To many of us, self-consciousness does not seem like a big deal. After all, we are used to seeing with people like television personality Steven Colbert—who have egos that can rival the state of Texas. That is not a bad thing; it is the opposite in fact. Thanks to the lack of an ego, many teenage emotional issues ruin our ability to live complete, comfortable lives. And what goes hand-in-hand with a lot of physical and mental problems in today’s society is self-esteem—the only resource that’s more important than gasoline.
Self-esteem is all about how much people value themselves, the pride they feel in themselves, and how worthwhile they think they are. Somebody with low self-esteem does not see very much good in the mirror.
Then again, it is difficult to accept yourself when everyone else will not. The world is beginning to look down upon the hobbies that make one happy. If someone cannot whirl pompoms properly or score a touchdown, their worth is greatly diminished.
When the activities we love are rejected, we begin to hate ourselves, or lose self-esteem. When one’s self-esteem drops, we lose the ability to make good choices. For example, many teenage girls who do not practice safe sex habits have much lower self-esteem than those who do. Do not cringe, it is true. Without confidence in ourselves, we lose the positive thoughts that we rely on to keep ourselves healthy.
The media feeds on this as well. Eating disorders come from the advertised body image. Normal people with healthy bodies starve themselves and throw up in order to look like those underweight models glued to any flat surface. These issues lead to even more serious problems like depression and anxiety. This is not just a “girl issue”—both males and females suffer from self abuse at the sight of “perfect” people.
Thankfully, some action has been taken. Have any of you heard of Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty”? It is an advertisement that featured real women, the ones who have a healthy weight and look normal. The goal was to challenge the popular view that one can achieve the perfection of a model by buying a certain product.
We need to focus on programs like this more, leaving the need to morph ourselves into perfect robotic people behind. One of the best aspects of humans is our genetic differences. We are beautifully unique. It would be a pain if we could only see the same type of movie, listen to one type of music, read one type of book, wear one style of clothes, speak one language, have one type of class…so why expect the same in our bodies?
What would life be like if we all fit the perfect mold? There would be no such thing as beauty—nothing stands out in your mind anymore. You need to be different in order to be beautiful. And it does not even matter; somebody is always going to find a way to tell you “you are not good enough”. There is always going to be something that makes you horrible because you do not have it. There is a point where you need to step back and realize that maybe you are not doing anything wrong.
I am not telling you to develop an attitude. It is difficult enough to look at yourself in the mirror without throwing a hissy fit. Try to like yourself—it is more difficult than you would think. Even if it takes you an entire Saturday morning, stare into that mirror. Try to find something you like about yourself—even if it is just, “wow, my butt really looks awesome in these jeans”. It is better than deciding you’re fat and skipping meals for the weekend.
All you have when push comes to shove is yourself. It all comes back to you and what you’ve done. It may be cliché, but you need to like yourself in order to get anywhere in life. I am not going to go off on a “the sexiest thing is confidence” rant—that just makes me sound like a personal trainer. However, you are you. Your mind works through your body. If you do not take care of your body and mind, you have nothing. Because self-esteem is so important to the way one cares for themselves, it literally is everything. Self-esteem is the rarest and most important resource to the human body. And only you can give it to yourself.
Who knows? You might even end up like Colbert.