I had an interesting conversation with a friend recently. This is one of those friends who is an amazing person but has extremely ow self esteem about everything. He’s the type who loves to make self deprecating comments and jokes and thinks that he doesn’t deserve anything good.
We were discussing my 3 year old son and how big he’s getting. I told him that everyone from other moms to his pediatrician comments on how strong he is. How he is very muscular even at his age. I said that he gets that from my side of the family, as his father’s side is slim, and tone, but not really bulky muscular.
His response was, “wow, that’s not cocky at all”. I was so confused by the statement. My comment wasn’t cocky, it was a biological fact. My side of the family is very broad and muscular and my ex’s is not. My brother is 6’6″ and did wrestling and football all through high school and college… that’s just the way it is. My ex is 5’9″ and wears a small-medium sized shirt. He’s not scrawny, just not bulky, and I’m not cut and defined, I just have a high muscle build. In fact, the high muscle concentration has been a problem for me as a girl and now as a woman. My scale and BMI are very misleading, as even when I was thin, my numbers said otherwise. It took me years to understand the difference.
I started out a little offended by what my friend had said to me, but then I realized that it wasn’t about me at all. It wasn’t about my son. The comment was about my friend’s own person self esteem issues. He had been trained, either my himself or parents, or others, that complimenting any aspect of yourself is a fault. That you mustn’t “pretend” that you’re better than others, or point out or even accept your good qualities.
This friend has been looking for a new job, and myself and others have been telling him to go for this one or that one.. and he won’t. He doesn’t feel he is good enough, even though he is plenty qualified. He spends his time hoping for a brighter future, while constantly talking badly to himself about himself. I feel bad that he treats himself that way. He is a great guy and deserves better. The irony is that if he ever heard anyone speak to me the way he speaks to himself, he would probably knock them out.
People have to understand that self talk is the most important talk. We need to feed ourselves GOOD messages about our strengths, our bodies, our souls. We create our own lives. If we hear of a parent verbally abusing their child there is outrage and we understand the parent is creating havoc with that child’s self esteem. How come no one ever thinks the voices in our own heads do the same?… only we can’t walk away from that.