The level of our self esteem is determined by the degree we like and accept ourselves. A person with high self esteem is content and at peace with who they are as a person. Their self esteem is not related to how much other people like or approve of them, as their self worth comes from within. It is an inner knowing.
If I told you that I thought you had green hair would you lose some self esteem? No-because you know you don’t have green hair. Therefore my comment or opinion has no weight or validity to you. You would just reaffirm with yourself that you do not have green hair and your self esteem would remain intact.
However, if I made a comment to you in an area in which you already had some self doubt, then perhaps you would have a different response.
What if I implied that I thought you were not a good parent or a good friend? Would that cause you to lose self esteem? It might, if you already have an inner self doubt as to whether you are a good parent or a good friend. If my comment touched an area where you were uncertain concerning your value or competence at being a parent or a friend then it would not necessarily leave your self esteem intact.
Self esteem is not affected by events or what people say or do but rather what you tell yourself afterwards. We think an average of 5000 thoughts an hour. Brian Tracy in the Psychology of Achievement quotes an amazing statistic – 77% of our self talk is negative. If you are thinking negatively about yourself 77% of the time then how healthy will your self esteem be?
As your self esteem is based on your inner knowing of liking and accepting yourself as you are, it logically follows, therefore, that you are the only one who has the power to build or destroy your self esteem. You do this by the positive or negative things you think or tell yourself.
Many people believe that people have the power to make them feel bad or sad. This is not true! We have the choice to respond and not accept or allow what people say to touch our feeling of self acceptance and worth. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
We always have a choice in the way we respond and what we feel. Our response will be determined by we tell ourselves after any event or interaction. It is this choice that will be the factor that either will build or destroy our self esteem.