Why Self Esteem Work?



Hello and welcome to another post of mine 🙂 I also wanted to do a shout-out to my two followers; thank you for following and I hope you continue to enjoy my posts 🙂

Today I wanted to delve into why I decided to work on my self esteem.

Self-esteem can sometimes be an elusive creature: it can be “faked” to appear one has an adequate amount of it on the outside, and it can be somewhat hidden within yourself so you end up not really paying it much attention. I believe both of these scenarios are the case for me. From the outside, I definitely don’t seem to struggle with self esteem. I’m comfortable with how I look, the clothes I wear, and I can function in many different settings. It isn’t until I have to talk in front of a group of people (either in person or over the phone) that I become a stuttering mess, but that isn’t really what made me decide to address the issue.

About a year ago I was on a search for a new form of exercise. Although I had done tumbling for over a year, my interest and dedication to it was waning, plus I was gaining weight and really needed to exercise more than once a week for an hour and a half. I decided to set out and try some new things, one of which was roller derby. It was alright and I would have been good at it, but it wouldn’t have given me the exercise needed: I needed full body and high intensity. A while later a coworker of mine mentioned crossfit; I had no idea what it was, but the gym he attended was having an open trial period all throughout December, so I attended that whole month. On my third appearance, while in the middle of a front squat, I smiled big and knew this was the form of exercise for me. Since then I’ve made it a point to attend 2-3 times every week and have learned quite a bit. Crossfit was actually one of the first factors that led me to work on my self esteem. When you have 100 pounds in front of you that has to be lifted over your head, it really challenges you mentally. It made me realize that, in general, my fear of failing or making a mistake is oftentimes bigger than the belief in myself that I can be successful, and this stems across many areas of my life: crossfit, work, challenging myself to do new things, etc.

Crossfit also made me aware of my habits surrounding being competitive. I’ve been naturally competitive for my whole life, as far back as kindergarten, and while there’s nothing wrong with this, it can sometimes get a little out of control, becoming more detrimental than helpful. Growing up (especially in elementary school), I was the fastest girl, and I loved being faster, stronger, and more agile than most people I crossed. Suddenly I wasn’t the fastest, strongest girl upon starting crossfit, but I still tried to compete with them anyway, which really only held me back. This habit spanned more than just crossfit, though: I compared myself to my coworker, my supervisor, my best friends, everyone in crossfit, even a girl I stood next to in church a couple Sundays ago who has a better singing voice than me. I compared myself to anyone who appeared to be better than me in some way, and rather than it being a helpful form of competition, it really just turned into me mentally beating myself up for not being as good as they were at “X, Y, or Z.”

Constantly comparing myself to others leads me to my next reason for working on self esteem: being a rather judgmental person. I don’t necessarily seem like the type for it on the outside, but I feel it. I was raised in a very closed-minded, subconsciously-judgmental environment. No one meant any harm, but there was always an “us against them”mentality. Whenever we talked about other people who were different from us or did things in a different manner, they were weird or wrong, not us. We were normal and correct. Fast forward to now, and I realize this led to a very self-righteous and closed-minded mentality in me towards other people who don’t fit inside my imaginary “box”. Moving out of that environment was definitely helpful, but I still struggled with being able to accept people for who they are, and deep down, it was because I really couldn’t accept myself. Even though I moved out of that environment I was still constantly comparing myself to the standards my parents had set: trying to do things they would find permissible. Feeling guilty for not being productive enough, or cleaning enough, or making enough money. Overall just trying not to be the people we talked about growing up. All of the striving to be this “perfect person” really just led to the inability to accept myself and a lot of anxiety surrounding that. Obviously you can’t be the best version of yourself if you’re constantly trying to live up to someone else’s standards, and that brings me to the last reason for improving my self esteem: knowing I’m capable of more!

There is a bible verse that says you can move mountains with just a mustard seed’s worth of faith. Although I’m becoming more comfortable with who and where I am in life, I know I’m capable of a lot more with just a bit of faith. I’ve already applied this to crossfit here and there, and have seen positive results: it’s helped me get through rough workouts and heavy lifts. It would be huge to apply that to the rest of my life as a whole. Even though just starting this work, I already feel like I’ve made a good amount of progress: I feel much more calm and mindful throughout each day. My thoughts are more positive and understanding. Negative thoughts aren’t as stinging as they were before. Overall I’m really excited to work towards making this giant shift of mine a reality!

Thanks for reading!

~ Jessie

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