Health & Fitness

noun: self-es·teem

‘a confidence in oneself’ syn: self-respect

When I first started writing this post I wrote it to be about confidence. But that word, ‘confidence’, is used in so many ways these days that it didn’t evoke the meaning that I wanted it to. Sometimes it has a negative connotation; being “over-confident” or having “too much” confidence. Or it’s used to describe how you feel about a an outfit or a presentation at work, which are both super important! But I wanted this article to be about something more, something deeper. 

I opened up this month with a post about mental health and how it has affected my life, and been affected over the years. With years of introspection, and constantly thinking about the causes and the catalysts I realized that there was one glaring consistency. My self-esteem. 

I noted before, the difference between confidence and self-esteem. Now, by definition you may not notice a big difference. And since I’m no expert, some may say that there technically isn’t a difference! But to me, there is. I would fight with myself knowing that I acted like a confident person, but didn’t feel it. I expressed confidence and I behaved with confidence almost every day! But self-esteem is a different story. To me, confidence is the everyday or situational behavior and feeling. That wasn’t what I was lacking, or what I was seeking. 

Self-esteem is deeper. It runs below your clothes, or the way you speak, or how you may feel in a room full of people. It’s self-respect, a confidence in yourself and your abilities. I didn’t respect myself, or my abilities, or anything that I had to offer. So to compound the issue, I then felt like my exterior confidence was phony! Like I was showing the world the wrong version of myself. 

My journey didn’t start like this. When my disorders started, they expressed themselves through orthorexia; obsessive healthy eating and over-exercising. I loved being healthy and exercising and I just took it way too far. Then after I graduated from college, started a job and a toxic relationship, it switched. It went from trying to take care of myself, to then punishing myself with food and depression. But enough about my story… now for the message I hope everyone hears. 

Self-esteem is synonymous with self-respect. But these days we are so consumed with what other people think, other people’s comments, the number of likes on a photo, or how our life appears to be, that we lose sight of what’s really important: how you feel about yourself. Respect what you have to offer, respect your qualities, love your flaws! Love and respect every quirk, and every crack. It’s those that make you who you are, and that’s the most powerful thing you have: being you. Because nobody else can do it!

Surround yourself with people that build you up, and not just by complimenting your outfit. But those people that build you up, support you, and the people that you know you can show your true self. Every quirky, flawed and cracked bit of yourself! Because I’ve been around the other kind of people, the kind that you portray confidence in public, but question your qualities in private. The kind that spend more time judging than appreciating. These, are not our people. 

So whatever term you want to put to it, self-esteem, confidence, self-respect, don’t let it go. And most importantly, don’t let other people take it away from you. Because your qualities and your quirks are exclusive to you, and you alone. And that is your super power! 

Join the Conversation