Two weeks ago I posted about self-kindness and the related benefits of being lazy. It’s hard not to be attracted by that advice! In reading about what other advice is out there, one expert suggests that you should concentrate on self-compassion rather than self-esteem in being kind to yourself. Hmm, maybe. But doesn’t that depend on the health of your self-esteem, and how specifically you define these terms? Along with the extraordinary stresses most people are experiencing during this never-ending pandemic, many people of all ages add to their stress – and distress – every day by continuing to measure themselves against some arbitrary societal standard. Surely, developing the self-confidence to be your own person and learning to like that person are important aspects of self-kindness. How can they not be?
Earlier this week, a fellow blogger wrote on this topic in a post called What Defines You? This well-written blog post brings a compelling message about self-esteem that should resonate for people of many ages. The truly impressive thing is that this blogger is 16 years old! I’m pretty sure I wasn’t nearly this wise when I was 16. I’m taking the liberty of reposting Saania’s thought-provoking words in their entirety to make sure you get her full message.
As we go through our lives, we get to discover ourselves. Sometimes, however, we see people around us who “seem” better than us, and we start to question our very selves. We see someone who is smart and think we aren’t smart enough. We see someone who is pretty and we think we aren’t beautiful enough. I have often been around a group of people where sometimes, I would feel like I’m not as gorgeous as them. Or sometimes, I would think “oh my word I’m so dumb!” But then I asked myself, what really defines us?
I think embracing our individuality is the bravest thing we can ever do. To gather every ounce of courage to accept ourselves for who we are when we live in a society that is burdened with labels and opinions. Lizzie Velasquez, a motivational speaker, was 17 when she stumbled upon a video about herself on YouTube titled “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” My heart breaks for her, and I cannot fathom how she felt after reading it. But in one of her TED talks, this graceful women during her speech said, “You are the one who decides what defines you”.
Nobody is ugly. We just happen to live in a very judgmental society. But the moment you accept your true self, you will have a lesser amount of stress from trying to be someone you’re not. You will also have a lesser amount of stress from trying to find things outside of yourself to make you happy. You will even find your own set of features to define who you are. When we start to seek this within ourselves, we will no longer need that approval from external places, people, and things. We will no longer need to hide within because we feel we should change. At the end of the day, we can choose to let our weaknesses define us, or we can choose to let our strengths do the same. When we do so, we are given the room to enjoy and love life. So choose the latter. You will win.