"Stories" from the Collective (YOU)

My Low Self Esteem Signs

by R
(Lagos, Nigeria)

There are no low self-esteem signs as such in R's story that follows, rather what happens when you have low self esteem (and a clue to where low self esteem quite often comes from) - Steve...

My parents were disappointed that I was female and they didn't let me forget it!

At 15, several of my O-level results went 'missing' and the few that I got were bizarre to say the least. As an example, I could draw pretty well, and fine art did not have a theory paper - you just drew what was placed in front of you. I got a flat F in that and I concluded that couldn't possibly be my result and that it must be have been a mix-up (happens all the time in this part of Africa).

Anyway, my Dad let me have it! It was like some dam burst, and I got this vitriolic tongue-lashing that lasted almost a year! My mother, anxious to keep her marriage at whatever cost pretended nothing was amiss. So I grew isolated and distrustful and extremely bitter because I suffered through no fault of mine and no one wanted to understand.

Because I also had a very strict regimented and rigid upbringing, I wasn't really allowed to go visiting friends and so I had no-one to share my thoughts with; I had to manage my ill feelings as I best could.

My degree programme was chosen by my Dad, so I'm a doctor today not by choice but by coercion and I hate that.

University was hard for me for several reasons - I wasn't street-wise enough, I had too much baggage and self doubt, and had several difficulties with the program because I hated it and hated my school. And by the time I finished I felt too old and jaded to go start another degree program.

I have gone a step further and gotten a post-grad degree in radiology, but I still don't feel fulfilled as I live in an ostentatious and frivolous city where you're judged by your car, clothes, shoes and the part of town you live, and doctors aren't that well-paid.

So for me its a double jeopardy - I studied such a time-consuming course that I didn't like and felt helpless to change, and I'm now underpaid while those who studied next to nothing at their leisure are strutting around with the best jobs and making others feel impotent. It stinks.

A New Way of Seeing Self-Esteem?

Steve here, and for the last few years (since Oct 2012, actually) I've been seeing (and thinking about) low self-esteem in a different way. Not as a problem to fix, but as feedback to notice (and nothing more). That's right: nothing to fix, everything to notice. And all this became obvious to me after being introduced to the Three Principles behind life (in Oct 2012).

I created a free 1-page Self-Esteem Guide that explains more, anyway. You can read about it here (NO EMAIL REQUIRED) - SMNash.com/self-esteem-guide/

Thank you - Steve



Comments for My Low Self Esteem Signs

Oct 24, 2011
Doesn't stink that bad...I think
by: Sandy

Even though you may have some negative feelings about your childhood experiences and career, you at least have a foundation to build on. Many of those people around you will probably burn out in the near future.

But after reading your post, I couldn't help but feel that you are too focused on what others have and are doing.

I too live in an area where if I look in certain areas I see frivolity and waste. So I don't look in those directions.

And I've found that I just "be myself" and I tend to attract people who have more in common with me. Sometimes, and I don't know if this is your case, we try to fit in and we adopt some of the behaviors, interests and lifestyles of those we don't like. And then we're surprised when we aren't accepted. That leads to jealousy.

I found that when I strive, as it is an ongoing process, to be all that I can be and to express my "authentic" self in every way, I can't help but attract those who respond positively to that. I know it sounds cliche. But it really has worked for many I know.

I no longer try to "put on a facade" in my appearance and my opinions that I have anything in common with people whose values don't reflect my own.

And during the process of becoming more authentic, I found that at times I did meet people who could have been genuine acquaintances but I judged them harshly and often by the standards of those who I have come to dislike.

How do you react when people reach out to you? Are you real critical of them? Do you find yourself not liking them if they aren't like you in some respects?

This work calls for real honesty. It's difficult. But it can really be rewarding, when in a sea of the same fish, you start finding the winnows who have something in common with you.

Wish you much success.

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