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Should self-esteem/self-worth be earned or should everyone have them?


Krombopulos
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I've been struggling with this a lot lately. Especially after a dear friend of mine started harping on my lack of self esteem. I know I've done somethings right and I'm doing better than others in a few areas I still can't help but feel like something of a loser. I'll break it down.

I'm 32 with 30,000 saved up but no credit, barely any equity, and no 401k and a job that only makes $17.80 an hour that I'm not particularly fond of(savings from living with mom and dad as long as I did). 

I workout often and have a decent body but for as long as I've been working out I should look better. I don't have a six pack, my arms are scrawny and as the day goes on I bloat badly.

I recently obtained an entry level cert. in computer programming and other than that I have no skills or credentials. I'm trying to advance in my knowledge of programming but it is an uphill arduous battle. Every inch is a mile. I've tried teaching myself before as well as other subjects only to struggle profusely and give up. Despite my friends telling me I'm smart, I can't help but feel stupid.

So all things considered why SHOULD I have high self-esteem and self-worth, I feel like I haven't made it! I'm in a relationship that makes me feel like I'm single and honestly ALL I want is to be good enough for someone, and to make someone happy. I'm not even real into the computer stuff, I just view it as the most convenient way for me to move up, to become "good enough"(Not to mention you really need a skill or something in order to make it in this economy). As soon as I hit a snag or encounter adversity my first thought is "I'll never be good enough", when that's all that I want. To be good enough for someone so they can make me feel like I'm enough. As weird as it sounds, every night before falling asleep I lay down, close my eyes and imagine being in someone's arms who makes me feel like I'm enough. 

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10 minutes ago, somechick99 said:

There's a free audiobook on YouTube called "The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem" and it's only a few hours long, I recommend you check it out

This sounds like a good place to start.

I used to think I had no value to anyone or myself.  My mother made me feel that way, likely she felt that way about herself.  It took me a long time to realize I was as good as anyone else and, in some ways, better than others, mainly because I am quite smart.

I think if you work on yourself, perhaps using that book, you will realize you are as good as the next guy and stop being so hard on yourself.

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Everyone doesn't have self esteem.  I don't know if "earn" is the correct word to describe developing self esteem.  Usually, self esteem evolves during phases of your life.  You don't have to earn self esteem.  Self esteem isn't a gift or a reward.  It's something you discover about yourself as you learn how to become more self confident.

$30,000 savings for a 32 year old is a lot of money.  Do not despair.  You have a whole life ahead of you.  Keep trying and never give up.  If something confuses you or you need help, seek assistance so you'll understand programming.  You are good enough and you do matter. 

If your relationship is unsatisfactory, perhaps this person in your relationship isn't for you. 

Chin up.

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Most people I know with high self-esteem dont have too much to be proud for. I mean its derived on at least something, whether its maybe a beauty, money, some success with opposite sex, maybe some position of power, but in a reality, I could poke holes and holes in their self-esteem with how much its not deserved. So I wouldnt worry that much when all you got to do today is to have at least some fake sense of self-worth and ride high on that. You do you. You dont have to think of yourself as the best. You have to appreciate yourself. To work on yourself and see yourself as "good enough". Admittedly you wont do that by being a simp without an opinion of your own but by being confident that you have to offer something and that you dont have to pay for stripper to f your butt. But you dont have to think of yourself high for that, just have to see your own worth. 

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4 hours ago, Krombopulos said:

Especially after a dear friend of mine started harping on my lack of self esteem.

Pick your company with care. There are individuals who will encourage you and inspire you and there are others who will not be able to do any of that. I like being around company that inspires me.

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How do you eat a sandwich?  One bite at a time right?  It sounds like you think everyone else just ate the sandwich in one big bite and was done with it.

The things you think are important for self esteem or self worth will be totally different for someone else.  Instead of trying to achieve what you think others consider makes you worthy why don't you think about it and tell us what you feel deep down would help you feel better about yourself in this world.

 There are some on this planet that didn't achieve what you are seeking until they gave everything they had accumulated and accomplished away.  This isn't about stuff or muscles it is about you, your soul and what feeds that soul.

  Money wise you are on a good tract but you do need to pivot a little.  Having no credit is better than having bad credit so you are ahead already there.  Get a credit card, one preferably with no annual fees (check your bank where you have the 30K first) and use it for some of your daily expenses.  Gas, food, entertainment or whatever as long as you pay off the balance BEFORE it is actually due.  I am pretty sure the credit agencies check your percentage of credit usage each month on the 15th so to keep your percentage low (below 10% of available credit) pay the bill early on the 13th.  Your credit score will rise if your percentage stays under 10% but if it looks like you use 30 or 40 % of available credit you look like more of a risk.  Of course this has nothing to do with self esteem but you mentioned it so I threw it in.  

 How we perceive ourselves in this world is relative many times.  If you are the big fish in the big pond you don't feel special but get tossed into the little pond and even though you haven't changed you suddenly feel important.

  Lost

Edited by lostandhurt
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5 hours ago, Krombopulos said:

 a dear friend of mine started harping on my lack of self esteem. 

Who's this "dear friend"? 

The best place to start is by going to a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health.

Ask for a referral to a qualified therapist for ongoing support.

The next thing to do is broaden your horizons. Join some groups, clubs, sports, volunteer, get a side hustle, take some classes, etc.

It seems more like you've developed a lot of bad habits like hookers and strip clubs along with getting in a rut of work, gym, strip joint, porn, masterbation, etc.

All these things demoralize you and contribute to this self loathing.

The lack of physical improvement despite working out is why you need your health checked out. As well as being assessed for depression, anxiety, etc.

 

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Self esteem isn’t tied to accomplishments. Consider all the celebrities who share that they lack self esteem. I mean accomplishments can enhance but it’s not at the core.  I think you’ve received great advice.  That audiobook sounds interesting!

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I don't believe self esteem is 'earned', but felt .

If you have low self esteem is due to your own frame of mind .. and internal thoughts, etc.

If you're feeling so low, is most likely due to some reason's or your mental stability.

Is normal to feel frustrated throughout our lives, like we are going nowhere, just not happy with a few things, etc.

Re: your work, experience etc, as long as YOU are happy about it, your accomplishments etc, then no one else's opinion matters. Is what YOU want and like.

As for your gf issue, that's simple enough.  If you don't feel 'happy' around her anymore, then maybe it's run it's ground and you need to remove yourself from that situation now.

Yes, usually we aim for things that we want, things we want to change, etc.

So, don't sit in the little puddle of mud.  Change a few things to your own liking.

Having a nice amt saved up for yourself is good!  You're succeeding there.  For many it can take a good while to progress.  have a savings acct, etc.

But do what you want in your life.  And ignore what anyone else has to say. 🙂 

 

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4 hours ago, Batya33 said:

Self esteem isn’t tied to accomplishments. Consider all the celebrities who share that they lack self esteem. I mean accomplishments can enhance but it’s not at the core.  I think you’ve received great advice.  That audiobook sounds interesting!

It is. It absolutely is.

If you were a homeless person living on Skid Row, would you have high self esteem? Self-esteem is tied to accomplishments, and a bunch of other things. But having everything doesn't guarantee you self-esteem either. So it's a chicken or the egg problem. 

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Gaining self esteem can but somewhat esoteric.  I couldn't really grasp what it was and how to go about it.  I agree with reading some books on it.  That helped me.  The Six Pillars of Self Esteem is the gold standard on this subject.

What made things a little clearer is the literal definition of of esteem.  It's a latin term for value of one's self.  Or the love of oneself.   Hence *self esteem = self love. 

It isn't about the acceptance of others.  It's about truly loving and accepting yourself.   It's not about the money in the bank and certs on the wall.  It's achieved by acting in loving ways to yourself.  And, it doesn't happen overnight.   It's about changing the way you view it, your internal dialog and the way you go about getting there.  It's about having a relationship with yourself.

You can work hard and achieve some*thing.   But the reward is being proud of yourself for having accomplished it.  It's not about how others view it.

It's about making some sometimes difficult decisions in your own self care.   You did mention how unhappy you currently are in your current relationship. 

I can go on and on . .but I'll stop here.   I think you've gotten some good advise.  Good luck!  It's a journey well worth it.

Edited by reinventmyself
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35 minutes ago, Tonight.majestic said:

It is. It absolutely is.

If you were a homeless person living on Skid Row, would you have high self esteem? Self-esteem is tied to accomplishments, and a bunch of other things. But having everything doesn't guarantee you self-esteem either. So it's a chicken or the egg problem. 

I might.  I said having things can enhance it but it's internal.  We just have different definitions it seems. 

When I was single in my late 30s and wanted to be married and be a mom and it felt like everyone around me achieved what I so wanted, I kept falling short of finding a husband who was a good match - yes of course it affected my self concept but - I felt 100% worthy of finding the right person for me - I felt I brought more than enough to the table.  I was like that homeless person in that respect.  I didn't have what I felt I needed to be fulfilled, complete, to reach my goals -not life and death but with my bio clock ticking sometimes it felt nearly so.  And I still had a healthful sense of self worth. 

Because unlike the OP it did not occur to me to settle, did not occur to me to make someone else happy at my own expense. Had I been willing not to have that self worth I'd have married at age 24 and a mom shortly after, the first time I was engaged to Mr. Right on Paper.  

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I don't think you earn self esteem, as in someone else gives it to you.  You have to work on it to achieve it. But maybe that is the same thing. 

Sounds like you just aren't very engaged in life or it could be your goals just haven't been identified yet...

If your so called friend's opinion is not the same as yours,  then maybe he is full of crsp.

setting goals, working to hit them is a good way to start working on self esteem. Read some books, talk to a doctor and see if therapy is something you should pursue. 

If you're working out and not getting buff, then maybe you are doing it just to stay healthy which is a good thing. 

Maybe you're struggling with computers and getting that career going because you need a mentor or to go to school for it. 

If you're not happy with your girlfriend, end it. Being with someone that makes you feel single, is worse than being single.  And could be draining the f out of you. 

Same for friends that put you down.

 

Edited by Lambert
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It sounds like you're not really enjoying your career path or relationship and that's a recipe for disaster, no matter who you are. 

I think figuring out what really makes YOU tick is key to having better self esteem. 

 

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Self esteem / self worth are not earned and no, everyone shouldn't have them because it's a very individual choice.  You either choose to have it or you don't. 

I didn't have much self esteem / self worth long ago.  It goes way back to kindergarten!  I remember the only classmate who befriended me was an overweight unpopular girl just as I was.  I wasn't overweight.  I was a scrawny misfit.  She was a nice friend and I was grateful for her friendship otherwise I felt like an outcast by all the other girls. 

As I grew up, this same pattern of unpopularity continued throughout my school life.  I had a few friends but most of the time, I was either bullied, shunned or both.  I could never win. 

I never dated, never had a boyfriend, never attended any dances, proms, winter formals and I felt like an ugly duckling.  I gave up trying so I went my own way, kept my head down and worked.  I accepted how my life was. 

When my father died and left a young widow with three children, I went to work full time night shift while enrolled in school by day.  I helped raise my younger siblings and contributed to the household financially.  Employment was rough.  I was harassed, unpopular, a hard worker but treated badly.  I felt like such a loser.  My life went from bad to worse when my supervisor deliberately blackballed me by laying me off. 

Within 24 hours of layoff, I snatched up a job in the next department within the same company.

I continued to toil and ascended in my career while transferring to full time day shift. 

There were times when my former supervisor and ex-night shift crew greeted me in the hallway as they were beginning their shift and as I was leaving my new job at the end of the day.  They acted as if they were my best friends.  I gave them the cold shoulder and snubbed them.  They were mean to me when I was nothing and now that I had made it, they ingratiated themselves with me.  At that point, I out earned them in rank and income.  It was my turn to shine and this time, my self confidence / self esteem soared. 

No man ever paid attention to me whatsoever.  I figured this was the way it was going to be.  I said, "Forget it."   I focused on myself, became healthy, fit, concentrated on my career and I was extremely busy with my own life.  Then one day, a funny thing happened.  Since I was so busy succeeding and prospering in my own right, suddenly, I garnered a lot of attention from men.  I felt as if I had blossomed from an ugly duckling to a swan.  Or, I was Cinderella at the ball.  Eligible bachelors were crawling out of the woodwork and clamoring for my attention.   I declined so many dates galore.  I also developed a lot of hobbies.  I became my own person.  I was somebody.  I didn't rely on others to provide my happiness and financial security.  I had moved up in the world.

I met my husband and our in person social life expanded with the upwardly mobile set.  I had the time of my life. 

My husband is successful and we have two fine sons.  We live in the suburbs and it's a settled, stable, established life. 

I can't speak for everyone.  My self confidence / self esteem came from hard work to arrive here and then self confidence was the result of years of toil and being able to do what others don't or can't do.  Self confidence / self esteem / self worth / self confidence comes from feeling  SECURE

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