Abraham Maslow considered self esteem as one of the higher needs in his hierarchy; but to me, it’s one of the most important.
While basic needs (such as physiological and safety) are at the bottom, love and belonging come before self esteem. Why? Self esteem is crucial to fulfillment.
If you don’t love yourself, accepting love from another person is next to impossible.
Even your basic bottom needs are often unmet when you have low self esteem- so why is it so far up the hierarchy?
This is especially true for those who have suffered from trauma or addiction. I almost titled this post “Rethinking Maslow’s Hierarchy,” but I realized my message is bigger than that. As I reflect on the past decade, the choices I have made, and the lessons I have learned, I realized I would take matters into my own hands. I would make a choice to make this next decade about maintaining self love, both for myself and helping others to improve their own self esteem.
Before you think that job or possession will make you happy, consider how low self esteem is standing in your way of achieving everything you want. Without it, it’s hard to succeed in the workplace, in love, and in life.
The other day I stumbled on a great piece by TheFix.com by Susan Peabody, sharing 12 ways to build self esteem and acceptance. For those who are in recovery, it’s very possible that our self esteem took a hit along the way. We viewed ourselves through the eyes of others and by our mistakes, our pain, and our addiction.
“When the melancholic dejectedly desires to be rid of life, of himself, is this not because he will not learn earnestly and rigorously to love himself? When a man surrenders himself to despair because the world or some person has left him faithlessly betrayed, what then is his fault except that he does not love himself the right way.” -Soren Kierkegaard, Works of Love.
Society has sent us negative messages about ourselves, from how we need to look to the milestones we need to achieve to reach ultimate happiness. My experience has shown that even the house, the job, and the bank account will never satisfy us if we are not satisfied with who we are as a human being.
I’ve had countless friends and have known endless people who are discontent due to outside forces. Whether they’ve lost a loved one or are simply unhappy with their life, being able to recover from the pain and find joy in everyday life is the first step to improving ones self esteem.
As 2019 ends, reflect on how you currently feel about yourself. Think about what you want to change- because it truly does start from within.
Now is the time to let go to make room to spread your wings and grow.