Author -- Giordana Toccaceli
If you are anything like I was, I spent the better part of my life trying to figure out what self esteem was. Everybody seemed to say we had to have it, yet it was always elusive.
It would come in messages like:
"Just be yourself"
"You sound insecure."
"You are better than that."
For a while I thought it was a type of "fake it til' you make it" outward confidence, but that soon proved empty. Then I thought it was about being better than everyone else at what I did....which turned into an endless pursuit of self worth through achievements.
And I can tell you, after coaching countless numbers of people into reconnecting powerfully with themselves - everyone goes through this.
Well, today I want to give you a new perspective on self esteem by talking about how our relationship with food tells us a lot about ourselves.
Self esteem at its very essence is simply the recognition that every part of us, including our body, has value.
When something has value, we usually show it by the care we give it.
When a husband values his wife, it shows.
When a woman values herself, it shows.
How much value do you place on your body?
Food is an incredible thing.
It is our source of fuel which enables the body to function properly and heal itself from imbalance (disease).
Food is a way to connect with others (social connection).
Food can also be a way we try to meet unmet needs for comfort, certainty, and the replacing of feelings.
What do I mean by replacing feelings?
Often times when we are feeling things like anxiety, loneliness, heartbreak or desperation we turn to things that can override these feelings with new feelings.
We can turn anything in our lives into "feeling replacers"- food, work (workaholism), our partners, sex, entertainment, drugs, alcohol, etc.
Food has the capacity to flood us with several feel-good feelings like experiencing delicious tastes, feelings of fullness when we feel empty and feelings of entertainment, warmth and comfort when we feel lonely.
While I believe that this ability to generate feelings from the experience of food is a good thing, it is so in balance.
"Feeling replacers" leave other vital feelings un-dealt with. When we have several layers of feelings that we have buried, repressed or numbed over with other "feeling replacers" they begin stacking up until they weigh us down and wreak havoc on our health, relationships and lives.
What does replacing feelings have to do with self esteem?
We esteem that which we are willing to engage with deeply, intimately and responsibly. We neglect that which we don't value and are unwilling to become responsible for.
The habit of bypassing our deeper feelings with "feeling replacers" cuts us off from ourselves leaving us fragmented- in other words not whole.
Neglecting our health and body is also cutting ourselves off from a vital aspect of our life. Our health is a part of who we are that we need to esteem and care for in order to be whole.
Are you feeling what I am saying here?
Self esteem is our willingness to care about our wellbeing enough to become responsible for it.
-For our emotional wellbeing.
-For our physical wellbeing.
Why is self esteem the basis for finding and sustaining love in our lives?
Well let me answer that by asking a few questions:
How differently does our life look when we genuinely feel self esteem and confidence about ourselves?
How do we feel about the direction our life is taking when we inhabit a healthy and energized body?
How freely do we create intimacy and connection when we feel satisfied about who we are?
So in essence, who are we to others around us when we esteem and take care of ourselves?
Self esteem or Co-dependence?
Here is the thing, you can only have one or the other. Either we are moving in the direction of a growing self esteem or we are remaining co-dependent. Co-dependent means we seek esteem outside of our own selves and we do so by taking from others.
We move out from co-dependence in the measure that we become responsible for our wellbeing.
Our life is a progressive journey of building self esteem which ultimately means becoming emotional adults.
Emotional adulthood vs. emotional co-dependence simply means learning to step into real fulfillment, personal power, freedom and expression.
...and that is very, very attractive.
Remember: Your self esteem is a gift to those that surround making you very desirable and attractive to others.
Real self esteem is reflected when we place value on our body and soul, when we decide that we are worthy of care and responsible for the relationships, life and wellbeing we desire.