Self Esteem and Building Relationships.

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Self Esteem and building relationships…

How important looks are?

People that know me, call me confident. People that are getting to know me, find me confident. Work environment, carrying out business, resolving professional matters – I am good at this, I have confidence, I feel strong when it comes to making decisions, and I enjoy empowering others to build their inner confidence. Why is it then, that I when I think of myself as a woman, there is so little confidence in me, and when talking about self-esteem, I always have plenty negative to say about myself?

This is an interesting topic I think, for when it comes to relationships and how our self esteem impacts building relationships. I recently asked the question on social media as wanted to see what my friends think about this. How important exactly are the looks and how important is personality? What is more important? Do pictures that media present, have negative impact on us after all, or is this just another way to excuse ourselves and how we portray ourselves? Perfection - does it exist and do we aim for it?

I did not get the answers I wanted through my poll. In fact, I barely got any answers. Does this mean people don’t want to talk about it, are afraid of judgement, or maybe afraid of speaking out loud on what it is that matters to them truly. Since I did not get the response I was hoping on, yet again I will have to base this note purely on my personal experiences and observations.

Through months of learning to accept myself, I can say that I like myself as a person. I enjoy being in my own company, it makes me super excited when I get to do things I enjoy – such as writing blog for example. I mastered getting myself in a positive mood, even when bad thoughts at times come to my head. I learn not to be envious of others, especially not of life portrayed on Instagram or Facebook. I understand this is the small % of who the other person really is, and that they might think the same when looking at my profile.

Back to the topic of self-esteem though. As much as I enjoy myself as a person, and I would even risk a statement I am FUN to be around, I can make people smile, I am friendly, easy going, caring and helpful…. yet I did not see myself as attractive. I purposely used a past tense. I DID NOT. Now I do. But in the past, I would look in a mirror in the morning or evening and just hated what I have seen. From the neck down all I could see were imperfections.

There it is, that big word. Imperfection. But what would perfection be? Who am I to say what perfect is? Going back to what surrounds me visually online, on TV, on the streets, at work and being around my friends. I was getting into the vicious circle of always comparing myself to others. And that is not to make myself feel any better, it just made me feel worse. Each woman had a better body – be it legs, arms, bum, breast and my biggest issue – they had flat stomachs. This is something, I feel has stopped me at times enjoying the moment – summer BBQ party, going to the beach or any other scenario that would require showing a little extra body.

I just hated my stomach, flabby, extra fat around the waist – no matter what I did, changed diets, eat healthy, exercise it just would not disappear. The worse out of it all, was that constant thought in the back of my mind ,about the way my body looked and I feel it has affected my relationships or even caused lack of them.

You might think I am insane to say this, but in my head, I thought that no man would find me attractive if they saw my stomach. I wouldn’t dare to speak to men at the beach, I didn’t even want my friends to see in bikini, me let alone potential object of my admiration. Why was this feeling so strong? Because I took it out of proportion and certainly context!

I pride myself in having strong values, stand up for the people and animals in need, I have passions and hobbies, work hard – but in all of those areas I was aiming for perfection, not to let others DOWN. In that journey I forgot about myself. And I don’t mean suddenly I would need to become a self-obsessed narcissist and arrogant fool, but the balance was not right. Just as in my other note on Online Dating, this is a relatable topic when it all seems to be coming down to ones looks.

Behind the screens of our social media apps it is easy to pick the right angle, good light, all sorts of beautifying filters. But is this really who we are? There is nothing wrong with wanting to look good, but each and every one of us can look great – with the right styling, hair cut and most importantly big smile on their face.

Whenever I meet a new guy, of course I spot how he looks, how he’s dressed, look at his body. I would be a liar if I said otherwise. BUT I can truthfully admit, that within few minutes if not seconds, I could change my mind about this person by 360 degrees. When he “opens his mouth” – what has he got to say? Have we got common interests, what values is he representing, is he interested in me, is he showing respect? After all, these are the things that are important to me.

Why was I always assuming that the man who would be interested in me, is purely interested in my looks? If I am not, I am sure the guy I end up with, won’t be either! Otherwise I would not pick him!

This is when I came to realisation, that it is ok to have some imperfection. After all I am so great in other areas ( 😉).

Self esteem is very important. We should be able to accept for who we are, treat our bodies as temples, aim for growth but we shouldn’t get obsessed with the looks. After all they pass, we age, we change. What was regarded as sexy and beautiful in the 60’s is different to what is regarded as that now. We all have different tastes, interests and opinions. We should learn to appreciate people for who they are and not how they look. I was doing it with others, just not myself.

It took me 34 years to learn this lesson. I still at times get a doubt in my head to way I look, but I just don’t let it over power me. I know if I wanted to dress to impress, I could hide my extra pounds, but I now enjoy going to swimming pool and walk with head high and smile on my face. And if someone thinks badly of me because of my belly or stretchmarks on my bum, that is their problem.

They are probably still on the journey to self-acceptance, and I wish them success in that journey.

Remember to say a nice things to yourself – every day!

 

Malwina BartosiakComment