A devastating reality… when others see you as beautiful as you are, better than you can. When does one’s self-esteem become a liability?
Q: What is self-esteem exactly?
A: The dictionary defines it as “a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.” Self respect is defined as “proper esteem or regard for the dignity of one’s character” or “a proper sense of one’s own dignity and integrity”.
How do I know I have a proper sense of my character, dignity, and integrity? What is proper? If I have too little I become a target, too much and I’m vain and narcissistic. My suggestion? Take this quick Self-esteem Test (click here). Each question is an eye-opening look at how our self-esteem effects the choices we make, how we view the world, and how we allow people to treat us.
How a person responds to these questions starts to give insight into how it is possible for the women of the Dove Ad to have such a distorted self image in comparison to how others view them. The general public gets to see in full view something that is usually so very private to each one of us. I found this ad to be a poignant rendering of unhealthy self-esteem. Most of us are looking at the surface features of these brave volunteers…but the implications run much deeper.
If this is how these models view their physical beauty, how do they view their spiritual beauty? Would their perspective be an asset or a liability?
One of the most painful realiziations I came to during my healing process was understanding why my abuser wanted to get to know me. Most of us hope that when a person is spending time with us, learning about who we are, our hopes and dreams, it is because they seek to understand us so that we can relate in a mutually healthy way. Unfortunately this is not always the case. There are those who would like to know how we view ourselves so that they know to what degree we can be exploited. What are our insecurities? What are our hopes and dreams? What is that we really want? What is it that we need?
In answering these questions they are able to create individually tailored illusions. These illusions can appear to be reality because we were the ones that handed over our deepest desires on a silver platter. On the surface the insecurity may be an overwieght body. The illusion? That someone who seeks to exploit the insecuirty will be the only one to ever love you in spite of the weight. What if the insecurity is abandonment? The abuser might say they are the only ones who will never leave you, no matter what anyone else thinks of you.
For those of us on the outside looking in these tactics can seem so obvious. But for those for whom the illusions were fabricated, these tactics are very real and potent. This is why it is so important to know ourselves well, to understand what our vulnerabilities are and turn them into strengths.
You are your final frontier. Get out there and get to know yourself like it’s an adventure. Fall in love with yourself. No one will love you as deeply as you, if you let you. Find out what makes you tick. Find out what makes you insecure. Then fortify yourself. When you accomplish that you will see yourself with more clarity, closer to the truth of what others may see. Best of all? You will give yourself a voice, a beautiful strong voice.