Which part of “self” in self-esteem don’t you understand?

In my experience with speaking to people about my self-esteem issues, two phrases often appear in conversation: “You don’t believe me?” and “Are you saying my opinion isn’t enough?” Almost always. At those points of the conversation I often have no choice but to get angry, because being upset doesn’t seem to carry my point across at all.

Which part of “self” in self-esteem don’t you understand?

My problem does not stem from a shortage of compliments, but the fact that I myself do not think I am beautiful, worthy, successful, or a good person, even. The problem is not that people don’t think I’m amazing, but that I don’t believe I’m amazing. Do you see the difference?

I am not trying to disconnect the relationship between receiving compliments and the increase in my self-esteem, because there is a definite positive correlation. However, if I firmly believe something about myself, it takes a lot more than just a compliment to change my mind. Why do you think so many people remain self-conscious and anxious about what other people think of them even though their friends have said nothing but positive things about them? It’s because they don’t believe it to be true for themselves. That’s why it’s called self-esteem. The world can go ahead and think I’m beautiful, but none of that matters until I believe it myself.

So stop being impatient with us and throwing us your accusations. I thank you for your consideration and your positive thoughts about me, but that alone does not solve the problem. Your words might make me feel good for that moment, or even a whole day, but feeling good for the rest of my life is up to no one else but me.

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