Contributed by Katie Mead. I work with a lot of young adults. And a common theme is emerging: self-esteem. Considered developmental nirvana, we all know we need it. But what exactly is it?
Self-esteem is a positive sense of self that is relative – we have it or we don’t, compared to others. It is a measurement of what we have achieved: what level of ‘success’ we have attained. It is our impact on others and it fluctuates. It is external and so, outside of our control. And: it is directly impacted by that critical voice we all carry within ourselves – there to keep us safe and motivated, sure, but far too often a harsh task-master.
So, self-esteem is a good thing: we all must navigate the world in which we live and being judged on our accomplishments is part of that. But: what if we could swap that critical voice for one that tells us it loves us no matter what? That acknowledges how hard things might be, and hangs in regardless? That motivates from a place of unconditional love and support, not criticism and harsh ‘truth’?
Enter self-compassion. Unlike self-esteem, self-compassion comes from within. It is the positive voice that supports and loves us, regardless of our accomplishments (or lack thereof). It is the voice that collaborates, that listens, that holds space for our failures and disappointments, all the while maintaining the belief that we are ok. That we are valuable because we are human beings worthy of love and respect. Self-compassion comes from a place that is constant and is not dependent on the other.
My clients with good self-esteem learn to fly. Those with self-compassion soar.
Katie Mead | Gestalt Psychotherapist | firstname.lastname@example.org | 647-668-2567