“Why are you trying so hard to fit in, when you’re born to stand out.”
- oliver james
But. Today I am going to use it to discuss self esteem. Especially a woman’s self esteem (I have an entire post on this coming up on the heels of my Unhealthy Eating posts).
Self esteem. It comes from the inside out. In its truest sense that means a woman is not dependent upon anyone else to make her feel good about herself. She feels fine just the way she is aware of strengths and abilities and is comfortable unequivocally sharing them with others (or let’s say unequivocally enough that it doesn’t affect pursuing relationship or having positive relationships).
She is also aware of areas needing work and flaws. But is comfortable knowing no one can be perfect. So there is a basic understanding, and inner belief, that we all have our strengths and weaknesses and she has the self esteem to be independent (not dependent).
All you have to do is work in marketing for even a short time and you realize that self esteem is a core identity issue (and Maslow has an entire hierarchical chart reflecting this which I have probably used a half dozen times in presentations).
Maslow notes self esteem is essential to personal validation and the ability to experience happiness. But. Self esteem resides within.
So. A healthy self esteem is important on a number of levels.
But here is the deal.
Self esteem is attacked or stunted from the outside.
So. A woman with low self esteem does not feel good about herself mainly because she has absorbed negative messages about women from one, or a combination, of these – society, what culture communicates around her, relationships (parents and/or companions).
Let me cut to the chase.
Society seems to doom every woman to eventual failure (unless she is made of Teflon or looks like Angeline Jolie).
Magazines, from teens on, pound away on one message – focus all efforts on appearance.
Oh. And not just “appearance” but rather “approved appearance.”
It seems many girls are encouraged by their tweens to stop enjoyable fun activities they may have enjoyed up to that point and focus their energy in pursuit of social acceptance (or they go the exact opposite direction seeking to file themselves under “outcast”).
And how crazy does it become? Well. They become rabbits eating leaves without salad dressing, jog in hurricanes, and dance like nuts to disco and sweat in designer outfits and swear they love every minute of it.
Oh. And TV. Never ending cosmetic surgery ads encouraging women to “repair” flaws in pursuit of appearance perfection (or the somewhat dubious “approved appearance”).
Geez. How can they? Magazine models are airbrushed to perfection as well as so thin I am not sure it is physically possible to have bones. All the beautiful movie stars are whipped into perfect shape by 8 hour workouts and personal trainers and surgery is used as if it’s like brushing teeth in the morning to create a fairly unattainable ideal.
Let me note right now. This women’s’ poor self esteem issue just steams me. I know all women do not have it but far far too many do.
And this is nuts. Absolutely nuts. And I am gonna swing into a guy’s perspective on this.
This is a huge generalization but the buck stops here. With guys (men).
Since when have men followed what society tells us to do? We need to find our inner rebel and take this on (either that or just get our heads out of our asses). It is kind of up to us to solve this issue. At least for the women around us that we actually care about.
Not magazines. Not TV.
Sure. They drive me nuts but, hey … I would start with American Idol or Bridezillas before I attacked women’s magazines and cosmetic ads.
Why us men?
- We are there and can make an impact.
- Because it matters.
This is not from me. This is from someone who has PhD’s out the wazzoo talking about self esteem:
“Because they don’t have the self-esteem to know that there is someone amazing out there for them.”
“They just don’t accept that someone really does not only accept them for who they are but could even possibly love them – as is.”
And they beat themselves up. And they compromise. And they find abusive companions. And they feed this self esteem machine running 24/7 inside of them and a lot of really smart, beautiful and amazing women get destroyed by this – and it is a slow destruction taking little bite after little bite from the inside out.
And I get steamed.
And the crazy thing? (and this is really crazy).
Society has us all so screwed up in our thinking that even the women who you wouldn’t even hesitate to put into the ‘beautiful’ category have self esteem issues.
Look. In my Unhealthy Eating diatribe I state my belief. Healthy comes in all shapes and sizes.
Well. Here’s is the corollary or postulate or frickin’ theorem if you want it – Beautiful comes in all shapes and sizes.
And I don’t want to hear this crap about “she has a great personality” or “beauty is within.”
Everyone has someone who finds them beautiful, as is, out there in this world.
If you haven’t found that person keep looking.
On that issue?
Do. Not. Compromise.
(deep breath here)
I would imagine I wrote this because I just finished my unhealthy eating posts and portions of this self esteem appearance issue keeps rattling around in discussions people are having over obesity versus unhealthy and eating.
And the discussions are taking place among women I value … respect … and frankly cannot understand how we (society) put them in a place where they would even question “oh, someone could never see me that way.”
Drives. Me. frickin’. Nuts.
The beautiful women I know are beautiful because they don’t fit into some magazine outlined appearance or whatever. They don’t meet the “approved appearance” criteria (but I also probably could count on one hand women who do).
They are beautiful because they are individuals. The package. The imperfections make them perfect. They should be encouraged to stand out not wear themselves out trying to fit in.
And, because I am a guy, I can say this.
I think more guys should step up to the plate and be more positive with women.
Especially if you care.
Nowhere in ‘caring’ do I see any derivative of “diminish.”
So guys if you want a clone, go get one. But for the women who want to stand out and maybe not fit exactly into society sameness standards please don’t try and make them into clones.
Let them find someone who loves them as is.