Feeling like you don’t fit in, and that friends are gossiping behind your back is something reserved for grade school – middle school, at best. Or is it? Here’s why self esteem matters – at any age.
Today’s adults have to deal with an onslaught of social media, just as younger generations do.
And with busy schedules, money-making priorities and pressure to conform with the neighbors and the latest hot trends, being genuine can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
In fact, it often does. And it’s not anyone’s fault, really. But it’s a nasty feeling.
When it comes to the social scene, you may find yourself asking, were they really my friend, or was it just because I fit in their schedule? Or, maybe, did they need to network for their webpage and latest business venture, and that’s why I was invited? If you do, you might be having a crisis of self esteem.
This might sound petty, but as we age, friendships can deepen and become golden, or become nastier. It’s true.
And while the culture of ‘you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours’ definitely has its advantages, there are some good limits to draw, for both the scratcher and the scratchee to maintain good mental health.
The Huffington Post provides a well-thought out list of 11 signs of true friendship, that can be good to review, if you feel a little out of whack.
If a person pushes you to be more accepting of yourself, calls you out when you’re wrong and really, truly listens when you gripe, they’re probably the real deal. They’re a friend for the right reasons.
Related: Mental Health Care in the Classrooom
However, if they disappear when times get tough, hold a grudge for what seems like an eternity and never prioritize your friendship (ie, they never set aside time to call, or meet), it could be best to keep your head up and keep on the lookout for better interactions.
Good self-esteem comes from surrounding yourself with individuals who actually care about your points of view and what’s going on in your life. It also comes from valuing your own talents and respecting the way you live your life…your way.
Of course, constant self-validation isn’t a good route to take towards solid mental health, as Dr. Michael Miller states in Harvard Health Publications. You’re likely to become a self-centered bigot, which isn’t much use.
People with good self-esteem do tend to be happier and more likely to persevere through tough times though experts say, and so building yourself up is important.
How to do it?
Dr. Miller says, “It’s more likely that self-esteem will come as a result of accurate self-understanding, appreciation of one’s genuine skills, and the satisfaction of helping others.”
And so, start with some self-reflection. Why are you hanging around with people who make you question yourself? Is it easy to change your patterns? Are you using your talents in ways that make you feel valued?
Stay happy. You’re worth it.