by Linda-Ann Stewart
When I was in the twelfth grade, my English teacher asked us to raise our hands if we liked ourselves. No one dared to because we knew we’d be harassed by our classmates for thinking too highly of ourselves. When no one responded, she then berated us by saying, “That just shows that you have low self-esteem.”
If any of us did like ourselves, we caved into the fear of our fellow classmates’ persecution. We wanted to be accepted and fit in, but we sacrificed our courage and authenticity to do so.
Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence, even as we become adults and go through life. We avoid being genuine to gain others’ approval. Watch how a co-worker or friend accepts a compliment. Do they graciously say “Thank you” or do they brush it off? Whichever way they accept it shows how high or low their self-esteem is.
There can be a purpose for holding onto low self-esteem. In the case of my twelfth grade class, it was to avoid being hassled. The intent was to protect ourselves. Before we can raise our self-concept, we have to address the reasons around why we resist being authentic.
Copyright 2011 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved