Learning to Like Myself.
I’m going to tell you a story about Ekaete. This story is about how the things that happen to us every day affect our self-esteem, or how we feel about ourselves.
Ekaete is your age. She wakes up in the morning and realizes that she has overslept and she must get all her chores done before she can go to school. She realizes she may not get them done before she must leave. Her father scolds her for being late, and Ekaete is so upset that she accidentally drops her clean uniform into a bucket of dirty water.
Ekaete now has to wear her dirty uniform to school. She worries that she will look and smell dirty all day, and thinks people might judge her.
Ekaete has ten minutes to get ready for school. Just as she is going out the door, her mother tells her that her younger brother will be going to a friend’s place after school, so Ekaete doesn’t have to worry about coming home to take care of him. Ekaete forgets all about her worries about her uniform and starts thinking about what she can do with her newfound free time.
At school, Ekaete gets the results of a test she took the week before. Even though she studied for the test, she did very poorly, the worst in the class. She immediately goes to ask the teacher for an extra lesson after school to help her understand this topic better.
Later in the day, Ekaete tells her best friend about how upset she is that her friends were so mean about the test. Her best friend tells her not to worry so much, that she knows they’ve all failed tests before too. It turns out that one of them actually only scored one point higher than Ekaete on this test anyways! Ekaete resolves to stop listening to them, and to find some better friends.
After school, Ekaete meets with the teacher, who helps her understand the math formula that she couldn’t get on the test. Now that she understands it, Ekaete is sure she will do better on the next exam. Still, she knows she’ll have to study very hard.
After dinner, Ekaete tells her mother about the test. Her mother starts to yell at her for failing, but stops when Ekaete tells her that she already met with the teacher for extra help.
Ekaete’s day shows us how our self-esteem can get us through a bad day.
When we spend a lot of time thinking or listening to negative things about ourselves, it can make us feel small and worthless. When we feel bad about ourselves like this, we have low self-esteem.
Characteristics and Effects of Low Self-Esteem: - Inability to express your opinions - Inability to accept yourself - Not respecting or liking yourself or others
- Letting other people make decisions for you - Not believing in your abilities - Giving up easily
- Feeling disliked and unwanted - Blaming others for your failures - Always wanting to please other people - Always wanting to be someone else
When we have low self-esteem, everything seems to be harder, to take more effort. When we don’t feel good about ourselves, we tend to let other people make decisions for us, decisions that might not be in our own best interests.
So how do I improve my self-esteem, then?
By accepting yourself, your strengths and you weaknesses, and understanding that you are the most important person to judge yourself.
That sounds hard. Do you have any suggestions to make it easier?
Yes! try these....
Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem: - Accept yourself the way you are - Identify your values and behave according to them - Set realistic goals
- Develop your abilities and be proud of them - Select realistic role models
- Cultivate positive relationships - Be pleased with who you are - Accept compliments
Having high self-esteem makes it easier to be a child. When we’re young, fights with our family and friends, small setbacks like failing a test, or even just a bad dream can make us depressed very easily. If we can remember to like and accept ourselves, problems and disagreements are easier to overcome.
So what does someone with high self-esteem look like?
Someone with High Self-Esteem: - Believes in him or herself and has self-confidence - Accepts his or her weaknesses and strengths - Respects and likes him or herself and others
- Trusts him or herself - Makes his or her decisions based on what he or she feels is right, not what a friend may suggest - Can make decisions, face challenges, and cope with them
Let’s take a look at another day for Ekaete, and meet her friend Kunle.
She was excited to get to the first rehearsal for the inter-house football match. She had been chosen to represent her house, and couldn’t be happier for herself about it.
Meanwhile, in another house, Kunle woke up with a groan. He had also been chosen to represent his house, but was sure that he would fail. He dressed slowly and arrived at school so worried about the rehearsal that he couldn’t concentrate on his schooling.
Ekaete also couldn’t concentrate on her schooling, but because of her excitement. She greeted her friend Kunle, and noticed that he looked a little sad. Once they were both on the pitch, she noticed that the housemaster had to correct Kunle over and over again for the same mistake.
While she was watching Kunle, she missed an easy pass. Now the housemaster was upset with her! Ekaete told herself to focus on the match, not the other players, and quickly found her rhythm again.
Kunle watched the housemaster speak to Ekaete and wondered how she managed to still look so happy and play so well even after she had gotten into trouble. During the next break in the rehearsal, Kunle went to find Ekaete to talk to her.
Kunle asked Ekaete how she could handle having the housemaster correct her without getting upset. Ekaete told him that she knew she was good enough because she’d been picked for the team, so she just tried to remember that everyone makes mistakes now and then.
Ekaete asked Kunle if he thought that maybe he was concentrating so hard on how he would fail, that he just kept making the same mistake. Kunle agreed, but said he didn’t know how to stop it. Ekaete reminded him that he is a good player and he should remember that.
When it was time for rehearsal to resume, Ekaete told Kunle to takes some deep breaths and try to relax and stop worrying. Kunle still made some mistakes, but every time he did Ekaete made sure to smile at him and take a deep breath to remind him to do the same. By the end of rehearsal he was playing much better.
Wow, so having high self-esteem really can help us get through each day!
I know. You know, you can’t control what other people do or say, and sometimes people are mean to you for no good reason.
Having high self-esteem is a way of letting other people’s mean words or actions go right past us without making us feel worse about ourselves. You just have to know what you like about yourself!
Your self-esteem is important, which is why we’ve been talking about how to take care of it. Now, I think we should all go do something tonight that improves our self-esteem. I’m going to spend some time finishing a painting I’ve been working on.
I’m going to visit my friend Kecci, who has been sick, and take her some dinner.
And what will you do?
Do something that makes you happy, and have a good night!
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