It is my personal opinion that most people are unnecessarily insecure. These insecurities can hold people back from being truly happy, and living life to the fullest. Where do these insecurities come from? How can we become more confident?
The need for the approval of others is one of our first learned behaviors. As we started life, many of us learned that we received our parents love when we did things that pleased them. We were met with negativity, or not as much love, when we did things that upset them. Our parents were the gods of our universe at that time, and their love was not only desired instinctually, but was necessary for our survival.
As we move out into the world as individuals, we still feel that the acceptance and praise of others keeps us validated, and defines us as meaningful contributors to society. So this means that a large motivator for doing anything is the expectation of positive feedback from someone else.
When we receive praise, we allow it to lift us up, and we feel good about what we have done. A negative reaction from someone, can make us feel bad, and can even make us question our validity.
People's responses to outside stimulus are based mostly on unconscious neurological brain patterns. In other words, positive or negative judgments are not based on any valid truth. We have low self-esteem because we’ve allowed this to define us as people.
I.e. If my association with Easter is: being stuck in a really hot station wagon, wearing an ugly, ruffled, polyester dress that I hated, my mind will create a negative association around all things Easter. Because of this negative experience, my head will try to keep me safe from feeling this discomfort again by flooding my nervous system with negative feelings in response to Easter stimulus. From a subconscious standpoint, Easter things equal pain. I will be internally prompted to shy away from, or reject anything in the Easter category.
Years later, this turns into me declining an invitation to go to Easter dinner at your family's house. You may decide that because of this, I don't like you, or I think you’re bad cook, or that your family is horrible company.
If I say yes to the invitation, you assume it means that I do like you, I do think you're a good cook, and I love being around your family.
Your internal assumptions create whether or not you have high or low self-esteem. That was obviously an over-the-top exaggeration, so you can really see the dynamic. Which leads me to the first step to raise your self-esteem:
Step 1. When you do things, do them because you want to, and not because you want somebody else to like it.
Whether someone else is for, or against something you do, has everything to do with them, and nothing to do with you. You have to let go of the desire to be validated by others.
You will only take a judgment personally if it's something you internally agree with, yourself. This is why it is so important to practice self-love, and release the judgment you have about yourself.
This makes you the only person truly qualified to define you, for better or worse. The human brain needs a story of identification to acknowledge a person, place, or thing. It won't even acknowledge something is real, until it feels it can identify it with a story to make it relatable in some way.
Step 2. Create and maintain a positive self-story.
What this means, is that your mind has a story about who you are. You probably actually have two stories, one that puts you in a really positive light, and one putting you in a negative light. You need to redefine yourself, and create a story that can embrace every part of yourself through the eyes of love, and respect.
Ideally, you want to rise above the stories, and realize that you're far bigger, and greater than your mind can comprehend.
Now that you are completely responsible for your own value and your life experience, you may be wondering what role other people have in your life. If you are your own source of love and acceptance, you need to redefine the role of the other people. Part of their role, is to reflect the quality of the story you hold about yourself. Your negative story days will attract negative feedback and cruelty from others. While your positive story days will attract praise and validation from others.
The truth is that we are all part of the same thing. We need each other to survive. Companionship is a very healthy part of human existence.
This information is just giving you the tools to navigate, and create the happiest life possible. Feel empowered by the truth that you are free to express yourself as you choose, and nothing you do has the power to take away your value.