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Resist And It Will Desist

November 19, 2017

Last week I introduced the issue of self-esteem and self-confidence right here on this column, something I continued talking about for the rest of the week on my InstagramTwitter and FacebookThe truth is, there is no easy way of confronting self-esteem issues except facing them head-on. It is something one has to work on until they are able to overcome it. Just like you don't except to do your press-ups for you, regaining your self-esteem is something you have to do on your own. Anyway, as I was looking for a way of putting a lid on this subject (for now), I came across an interesting story/illustration that I thught would help us all understand how the choices we make sometimes contribute towards the erosion of our self-esteem, and what one has to do in order to have it restored once that erosion happens.  Here goes...

Confidence and Self-Esteem were best friends. They went everywhere together. If Confidence bought a new dress, Self-Esteem bought one just like it. They were very close.

One day a new kid came to their school. His name was Peer Pressure. He had a friend called Hateful Words. They decided to give Confidence a hard time. 

They constantly teased her. They forced her to do terrible things. It was so terrible that Confidence lost Self-Esteem. When Self-Esteem wanted to start some classes, Confidence said they wouldn't be any good.

Then one day, Peer Pressure introduced Confidence to Doubt. He wanted to ruin Confidence, but Peer Pressure said he couldn't yet. Self Esteem couldn't understand what was wrong with Confidence. Confidence now hung around with Depression, Low Self-Esteem, and Overeating.

These girls were friends of Peer Pressure. Self-Esteem no longer had any friends. She no longer felt good about herself so she decided to seek help from Counselor Good Words who told her how to talk to Confidence. He also introduced her to his daughter, Encouragement.

Encouragement and Self-Esteem went to find Confidence. Self Esteem hoped she wasn't too late. The girls found Confidence in a stupor. She was no longer the vibrant, happy young girl everyone knew. There were dark circles under her eyes. She had gained so much weight from eating that she couldn't move. 

Encouragement gasped and Self-Esteem cried. She begged Encouragement to do something.

Encouragement began to hug Confidence. She appreciated her and made her feel loved her. She told her that she was a beautiful young lady who had a lot going for her.

Encouragement held Confidence so tightly that Self-Esteem thought she would smother her. Confidence began to cry. As she cried, she seemed to lose weight. Then a bright light suddenly glowed from Confidence and she began to smile.

Peer Pressure and his friends didn't like what Encouragement was doing and tried to attack her. They hit at her and pulled at her, but they couldn't pull her away from Confidence. Then Confidence began to speak.

"Get away from me, Peer Pressure. Take your friends Doubt, Depression and Low Self-Esteem and go away. You no longer have any power over me." Standing against Peer Pressure and his cronies made Confidence feel so good that she was now a glowing light. From that day onwards, she and her friends made sure that Peer Pressure and his gang never bothered anyone in their town again.
 

It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, what you do, what you have or don’t have, how learned or not you are, but as long as you are a human being, there are moments in your life when your self esteem will be attacked. Sometimes the attack will come from very unexpected corners, in ways so subtle that you won’t realize it is being attacked. It is not until much, much later when you start feeling uncertain and unsure of yourself in certain scenarios that you begin realizing that you lost your self-esteem. If you don’t act fast at that point then you risk losing yourself and everything you could have had.

As I was sharing the different reasons why people have a low self-esteem, I realized that a lot of the reasons have something to do with words that are spoken to people, things that are done to them, or things that should be done or said but don’t happen. What do I mean by this? Let’s look at some examples.

Say for instance you are married to someone who is always calling you names, saying demeaning things such as, “you are such a foolish woman; I’ve never met such a stupid cow in my life; look at how you’ve turned into such a fat pig; you are so selfish; I don’t even know what I was thinking when I was marrying you; you don’t even deserve me", etc. If those are the words you keep hearing every day of your life, yet this is the person who vowed to love and protect you, who promised to the world, what happens is that unconsciously you start believing them and living them, and the results manifest in your life just like the words were spoken. Why then do men wonder and act surprised when they see their women looking like the cows and pigs they keep naming them after?

Listen people, I keep saying this and I will say it again; your words create your world. You can’t keep calling your wife negative names and expect her to be anything other than what you’ve called her. Try being humane and stop being inhuman, try being positive for once. Yes, she might have put on some kilos (probably after incubating and popping YOUR 6 children), but instead of telling her she looks like a cow and eats like a pig, how about you lovingly start her off on a weight-loss program where you can both participate!  How about you take the time to show her how she can change her diet to one that will help her shed some kilos, and support her by choosing a healthy lifestyle as well? How about you help her get back to the groovy self she used to be (before you came into her life!!) by creating an environment where she feels loved and appreciated? Remember, as you bruise her with your words, your children also become affected somehow. No wonder someone once said that the best gift you can give to your children is to love their mother. This statement has lots of power in it.

Stop using your words to break. Use them to build.

Then there is what people do to others. For instance when you beat your child senseless every day just because he messed up at school, or didn’t finish his homework, or was noisy in class, or went to the neighbors without your consent, etc, do you think that constant and incessant beating helps? Actually what happens is that in the long run, that kid will develop resistance to your beatings and eventually will not care what you do to him. That right there is the beginning of rebellion and bitterness in that child. Fast forward to when he himself becomes a grownup. Because of how he was treated as a child, he will always be a person who gets what he wants by being violent. To him, violence is the ticket to respect, a notion he will take to his own home when he gets married and has children. Having grown up seeing his father always beating him, do you think he will act any different? Worse still, if he grew up in a family where the father was abusive to the mother, always shouting at her like she is deaf and calling her demeaning and degrading names right there infront of him, do you think he will treat his wife any different? And you wonder why we have so many problems and challenges in homes today. Listen people, your children use more of their eyes than they do their ears. Stop telling them what to do but instead let them learn what to do by watching you do it yourself. If you want them to be better people in life, be a better person yourself. Stop filling your children with the seeds of bitterness you have filled yourself up with.

Remember the article I wrote a while back about how you do anything is how you do everything? Well, that applies in this situation too.

Once you have a low self-esteem every area of your life will be affected and you will be doing everything from that point of seeing yourself as an unworthy person. You will always see yourself as a second rate citizen, someone who doesn’t deserve to live a happy life, a fulfilling life, a life of victory and success. So you go around with that mentality which unfortunately messes up everything in your path. You allow people to walk all over you and mistreat you because you feel you "deserve" such treatment. NOOO! That should never be your story.

Like the short illustration we read above, the first thing you need to do is to get rid of anything that brings you down; get away from friends that bring you down, separate yourself from anything that threatens your self-esteem, refuse to be intimidated by anyone or anything, refuse to be forced into doing things that you don’t want to do just so that you can fit in with the “Crowd”.  Refuse to be lured into the majority’s camp. Like Claude C. McDonald said, “Sometimes a majority simply means that all the fools are on the same side”.

How do you reclaim your self-esteem? How do you boost your self-confidence when you’ve lost it? Is it even possible to recover it? Oh yes it is! But it will take all you've got to fight for youself worth.

Start by encouraging yourself by being your own best cheer leader. If it takes you writing down and reciting specific positive affirmations upon your life every one hour then so be it. Don’t always expect encouragement to come from the people around you, as a matter of fact assume it will not. Instead, how about you take it upon yourself to encourage yourself? Listen to a motivational message every time you can, at least once a day. Build your faith by reading or listening to faith building content every day. The good thing is that there is lots of content on the internet nowadays, so choose whichever makes you feel good. Self-motivation should be like a prescription drug where you take it at least 3 times a day for 365 days.

Another way of dealing with a low self-esteem is by boosting your confidence by doing things you are good at. The more you do them and achieve great results, the more you feel relaxed and confident in yourself. Sometimes you just need to see how good you are at doing something to appreciate yourself. To doing things you are good at also add things you enjoy doing. If you enjoy dancing then enroll in a dance class (looking forward to salsa), if you enjoy music then listen to as much music as you can, as long as you are not listening to lyrically negative songs.

Something else you can do is to stop focusing on your own issues for a while and try helping someone else. Of course it is hard to help someone when you yourself have issues but I know helping someone (especially someone who cannot repay you) is one sure way of triggering your happy hormones, and when you are happy, you can do anything. 

Another thing is to surround yourself with people who make you feel good, people who empower and encourage you, people who know your negative side but still encourage you to be the best person you can ever be, people who are ready to tell you on the face when you are making wrong choices and acting like a spoilt brat. Those are the people who will help get you out of the hole of a low self-esteem. If you can’t get such people, then please see a counselor. Sometimes it helps talking to someone about what you are feeling. Sometimes it helps just to have someone sit down and listen to you for three hours non-stop without asking a question, without judging you or without trying to give any kind of advice. Counselors are good at that.  They are also good at keeping such matters confidential, and they also have the GOOD SENSE never to use what they know about someone against them, unlike many spouses and partners who have the tendency of using what they know about their spouses to attack them  at every opportunity. What kind of love is that really, where you tell someone you love them but 15 minutes later you will be using what you know about them to hurt them beyond description? Some of y'all need to go to church and repent for that. 

Let me end this article today by saying this; it doesn’t matter why or how you got there (low self-esteem) in the first place, but what matters is that you pick yourself up and start all over again. You have what it takes to rebuild your self-confidence, your self-image and of course your self-esteem. Keep believing in yourself, resist a low self-esteem and it will desist from you attacking you.

Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.

 

PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 19th of November, 2017, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words". 

 

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