Self-kindness includes self-esteem

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.

What Defines You?

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.

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27 Responses to Self-kindness includes self-esteem

  1. Jagesh Tirkey says:

    This article is great, I loved it.. and would like to share an article here with everyone-

  2. Inkplume says:

    Wise words from one so young. We should never stop striving to accept ourselves for who we are but for most of us, no matter how old we are, it’s a work in progress. Thanks for sharing.

  3. “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.” Wisdom beyond her years.

  4. iidorun says:

    I think this is why “social networking” sites like Facebook and Instagram are really not that healthy – people always show the best sides of themselves which is usually not the truth of how they really are. In fact, I think I remember a study that showed that people who spent more time on social media were less happy and had less self-esteem because they compared their real lives to the curated lives on those platforms. Great post here and I had to go back and like the one about laziness! I’m a big proponent of “taking it easy” (especially when it comes to housekeeping) much to my husband’s dismay! 😂

    • Jane Fritz says:

      I agree. It seems that social media has taken the pressures on growing up (and beyond) to a whole new level. It’s a tough challenge. Re “laziness”, it sounds like you’ve got your priorities in order, especially considering the long list of priorities you have!

  5. Reblogged this on Musings and Wonderings and commented:
    Comparisons can indeed be odious especially if comparing ourselves to others!

  6. Yes, Saania’s post is great. I subscribe to her blog and saw it a couple days ago. Self-acceptance is still a struggle for many of us, but talking about it as Saania does certainly helps.

  7. A wise young lady indeed. I hope my grandchildren will be as self assured when they reach 16. My grandson, a 5th grader, doesn’t seem concerned about comparing himself with others, but my grand daughter who is 20 months younger, tells me about cliques in school. Evidently in 4th grade there are groups already forming. Both grandchildren are extremely bright and in gifted classes. So their classmates are also in the top 2%. It’s interesting that the girls are starting this early to form mean girl groups. She cried one day because a girl didn’t talk to her. Now my grand daughter is beautiful. And she tested in the 99th percentile intellectually. Plus, she’s athletic. The girl is a triple threat! But she’s quiet and shy. And my heart breaks that she will have to deal with bullies at such a young age. I raised sons. I think girls may have it harder. Boys seem socially clueless until high school . Lol that’s why it’s so important we keep encouraging our children, our grandchildren, ourselves, and our friends to embrace themselves!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      This bullying, cliques, mean girls, etc is so awful and so pervasive. It’s always been there, but seems to start even earlier these days. Maybe because of the influence of social media, I don’t know. Girls may start sooner, but I’m not sure that young boys would agree with that. Bullying can be fierce, intimidating, and physical. If you’re not athletic enough, if you’re too smart, not cool enough, etc. You’re so right, it’s incumbent on all of us to encourage the young people we know, and the not so young people, to embrace themselves for who they are.

      • My son and daughter in law are careful about not letting my grands watch inappropriate shows or movies. They’re pretty innocent and there are kids who
        Are the same age and they are socially aware as if they were in high school. It’s crazy. I wouldn’t want to be raising my kids today!

  8. Very wise words! However, it can be extremely hard to do, especially if you come from an ethnic group that is considered stupid or inferior by the culture at large.

  9. Linda Sprague says:

    Interesting post Jane. I try to not compare myself to others, but boy, do I have a hard time with permitting myself to be lazy sometimes. I always feel I should be a human “doing” and not human “being”. Probably it comes from worshipping a father who never rested but died with a heart attack at 54! How I wish he could have been “lazy” sometimes and been able to stick around longer.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Very interesting and insightful observations, Linda. I never thought about the idea of a human “doing” vs a human “being”. There’s a lot in that. Interesting about your Dad. Mine died of a heart attack at 53; I think he would have had bypass surgery and lived another 20-30 years if bypass surgery had existed then. I’m happy to say that I’ve learned the “being” approach, but I think it’s more a question of whether you just have lots of things you love doing or whether you’re pushing yourself just because you feel you have to that’s the issue. If it’s the latter, then some self-kindness is in order! Do it for your Dad!!

  10. bernieLynne says:

    “Gather every ounce of courage to accept ourselves” is very hard at 56 let alone 16! The hardest person to be “enough for” is yourself. Others are much more accepting of our own judgemental “failings”. Good food for moral thought indeed. Thanks.

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