The Precarious Balance of Self-Esteem

I actually wrote this over the Memorial Day weekend when I was coming down from a couple of days of massive insecure feelings about…almost everything but I was really motivated, passionate, and frankly just peeved that I had to get my post on #YesAllWomen out before it all ate me alive so I cranked that out and posted it right away (if you missed it you can go to the main page and scroll to the post just before this one).

As it happens this is also the post I’ve been talking about finishing for weeks. The title came to me, what must be months ago already and I liked it and knew I needed to make it a full thing. Being a girl in general, but especially being a bigger girl, confidence and self-esteem are these big, sometimes looming, figures that society builds up as oober important and not always in the best ways. So I’ve got plenty of experience and thoughts on the approach to cultivating a decent and healthy(ish) balance, and despite my relative non-importance to the world at large I felt like sharing it anyways. ;)

I think some people believe that confidence is an either/or thing, that is black and white. A person either has it by the truck loads or they have none at all. Which….no, just no.

On any given day I can feel like I am atop a mountain and my fabulous is likely to blind people, but then the next day I could feel like the at the bottom walked over and unnoticed by everyone. Most days I live in an existence of believing I am a ledge or viewing deck somewhere in the middle of the hike. It’s not a bad place to exist, I have adapted and accepted it.

For me self-esteem is much like sexuality and gender; fluid. It isn’t a thing that isn’t or must be set in stone and unchanging. An individual could live comfortably on one end of a spectrum, or the other, or the middle, or all three in one week. Nothing is permanent or unmovable, and that’s perfectly alright.

I could say that in an ideal world we all could live in the positive and see ourselves as nothing but incredible, but there is no such thing. No world, even alternative ones, are perfect and that reflects in us human beings.

Yeah the whole “we are all special snowflakes” line is cheesy and idealistic but it sort of applies. No two people are exactly alike, or provide all the same skill sets, or even have similar tastes. It’s the human condition that we are all different in some way or another and we have got to stop seeing that as a bad or negative thing. There are no actual standards of perfection as much as a lot of different structures in society would prefer us to believe. The only standard that truly matters is the one you set for yourself.

Like for myself; I am a big proponent of positive thinking and constantly reminding myself of the things I am good at or what I have accomplished. Even if that list has just a small handful of things, those things are still mine. Those are still things that make me “me” and unique to my own make up that the Universe has never duplicated.

That definitely doesn’t mean I don’t have a list of things I am not good at, have failed at, or still dream of accomplishing. Days exist where I just can’t put forth the effort to keep up the positive life. For every happy thought there is bound to be a sad or negative thought. It’s not a thing I enjoy, because frankly days like that are a real bitch to get through even if I know a sunny one is waiting. Another cliché ideology but it’s the whole “Just because others have it worst doesn’t nullify my level of suck” concept. But for life to move forward there has to be a balance and it’s why, for me at least, I whether the crappy times and thoughts, so that I can more fully appreciate and enjoy the bright ones.

Even better is the knowledge that I know I am not alone. No matter how alone and left behind we can feel, everybody has gone on a similar journey. It likely wasn’t identical but it consisted of similar themes and feelings. The feeling of unity and “team” is powerful, even for the most independent of people, at least in my experience. That sense of togetherness is like the arms of Lady Justice, who keeps the scales suspended, they are the true strength behind the balancing act, keeping the whole damn ship afloat.

Another thing I like to do is have what you could call a “idol” when it comes to this whole shebang. I admire the hell out of Mindy Kaling. She is unapologetically confident (with every right to be) but open with the flaws she believes she has. She doesn’t appear to bother long with either her imperfections or killer skills, they are just pieces to the puzzle that she is and she’s good with that. I could be jealous of a lot about Mindy; her intelligence, talent, looks, that freaking wardrobe, or even the fact that she has made a career out hand picking talented and good-looking men to play her love interests. But nah, I’d much rather be envious of her effortless balance of self-confidence.

Truly at the end of the day I don’t think there is a “cure” or “solution” to perfecting the balance. It feels like undeniable nature that the scales tip in one direction one day and the other another, mostly leveling enough to let us get by day-to-day. The most we can do is just be aware and have coping methods in place for when they are needed. We let ourselves put so much stress on the concepts of self-esteem and confidence but it’s a thing we have to let grow as we do in order to be the right fit.


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