Other shots at our self-esteem come from women who always seem to have it together. There always seems to be one of those. There's that girl in high school who maintained a 4.0, was head cheerleader, held a full-time job, and was head of the Amnesty International club. And what about that lady at church who always seems to have a spotless home when you go to her once a week Bible study? She makes the most divine casseroles, always gives the best spiritual advice, and never ever sins. Then there's your mother. I was about 21 when I was at my mother's house helping in the kitchen. She looked at me and said, "Wow...you don't know how to cut up a chicken????" At that moment I didn't think about whose responsibility it was for teaching me this; I only thought of how worthless I truly was in the kitchen.
A third reason for low self-confidence comes from men. Sometimes a husband will say something unthinking about how dirty the bathroom is. Or your dad might look at your manner of dress condescendingly. Perhaps you've been in a classroom in middle school listening to how hot Joan Jett is. Maybe you see a group of men try really, really hard not to look at the blonde bombshell that just walked by.
We have low self-esteem for many, many reasons. Once you have something take a chunk out of your self-confidence, it's really easy for other things to chip away at it til one day you wake up and say, "What kind of person am I that I can't even cut up a chicken?" One day you wake up and say, "My husband can't possibly think I'm sexy. I have 28 stretch marks, 4 gray hairs, and I can't even cut up a chicken." One day you wake up and say, "I'm fat, ugly, and can't do anything right." It's not such a huge jump really.
I battle with my self-esteem every single day. I lived with a man for 12 years who would come home and punch his fist through cabinet doors if the sink had more than a dish or two in it. He once ripped everything out of the bathroom because h thought I didn't clean it that day due to a stain in the sink. He even ripped the medicine cabinet off the wall, smashed the toilet, and I had to clean up a lot of water that day. I was told things like, "What were you thinking?" "You can homeschool, but understand you're not getting any help from me." "Can't you manage a simple dinner? This tastes like ****. I'm not eating this." To make matters worse, I had to use the absolute cheapest soap they make for my showers. My grocery budget kept getting cut until I wasn't eating breakfast or lunch, and at dinner I only ate a little. (My budget was cut so he could buy some more Snap-On tools.) I wore the same clothes including bras, panties, and socks for 8 years. An 8-year-old bra not only ceases to hold you well, but it is yellow from sweat stains and will have holes in the strap at the back.
I also battle with my self-esteem every day due to (and click here to read more) being taught what men want in a woman through girls at school, movies, Mtv, and my male friends. Later I learned what men want from 90210, guys I worked with, and Cosmopolitan magazine. Even today, I struggle with what is being shoved down my throat at the grocery store magazine rack. I don't even go to the mall anymore because I can't stand the sight of walking past the HUGE pictures of 15-year-old girls in their underwear made to look like they are 20.
The first thing that helped me is I realized one day that I didn't have my freedom. Most people think freedom is something our Constitution gives us. No. God gave us our freedom and our free will. I realized my freedom was being taken away by my husband at the time, Hollywood, and our culture in general. I let my freedom be taken from me. Now, it is one of the things I guard the most.
We keep the junk out of our home now. It is our sanctuary and Daniel guards my freedom more fiercely than even I do. Once in a while we watch a movie and the reviews from Kids-in-Mind missed a bikini clad woman in the background or something. He just gets up, shuts it off, and asks, "Want to play a video game together?" or "Let's try this other movie."
It also helps for me to talk to Daniel about how I feel. "I feel this woman is beautiful and sexy. I fear you think she is, too." He might say something like, "Her? She looks like a 15-year-old boy! She doesn't even have hips!" Or he'll tell me what makes me beautiful and sexy and tell me why I'm the best Wabay in the world. (One day he was tired and was joking with me. He was going to call me "woman!" and "baby" and it came out Wabay. Now, that is his name for me." In the beginning he didn't truly understand how I felt. He had to look at what was being shoved down his throat on a daily basis...what our culture deemed to be the perfect man. It took a while of him stumbling across something in a movie or magazine cover. Then he started being sensitive to it, so he was seeing what I was seeing every time I left the house. It's kind of like the movie The Matrix. Once you take that pill, you really see what is going on, and you see that the rest of the world is defending that way of life.
Another thing that helped me was getting in the kitchen and really taking my time with what I was doing. I learned that I'm a pretty good cook and it's not that hard. Yeah, sometimes my Oatmeal bread comes out like a brick, but for the most part every scrap of food I put on the table looks and tastes amazing. It just took some practice and decent recipes. It also took understanding some basic food science. Doing something well does wonders for how you feel about yourself. Try crocheting. If you fail, keep at it and for days if you have to. Once you get it, you will be able to make beautiful blankets you'll be proud of. I used to think I was horrible at math. It wasn't until pretty recently that I discovered, I'm not good at most things I hate. That's a simple, yet profound statement. Reflect on that for just a second. Turns out I'm really good at stuff I like and not so good at stuff I hate. Try some new things. What really interests you? Mom's are the worst at knowing who they are because they have very little time to "waste" on their interests. It's not very long before they realize they don't know what their interests are.
Keeping a clean home is yet another thing that will help fight low self-esteem. Flylady is a wonderful site. You can do her routine very easily. I like that it starts you out very slowly. The first day all she wants you to do is clean your sink. That's it. Her full blow routine typically only takes a half hour a day or so. Her emails are also full of encouragement. She never makes you feel bad if you miss a day or a month or a year. You just get up and try again and are happy to do so.
I encourage you to guard your freedom and jealously so. You may not even realize you are a slave. Just think, "Hm. I feel like nothing I do turns out right. Why?" Rectify that and become as free as you can be. If you think you are ugly, why? At least recognize why it is you feel that way. This simple recognition won't make you feel better, but at least you'll know it isn't in your head for no reason at all. It's not your fault you think you are ugly. It breaks my heart that women are under such attack. There are some really gorgeous women out there and they are gorgeous because of their smile that seems to infect everyone around them. They are beautiful because their personality is elegant, peaceful, and not stressed out. As opposed to too much makeup, too much cleavage, and too much low self-esteem.
I have gotten a lot better with my issues. I don't have an eating disorder (other than an addiction to Mexican fast food, lol). I understand what is truly beautiful and rare. I now think Daniel not only loves me, but finds me to be the sexiest woman in the world. I think that as long as I have a true interest in something, I can tackle it.