I began writing to share my thoughts and perspectives with my daughter so that she can embrace her individuality and feel happy about who she is. Confidence is the foundation of how you are treated and how you treat others. It shapes the life you lead and ultimately who you are surrounded by.
The official definition of self-esteem from Merriam Webster is: “a confidence and satisfaction in oneself.”
For some reason, this definition and others that I have seen appear a little arrogant. To me, self-esteem is ease and comfort with who you are.
I was talking to a beloved friend recently about this topic and she thought that self-esteem is derived from two things: love and hard work. She broke it down in the simplest terms and it resonated with me. I always thought that the ability to give and receive love was the main component of how someone feels about themselves, but I did not think of hard work in that way until she mentioned it. Working hard does, in fact, make you feel good and you can derive much satisfaction from the process and outcome. It is going through challenges and developing grit that determines who we become. I thought it was brilliant. So you have love, hard work, and I would also include helping others.
Studies have shown that there are real chemical changes in the brain and body when you help others. Endorphins are released and there is a feeling of exhilaration. And, who does not want to feel good? There are many ways to get this high: volunteering, supporting a friend or family member, being kind, standing up for the underdog, and a multitude of others. There is no formula or one way to get there. It’s simply finding something that has meaning to you and investing in it.
If we look outside of ourselves and figure out how to love and show love more intensely, work with passion and vigor and pay it forward, we will feel better about ourselves, elevating our self-esteem. All of these things give us a purpose and by seeing happiness in others, we can feel better about ourselves. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Do good and you will feel good. When we feel good, we do good. It’s powerful, transformative and infectious.
It’s what makes life worth living.
It’s what makes us better and more confident.
It’s what inspires.
Good vibes create good lives after all.