“I’m amazing for you, not because of you.”
Do you compare yourself to others, your life to other lives? That may be natural, even inevitable, since we live as social beings – but it can erode our self-esteem.
Comedian, writer and actor Amy Schumer has related an experience that lowered esteem and confidence; maybe you can relate or find it is familiar:
She recalls that before leaving to attend Towson University, “I was running my high school…I knew where to park, I knew where to get the best chicken-cutlet sandwich, I knew which custodians had pot.
“People knew me. They liked me. I was an athlete and a good friend. I felt pretty, I felt funny, I felt sane.
“Then I got to college in Maryland. My school was voted number one… for the hottest freshman girls in Playboy that year. And not because of me.”
She continued, “All of a sudden, being witty and charismatic didn’t mean sh*t.
“Day after day, I could feel the confidence drain from my body. I was not what these guys wanted. They wanted thinner, blonder, dumber.
“My sassy one-liners were only working on the cafeteria employees, who I was visiting all too frequently, tacking on not the Freshman 15, but the 30, in record-breaking time…I was getting no male attention, and I’m embarrassed to say, it was killing me.”
From her speech at the Gloria Awards and Gala, hosted by the Ms. Foundation for Women, quoted in article: Read Amy Schumer’s Powerful Speech About Confidence by Jennifer Vineyard.
In another interview, she commented, “I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong… I will never apologize.
“I stand here and I’m amazing for you, not because of you. I am not who I sleep with… I am not my weight. I am myself.”
From Emma Roberts, Dianna Agron, Amy Schumer, Zosia Mamet Talk First Love, Bad Sex And Instagram, by Emma Gray, The Huffington Post 05/21/2013.
[The photo is for a Vogue July 2016 feature, photographed by Annie Leibovitz, from Schumer’s Facebook page.]
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Especially for entertainers and women, judgments by others and themselves about body image can negatively impact healthy self-esteem.
Adele has achieved global popularity and success; for example, Wikipedia notes “21” is “the longest-running number one album by a female solo artist in the history of the UK and US Album Charts.”
She has admitted, “I do have body image problems, for sure.
“But I don’t let them rule my life at all.
“And there’s bigger issues going on in the world than how I feel about myself and stuff like that.
“There’s only one of you, so why would you want to look like anyone else?
“Why would you want to have the same hair style as everyone else and have the same opinions as everybody else?”
From post: Adele opens up about body image issues: ‘I don’t let them rule my life’, Entertainment Weekly, November 16 2015.
Linking, not ranking
Psychologist Elaine Aron comments in her post Ranking and Linking, For Better and For Worse:
“Research (and my own experience as a therapist) finds that low self-esteem underlies most depression, anxiety, and failed relationships.
“Yet in spite of our focus on raising self-esteem, we have had little success.
“In fact, research [indicates] low self-esteem is in a sense natural, one result of our instinct to rank ourselves among others…
“Repeating self-affirmations, the most common self-help treatment, only increases low self-esteem in those already feeling bad, as many hapless souls have found.”
She adds, “Are you often stuck in ranking? Then you are often undervaluing yourself.
“It’s natural. No wonder raising yourself in the self-esteem ranking is not the answer.
“To get out of ranking, switch to linking.”
One of her books is The Undervalued Self.
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How you see and treat yourself is a key
Psychologist Margaret Paul notes that people may they think they will gain high self-esteem when they make a lot of money, or achieve a high position, have an expensive car and home, become famous – or achieve other markers.
But, she notes: “While all of these can result in momentary good feelings, none of them create a deep and abiding sense of self-esteem.
“Self-esteem actually has nothing to do with your achievements or with other people.
“Self-esteem results from two things regarding your inner relationship with yourself: How you see yourself; How you treat yourself.”
Psychologists Erika Chopich and Margaret Paul developed an approach to emotional health called Inner Bonding, described as a “therapeutic modality that heals shame, and the resulting self-abandonment, that is often the root cause of anxiety, stress, depression, low self-esteem, addictions, and relationship problems.”
Musician Alanis Morissette says of her experience with Inner Bonding: “This process is of great nurturance to my artist, who I see as being synonymous with my inner child.”
Here is a short video about the process:
Margaret Paul presented a webinar about her Inner Bonding approach to help people gain emotional balance, self-esteem and healthy relationships.
You can get a free recording: 6 Secrets to Fully Loving Yourself.