Don’t wait around for someone else to tell you how to feel about yourself.

Self esteem that comes quietly can be scary. If you are not fitting in with the cynical group laughing at “life”, and too tired to follow the young black successful woman or man telling you that “you have to be like this/that to feel worthy or good”….it can seem impossible to find your own voice.

Webster State University defines self-esteem as “your overall opinion of yourself, your beliefs about your abilities and limitations. It is shaped by your thoughts, relationships, and experiences, including those related to culture, religion, and societal status. Many beliefs you hold about yourself today reflect messages you’ve received from others over time. Students in their college years often re-examine their values and develop new or altered perceptions of themselves.”

This self-opinion is handed to us whether good or bad. A healthy one is not easy to get and maintain. So how do you know that you are getting there or already there? These signs can be intimidating if you have never felt them before.

1. Vague outrage

You feel insulted for the first time in forever or in a long time. You hold people accountable for their gestures, words, body language, which you wouldn’t have dared to do. Call it a sense of justice for yourself and defending your boundaries.

2. You feel a vague sense of yearning

You start to have a vague craving or longing for people, places, things, experiences. You embrace your desires, possibilities open up and you stop feeling like you prohibited from having joy.

3. You start being picky

You feel for the first time that some things are better than others. You prefer doing A to doing B, person A to person B, eating or experiencing one thing instead of putting up and tolerating things you think are fated.

4. Regret

You wonder why you wasted time or energy on things and people that made you miserable. The moments when you stopped yourself, stepped aside, gave up or harmed yourself. It can be agonising.

5. Emptiness

Where you once felt bad, pain, jaw-clenching tolerance, becomes empty. Then comes the process of replacing them with healthy alternatives.

6. Using the word “no”

Low self esteem makes it impossible to say ‘no’. Only in extremes can be uttered, but in everyday situations, with people and obligations that we despise or feel are wrong or we despise, it can be a foreign language at that point. Once it shows up in your everyday life for your own good, it’s a health sign.

7. Decision-making

You find it easy to order, select and choose what you want because improved confidence fuels decision-making. There’s no hesitation or consideration of anything other than what you want.

Takeaway

These signs can overlap when they happen. There is no order to when you feel one or the other. But they usually have an avalanche effect. Once one happens, the rest slowly follow.

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