Women can have it all – a successful career, a happy family and a sense of personal well-being. There’s no doubt that if you’re hardworking and determined you can achieve your goals and pursue your dreams independently. Nonetheless, a woman – as any other human being – needs support, love and time to take care of herself, both physically and psychologically. Above all, she needs to respect, love, value and believe in herself, without letting other people’s opinions affect her self-esteem.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” ― Sharon Salzberg
Self-esteem represents a person’s belief in their own value, importance, worth, and abilities, affecting different spheres of their life. It affects the way they see themselves, as well as other people. The development of self-esteem in a person starts from an early age and a great number of factors can affect it, including parenting techniques, personal experience and social environment.
What makes self-esteem so important for a person’s personal and professional growth is its role as one of the greatest driving forces. Having high self-esteem can help a woman overcome numerous obstacles in her life, achieve her professional objectives and enjoy her own being. Low self-esteem, on the other hand, can lead to constantly comparing yourself to others, believing that you don’t deserve happiness and success or not having confidence in your own skills and abilities.
Women who keep comparing themselves to others have an idealised image of other people while failing to see their own qualities. Women with low self-esteem feel less motivated to pursue their own dreams, not putting enough effort in attaining their goals. The lack of motivation, ambition and effort consequently leads to failure after failure, which further reinforces the initial low opinion of themselves. Trapped in a vicious circle, otherwise competent women keep on believing that they cannot and never will be happy and satisfied with themselves.
The importance of self-acceptance
“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.” ― Michel de Montaigne
Self-acceptance and healthy self-esteem are the foundations of a happy and satisfying life. Not only does the inability to accept and love yourself affect your motivation and professional development, but it also affects your personal relationships. You cannot really love and value others if you don’t know how to value and love yourself. A woman with low self-esteem can believe that she is unworthy of love and happiness while engaging in unhealthy relationships. Even in a happy relationship, a woman with no self-esteem may keep comparing herself to her partner, envying them for their success and happiness, which can be a major cause of relationship problems and even lead to a breakup and divorce.
It’s important to realise that self-acceptance and high self-esteem don’t refer to egoism and a sense of personal supremacy over others. Having healthy self-esteem means accepting your flaws and taking control over your life instead of letting those flaws control you. It also means believing in yourself and your abilities, knowing your qualities and assuming responsibility for your goals and desires, which will enable you to be the best version of yourself. Such a positive opinion of yourself can help you achieve something that might even be beyond your capabilities because you believed you could.
“The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.” ― Ayn Rand
Only when you accept yourself will you be able to start working on your self-esteem, freeing yourself from harsh self-criticism, negative self-talk and endless comparing to others. Once you’re at peace with every aspect of your being, you’ll be able to realise your dreams, choose healthy relationships and learn the true value of relationships.
Women who lack self-esteem typically seek comfort and approval in their relationships. However, it’s not uncommon for their partners to lack self-esteem, too, which inevitably denies both of them of true love, happiness and support. Without self-love and self-acceptance, neither you nor your partner can enjoy each other; provide each other with support, help, and appreciation.
If your partner doesn’t appreciate himself or herself, they can’t appreciate you either. They can also keep overwhelming you with their anxiety and depression, which will further negatively affect your feelings and opinions about yourself. Since such a problem is deeply rooted in both individuals, it’s highly advisable that you schedule an appointment with an expert who can help you overcome the obstacles in your relationship. It’s of the utmost importance that both you and your partner learn to accept yourselves first and then each other and overcome your issues with self-esteem.
While working on your relationship requires both your and your partner’s efforts, there are certain changes that you can make for yourself and improve your self-esteem. You should take care of both your mind and your body – feeling satisfied with your body can contribute to a more positive self-image. You should also avoid perfectionism and unrealistic expectations for yourself. You can never be perfect, so learn to accept and love your flaws.