I greatly enjoyed your first article. I've battled with low-self esteem and social phobia since before I can remember. I've taken many of your tips to heart and I'm finally having days where I feel pretty good about myself. My question is, can too much self-esteem lead to self-centeredness or selfishness? I want to fall in love with myself, but I don't want to become a diva in the process. What do you think?
Excellent question, and by the end of this article, I hope you'll join me and other CurlyNikki.com followers on the fabulous road to divadom!
First of all, let's revisit the idea of self-esteem. To put it simply, possessing self-esteem means that you have self-worth -- you take care of yourself, and love yourself unconditionally. In my opinion, you can never possess too much of it -- self-esteem is a work in progress, it is a process, not a goal. Like growing and maintaining a fierce head of hair, building self-esteem involves consistent effort. Nothing worth having comes easy, and so it is with self-esteem.
Why Self-Esteem Doesn't Result in Self-Centeredness:
Self-centeredness comes into play when there is not enough self-esteem -- not the other way around. There will always be days when you're not feeling yourself, and days where you don't feel as secure, as loved, or as competent... such is life. These are the times when you find yourself wanting your family and friends to put you at the center of their lives -- letting them attempt to make you happy, praise you and fulfill your needs.
This situation is not uncommon at all. Can you relate? On occasion, I too fall victim to self-centeredness, finding myself demanding the hubs to "tell me you love me." It gets old quick -- for the other party and for you.
The best remedy for kicking the feeling that you need someone to make you happy, is giving yourself more of what you want that person to give. If it's attention you're seeking, attend to yourself! If you need praise and compliments, look yourself in the mirror, and tell yourself exactly what you want to hear!
No one can take care of you like you can.
Once you're able to fulfill your own needs, the better you will feel about yourself, and the more you will want to help and be loving toward others. That's the opposite of self-centeredness, right?! It's funny how getting to know and love yourself will make you a better friend, daughter and sister.
Why Self-Esteem Does Lead to Selfishness:
That's right, loads of self-esteem and self-love will ultimately result in selfishness. Unfortunately, the term selfishness is incredibly loaded and stigmatized. I'm defining (can I do that?) selfishness as taking care of self... numero uno, your star player! The traditional definition is 'being chiefly concerned with oneself at the exclusion of others'. It's often confused with self-centeredness and egocentrism -- feeling like the world and all the people in it, revolve around you. In my opinion, being selfish, in that you care for yourself first, is incredibly important. Essential even.
Why a Diva is a Female Version of a Hustla:
Sorry, I couldn't help myself. B's Diva is my friggin' anthem! Like selfishness, the term diva (which traditionally means a distinguished female operatic singer), gets a bum rap. People often define a diva as a woman who feels entitled, talks down to others, and acts superior and often rude.
What's funny is that the woman described above has low self-esteem and could also wear the self-centered title. Putting others down as a way to feel better about oneself is whack and unattractive. And while she may appear confident and strong, usually the opposite holds true.
I *heart* the term diva, so let's redefine it as a fierce, self-loving, confident, independent, and capable woman. Divas possess genuine self-esteem and gain pleasure from helping others and seeing other people happy. Yes, she may be selfish, maybe even a tad vain, but her love for herself radiates out and helps to uplift others.
We should all strive to be divas... and in your case, as in mine, a CURLY HAIRED one!