponding emotional distress when they cannot meet that internal standard”(MentalHealth.net). Often times people with low self-esteem are striving hard to achieve their goals so viewers from the outside cannot understand why said person could possibly have low self-esteem. This sets one up for less emotional support and further inward thinking, both of which will not remedy low self-esteem.
Why Focus on Self-Esteem? Won’t I become a narcissist?
Our self-esteem and self-worth are constantly fluctuating throughout the hours, days, weeks, and months; where we are now is not permanent. Therefore it seems that some level of self-awareness in regards to how we view ourselves is healthy for maintaining positive self-worth over time. Oftentimes someone with low self-esteem is not going to accept compliments or positive feedback, which is why I highly doubt we’ll be on the fast track to becoming narcissists. Saying that, it is true that too high of self-esteem is equally destructive just in different ways. Awareness is key.
Will a 30-Day challenge fix my self-esteem for good?
No! Not at all. My goal is to only find new ways to boost my self-esteem and self-worth so that if I’m feeling low or want to avoid feeling low, I can remember these habits and use them as part of my toolbox of mental health remedies. Self-esteem is part of our emotional immune system, reacting and changing in response to our daily life. All we can do is limit our self-inflicted negativity, which is the ultimate goal.
I’ve created a fairly straightforward and meaningful 30-day challenge to raise my self-esteem. I’m going to be honest and let you know that I’m doing this for myself! It is free and I’m not a psychologist, but I’ve researched both in college and perusing the web, (not to mention actual tools therapists have offered me) and I’ve collected ideas for ways to boost my self-esteem…hopefully! I subscribe more to the theories of positive psychology, which is why I’ll focus more on how we can improve through positivity than finding out what went wrong.
I’ll be posting in my Organically Blessed Facebook group with daily check-ins, prompts, activities, and information. Community involvement in other people’s well-being is a great reminder that we’re all in this together and empathy is paramount in creating a peaceful society. If you’d like to join me in this fun 30-day Self-Esteem Challenge, just join the group and jump right in!
I look forward to discovering new healthy habits with you!