When people talk about boosting self-esteem they often refer to new haircuts, long bubble baths and, lately, eating more protein. All of these things have their place, especially if they bring you comfort and pleasure. But they’re not enough. Because your self-esteem is constantly under attack, the process of safeguarding your self-esteem needs to happen consciously and consistently throughout the day. Giving yourself a weekly facemask or doing your nails will not protect against all of the weathering of the outside world.
Here’s a fairly typical Thursday morning of mine. There’s nothing unusual or different about this morning. But as you can see, in just three hours, the self-esteem saboteurs are out enforce.
My self-esteem morning diary
Wake up: Check my email, see an email from a magazine editor who’s requesting some changes to my work. It’s a heart sink start to the morning. What I want to see is, “Celia your work is amazing, and this is the best article I’ve ever read.”
My son is up dressed and ready for school. But, after scrambling for his book bag, and hurrying out of the house he mentions a fall-out with a friend. I feel like I’ve missed this, and wished he’d told me sooner so we could have discussed it properly. Perhaps if I’d been more organised this morning, we’d have made the time to talk. Holding his little hand, I feel like I’ve temporarily failed him and this makes me wonder if I’m a bad mum.
Start my morning’s work, and as I check the headlines on Google I’m met with a targeted advert for a slimming shake that employs the phrase ‘bikini body’. Accompanied by a picture of a very slim, tanned, attractive, young woman. I hate this advert. It’s retrogressive, obvious and patronising. And yet, I find myself considering my own body -specifically its faults. And the confronting thought of how it might look on the beach come summertime.
My partner comes down to remind me that we’re meeting friends this weekend. In all honesty I hadn’t checked my calendar this morning, and the arrangements had slipped my mind. He comments on how forgetful I am, wondering aloud what’s going on with me, before going back to work upstairs.
As you can see, I’m only mid-morning and yet my self-esteem has already been pummelled. Over the course of days and weeks it’s like death by a thousand paper cuts
Quick methods to support self-esteem throughout the day
Is a subject I’m always banging on about. I love it’s simplicity, its wholesomeness and, best of all, its results. Just imagine what you’d say to a dear friend and then say it to yourself. So, you’d never want her to fret about how she might look in a bikini or compare herself to a young model. You’d confirm how gorgeous she is, reiterate that no one is going to be criticising her body and direct her to all the different beautiful women who aren’t stick thin. If she really did still want to lose a few pounds, then you’d suggest a kinder method. For example, regularly going on brisk walks together or cutting out some alcohol. You would never, ever suggest she takes a slimming shake.
Just being aware of the myriad of messages and the impact these can have on your self-esteem can help protect you. Log into social media, flick through a magazine or walk through a tube station and you will be bombarded. The advertising and selling we’re surrounded by is so consistent that some of it permeates unconsciously. But by paying attention to these adverts and consciously connecting with how they make us feel can restore some of our power. This is turn helps with safeguarding your self-esteem.
Yes, I hold my hands up, I hadn’t checked my dairy and the weekend with friends had temporarily slipped my mind. But forgetful is unfair. I am a busy working mum, with a partner, a career, magazine deadlines and friends I love. At some point I will forget something. But instead of worrying about it, celebrate the fact that this is what a full life looks like. I am lucky to have a job I love, fortunate to have family around me and overjoyed that I have friends to spend time with. Forgetfulness is the price I pay for a full life that needs to be juggled. So be it.
If you’ve got any other ways that have worked well for safeguarding your self-esteem, please let me know. I’d love to hear them, just comment below.