I have noticed that not too many people give self-esteem muchimportance. I could tell by the reaction I get when I explain to others that part of what I do for a living is help people improve their self-esteem. Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way the value of having good self-esteem. It all started a few years ago. After fifteen years of working in an indusry with very little heart or soul and chasing the money, I went back to school to finish my Bachelors degree and obtain a teaching credential. I was not sure how I would make a living and provide for my son on a teacher's salary, but I knew friends that somehow made it work and they live comfortably. So I dedicated my time and energy to school even though it was exhausting and I rarely had time with my son.
Finally the day came, I graduated and the teaching credential was close to being obtained as well. Then my employer announces that he has to close down the office in three months for financial reasons. I thought, "No big deal I am almost done with the teaching credential." Turns out that shortly after my employer's announcement, the teacher lay-offs began and also a freeze for a few years on hiring more. Being the savvy problem solver that I am, I thought I could substitute teach for a while until something better came up. One of my siblings paid for all of the things that were required to be a subsitute teacher such as getting finger printed. It was a couple hundred dollars which I did not have since my employer did not want to release the unemployment money and I had to wait eight months with no income whatsoever until the date of the court case.
Then I am told that new substitute teachers will not be called in for work because they are giving priority on calling the laid-off teachers.After theywill call substitutes by seniority. Since I was a new substitute I was at the bottom of the list. I was told not to expect to be called. I wish they would have told me this before my brother spent his money on the requirements so that I could get in. After being so long with no income I lost my home and my son and I had to stay with family. If it wasn't for their charity my son and I would have been homeless. All of our belongings were scattered in different relative's homes because within two years we moved five times and had no space where we were able to put our things in.
I also had no romantic relationship to speak of.Itwould have been such a big support for me at the time. I did not allow love back into my life after my experience with a dysfunctional ex boyfriend I was living with a year before. Mainly because his son was a big bully and my little boy was traumatized by the experience so I was more concerned with his welfare than anything else.
Do to all of the chaos and financial struggle I began eating to soothe my stress. Since I had so many other things to worry about I did not realize what I was doing until I had gained a substancial amount of weight. I lost the figure I was so proud of and worked extremely hard to maintain in previous years. My health also started to deterioate. I began having heart problems and developed vitiligo which spread rapidly during this time.
I felt I had been stripped away of everything. Or at least everything that I had considered determined my worth. This was the lowest point of my adult life. Once things began to stabalize and I started the healing process, I finally learned that my value did not depend on what I had or did not have and maybe all of this drama occured so that I would learn this lesson. Looking back at my life, I was always trying to be or do something. Not for the joy of doing it, but because I felt the need to do it to prove my worth.I did not know that losing a few pounds, getting an awesome job, having a wonderful life partner, obtaining degrees and credentials was not going tomagically transform me into a person who truly had high regard for herself. I know now that my true value did not depend on externals whatsoever.
As time goes by I am learning new reasons why having good self-esteem is so valuable. For one, I would not have dated the dysfunctional brute with the bully son much less moved in with him. The signs that he was a jerk were there, but because I did not have true self-esteem I ignored all of the red flags. If I had high regard for myself I would not have waited so long to realize that I could do so much better than working at jobs I hated. I also would have recovered much faster from all of the losses I experienced above instead of spending yearswallowing in self-pity because I had lost what I thought determined by value.
Today I am grateful to finally be able say "I love myself". I no longer feel the void that kept me striving and overachieving in hopes that I could fill the emptyness with the next thing I accomplished. I recogninize that I am not perfect and I do work on improving my imperfections. But I also know that I am a magnificent being regardless of my flaws. This has led me to understand what true love is. True love is not about loving someone who is perfect or even loving them inspite of their imperfections but because of them. This is the way I love myself now and I expect nothing less from others. The interesting thing is that ever since I shifted towards healthy self-esteem people treat me with respect and honor. When I walk into a room I am received with love and kindness. Even when the room is full of strangers. Last year I made a new friend who approached me in a class. She went strait to me after a few minutes of my arrival and said, "Let's be friends". This morning my mechanic (who makes house calls) brought me coffee. He was here to work on my car, provide a service for me, and he brings me this really good coffee.
Presently I teach others to learn to love themselves (warts and all) so that they could live healthier, happier and a more fulfilling life. If you would like to get more details my contact information is in my site quantumlifechanges.blogpot.com.