Last week I wrote about self-esteem and a reader reminded me that self-esteem comes from self-love. The only way we can think well of ourselves is if we actually have love for ourselves as well as others. Out of the feeling of self-acceptance comes the good decision that leads to good self-esteem, in my opinion.
Many years ago I saw a brief part of an interview between Tina Turner and Oprah Winfrey. Oprah asked Tina Turner something along the lines of “did you ever think you’d have a life full of money and fame and do you think you deserve it?”
Her answer stayed with me all these years: “Yes, I deserve it.” Her attitude expressed supreme confidence in herself and her worthiness. I’m not sure if she added “we all do,” but if she didn’t, then I did. We all deserve every good thing, just because we exist. Everyone else deserves every good thing, and so do we.
In fact, I don’t truly believe we can really accept others until we accept ourselves, warts and all. Think about it—who do you judge the most harshly? You are judging yourself.
If you look at someone’s life and say “they don’t know how good they have it,” you are saying that to yourself.
If you look at someone and say, “Wow, I can’t believe she wore that to the Oscars!” you are judging yourself and finding yourself lacking.
If not, you would look at all the beautiful people on the red carpet and think, “what a wonderful night this must be for them.” No judgment, only acceptance.
So the path to good self-esteem starts before your good decision. It starts when you decide that you are worthy of love, too. When you truly believe that, you will behave differently and make different decisions, decisions that lead to good self-esteem.
I have a friend who was dating a wonderful man for a number of years. After they’d been together a few years she wondered why he didn’t want to get married. She knew that he planned to marry someday as they’d discussed it, but he didn’t ask her. When she asked him why, he said he didn’t know.
Much as she loved him, one day she said goodbye to him. He wanted to keep things the way they were and asked her not to leave. She said she didn’t understand why she was good enough to be his girlfriend but not good enough to be his wife and that it made her feel bad. So she left.
Six months later, after no contact, he asked her to dinner—and proposed. They’ve been together ever since.
The moral of the story isn’t that he proposed, it’s that when my friend started to feel bad about herself, she did what she needed to do to feel better. She chose to love herself as much as she loved him.
What decisions do you (or would you) make with love for yourself?