If you are wondering where your self-esteem stands, I have discovered a lovely little test. It’s simply this:
Have a conversation with another person or group of people. Then listen. Don’t try to add to the conversation. You can ask more questions, but I want you to hear them speaking and, as you do, to observe your thoughts.
Healthy self-esteem is present when you hear and understand what others are saying without thinking about yourself much at all. More specifically, you don’t think about how what they are saying relates to you. You may use the word “I,” but it will always be in reference to the other person or people, for example:
- “I wonder what I can do to help.”
- “[I think] that is very interesting…”
- “Wow, [I think] she is a really good friend.”
- “Hmm…[I think] she doesn’t seem like a very good friend.”
Notice that what you think doesn’t have to be positive to indicate healthy self-esteem. The last comment is quite critical. However, it must always be a simple observation. It cannot be a comparison between a person and yourself.
Conversely, compromised self-esteem shows up in the following types of reactions:
- “They are so much more together than I am.”
- “I wish I had her life.”
- “I’m so much better than she is.”
‘What are they thinking about me’ thoughts:
- “Am I saying the right things in response?”
- “Does how I’m reacting make me look good?”
- “I hope this conversation makes her like me.”
Compromised self-esteem can also be discovered via poor or judgmental listening:
- “I wish he would finish so I can say what I think (inability to listen to others).”
- “I know how she can fix her problem (solving without being asked to).”
- “She’s stupid (labeling).”
The benefit of experiencing compromised self-esteem at times is that we can learn compassion, how to stand in others’ shoes, and how to give genuine comfort. It also creates opportunities to connect. Have you ever had someone describe a moment of low self-esteem to which you respond: “I totally know that experience!” But the goal, of course, is to have our self-esteem be healthy more than it is damaged.
Becoming aware of the state of your self-esteem can be challenging. That’s the point of the above exercise. And, if you are not happy with what you find when you assess yourself, consider making changes.
In this with you Sisters,
How to Have Healthier Self-Esteem
Email This Post to A Friend