Dealing with Low Confidence and Self Esteem

This post kind of plays off of my last big post How I Lost My Baby Weight and Then Some.  I’ll be talking about some of the problems I’ve faced from childhood through adulthood.   Some experiences may seem insignificant and some just the opposite.  Many adults, teenagers, and children can be bombarded with self esteem issues from a young age.  I think self esteem/image and confidence in oneself go hand in hand.  This is all based off my own experiences, I am no expert by any means.  The dictionary’s word meaning for self-esteem is: a feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities.  A confidence and Satisfaction in Oneself.

I have always struggled with confidence, and it started at an early age.  I remember it was in 4th or 5th grade and I was playing on the swings with a few of my friends and some other girls.  One of the “popular” girls was giving out floss to everyone, and she skipped over me (me being the shy person I am, didn’t say anything).  My friend told her she skipped me.  The girl giving out the floss stated, “I don’t like her, so she doesn’t get any”.  What just happened!?  Before this, I never realized that I wasn’t liked by everyone.  I always thought I was “likeable”.  This may have been where my confidence shattered and I started losing my self esteem.

I grew up a normal sized child, but was always “bigger” than my older sister.  In my eyes she was perfect, and I always wanted to be more like her, look like her, dress like her, and act like her (she was super outgoing and I’m the total opposite).  I was so shy that she’d have to call my friends (pretending to be me) and ask them to come and play with me.  I’m sure she has had no idea I ever felt this way about her, I’m glad she’s always been a great sister and an awesome friend, she’s always been there for me.  I’m sure you’ve probably all felt this way, wanting to be someone else or be like someone else.

This is an older picture of me and my sisters, they are all amazing in their own way and inspire me in different ways.

Over the last several years I have observed other women and sometimes wish I had their lifestyle, body shape, confidence, smarts, or perfect life (just like I had done with my sister all those years ago).  All people struggle through life, some struggle with relationships or body issues or other things; no one has a perfect life and life isn’t always easy.  I’m trying to get better at realizing that I have an incredible life.  We each need to learn and realize that we do have potential in ourselves to do almost anything we want and in order to do that we have to act.  Instead of wishing we were someone else or wanting someone else’s life, we need to be actively making our lives better.  Like I said, life is hard and sometimes things we want or need take a lot of time.  I found a great quote that goes right along with this…

One thing I really struggled with (and still do) is the question; am I smart?  I always thought you were smart if you are really good at math.  By definition smart is…very good at learning or thinking about things, showing intelligence or good judgment.  So, this definition doesn’t have math written anywhere in it right?!  Since 1st grade and on I had a very difficult time learning in school (I don’t remember this, but my mom tells me I’d come home crying all the time).  I excelled in reading, writing, and spelling with some practice, but just the opposite in math.  Throughout middle school, Jr. High, and High school, my very supportive mom would learn how to do my assignments and in turn teach me every. single. night.  It was extremely hard, there was a lot of crying involved and frustration.  My mom never once told me I was stupid, just that I had a hard time learning.  I’m not sure if I once said “thank you” to her for all her hard work and help.  So, if she’s reading this, thank you mom, it means a lot to me that you cared enough to help me so much with my homework and I’m sorry you had to deal will all the crying.  I have to say that my dad has been awesome too, he always compliments how smart I am and how pretty I look.

My awesome parents!

I’m not sure where it came from or how it started, but as I grew older I thought the only way anyone would think I was smart is if I was good at math.  Well, math was always my worst and weakest subject in school.  Because of this, my grades were a B or B- average and I always thought I was stupid.  Those first couple of years in college were rough, I had math 1010 and 1040 (I think) and didn’t do well at all with 1040, I got a D-.  So, I never really thought I’d ever excel in anything and definitely didn’t think I’d graduate from college.  When I got married, I decided I needed to find a something to major in that I’d be good at.  I didn’t even know if I’d get into school because my GPA was so low.  I was surprised and relieved when I got an acceptance letter, into Utah State University.  I looked through all the majors and decided on Interior Design.  I also found a job tutoring kids at a local elementary school in River Heights.  I was able to help struggling children learn to read better and helped a little with math.  I loved working with the kids and helping them realize that they had potential and they could learn to read better.  This helped me feel better about myself since I was helping kids that were just like I was.

As I started into the interior design program I had to get into the Sophomore year (where we learned AutoCAD, and they only accept so many students) I didn’t think I’d get into Sophomore year, and it was hard to get into but I did.  As I said before I never thought I would graduate from college let alone with almost straight A’s in my major.  I never loved school until I started my design classes, they were challenging but fun and worth it and I had the best teachers.  They gave me so much confidence, many of you probably don’t even know what kind of classes there are in interior design.  Architects may not like this, but I explain interior design between being an architect (there’s a lot more involved with building structure and making sure the building won’t collapse) and a decorator.

Throughout school I did have other classes other than design classes and they were challenging, but I was determined that I wouldn’t have to re-take any classes, and I didn’t.  I ended up graduating with a bachelor degree in the interior design major with a much higher GPA.  At this point in my life, this was pretty much the highest achievement I could ever have imagined.

Here I am on graduation day!!!

You can do anything you put your mind to, just like I did.  If you are struggling with your self esteem/confidence find something you are good at and excel in it (everyone’s good at something).  Doing things like that can help boost your confidence.  Sometimes just finding something that will keep you busy, and keep your mind off all the negativity in your head.   It can also boost your confidence by helping others.  After I had my baby, there were a few other women in the neighborhood that were having babies too.  So, I’d take them dinner and a small gift and just chat for a little bit.  Even just doing that helped a lot.  One thing I try to do is look in the mirror everyday and find something I like about myself.  Try it, you’re bound to find something you like about yourself; your eyes, your smile, anything.  If you happened to read one of my recent posts  How I lost my Baby Weight and Then Some, then you know about the Flat Belly Diet I went on.  This book also has you focus on the positive, when you focus on the positive your attitude changes, when your attitude changes you start to feel better about yourself.  When you feel good about yourself, you can start gaining that confidence back.  The first thing you need to start with is you.

I’m not saying you’ll have a good day everyday, everyone still has bad days.  When that happens to me, I tell myself to stop feeling sorry for myself and I do.  Don’t fall into self pity, it is never good.

One of my favorite singers is Josh Groban he has an amazing voice and all his songs have beautiful messages that speak to the heart.  If you haven’t heard of You are Loved, listen to it.  Sometimes you just need someone to say, “I love you” or for someone to show they care about you.

Don’t give up…

Are there any issues you’d like me to address?

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