So, I have recently devoted a lot of my thinking time to the problem of self-esteem. I’ve done some research (okay, I read wikipedia) and compared what I learned with surrounding reality. Conclusion? We live in a world full of sad sad people!
But before I go on with my rambling, let me just tell…
The basic premise is that in order to love others, one must first love oneself. I agree, although Supreme Slacker and I have, between us, decided that many things worth doing are easier said than done.
It is my opinion that the first step in learning to love oneself is to allow others to love one first. How else are we to learn to love unless it is first demonstrated? Like any other lesson one must first observe, then practice. Usually this is learned in child-hood from parents, but it can also come later through extended family, friends, or even religion.
It is generally accepted that people with very low self-esteem find themselves unlovable in some ways. I think there is a little of that in most, if not all, of us. We all have certain aspects of our souls that we do not reveal to the world for fear of turning those who profess to love us away. The fact that nobody knows these things means that nobody can truly love us for who we really are (or is it just me that hides behind this excuse?) which in turn keeps us fearful, hidden, and ‘unloved’. And that in turn keeps us low down on the self-esteem scale.
So, what comes first? The chicken or the egg? We work on our self-esteem in order to love ourselves, but we must first allow ourselves to be loved. And for that we need to work on our self-esteem, which is harder if nobody knows our full insecurities, but to reveal those needs a lot more courage and higher self esteem.
What a tangled web we weave. I can almost hear you saying “Yeah, that’s clear as mud, Wantsy”.
Fear not. We are not the first nor will we be the last to take concious and measured steps towards a higher self-esteem. My only advice is to take baby steps, and perhaps run the two lines - “increasing self esteem” and “giving or receiving love” - concurrently and in parallel. And then maybe in time you will find yourself more worthy to be loved, that you can love yourself more, and that you can pass on the love you have received to others.
(And maybe in time I will find it easier to practice what I preach.)