6 Things That Often Affect Your Self-Esteem, But Shouldn't

Just like anyone, I've battled with self-esteem. For many, the measure of your self-esteem is fluid; it ebbs and flows and is affected by various circumstances of your life. But sometimes, the key to having a good relationship with yourself is learning how to brush off the things that might challenge your self-esteem, because you are the gatekeeper and you get to decide what sticks and stones you allow to reach you.

In a climate where hate and negativity have taller platforms than ever, it's extra important to spend time working on your confidence and giving yourself the strength to fight off insecurities. Life is too short to spend it feeling ashamed or "less than" anyone for the way that you are. Blocking things from affecting your self-esteem is much easier said than done. But if you take a look at the things that people tend to let harm them, you'll start to realize that they aren't worthy of holding so much weight, and yet they do.

At the end of the day, we're all the same. No matter what background we have in our rearview mirror, no matter who we come home to at end of the day, what's in our pockets and what's in our hearts, we're all just people. These are six things that have a tendency to affect one's self-esteem, and why you shouldn't let them:

Social Media

Your self-worth is not measured by how many likes you get on a picture or how many followers you have. You know this, and yet when you post a picture and don't get enough likes or wake up to a follower loss, you can't help but feel your self-esteem drop. It's easy to fall into a hole of self-loathing behavior when you obsess over your social media status. We all do it, but if you start to notice that the effects of our online life are affecting your offline life, it's time to log off and get back in touch with yourself. It's what's on the ~outside of the computer~ that counts, here. And think twice before you post something personal. If you're sharing a picture for validation or affirmation, consider refraining. You don't need hearts or likes to feel good about yourself. You just need a positive attitude and a little self love.

Salary And Savings

It can be hard to look at numbers and not see a score. It can even be harder to look at your peer's numbers and not compare. But your salary does not account for how much you're worth. You're more than that. Plenty of people take salaries that don't reflect their personal worth — it's a lot more rare to find someone who feels like they're paid accordingly for their professional value. Salaries rise and drop, savings increase and decrease. You are not defined by your finances. And while they might keep you from living the life you want for yourself, it doesn't mean that you won't one day get there. It's fine to have goals and to work towards certain numbers, as long as you know that your value as a person is not measured by the size of your bank account — no matter how big or small it is.

Skin Health

When you suffer from break outs, its easy to convince yourself that the whole world is staring at your spots. Aside from the physical evidence, they can be painful and make you feel dirty and unglamorous. But the truth of the matter its hat no one puts as much weight on the perception of your skin as you do. Everyone suffers from skin issues at some point, but those are not the things that people are remember by. People will think of you as the kind of person you are, not by the texture of your skin. So if you let your acne get in the way of your confidence, you let it get in the way of your life. If you avoid eye contact, shy away from intimate situations, or cancel plans when your skin is flaring up, you're allowing a superficial aspect of your life to negatively affect your character. The more you embrace your skin, the less of a hold it has on you. Take care of it as best as you can, but don't let it rule your life. You're more than your skin.

Educational Background

For many of us, our educational background was a circumstance of where we lived, what we had access to, and what our families could afford. So the place we went to school doesn't indicate our intelligence. Some of the smartest entrepreneurs in the world flunked math, went to community colleges, or didn't go to college at all. The schools that you attended, or didn't, don't define scholastic abilities. They don't measure your intelligence. Maybe you had a learning disability that wasn't properly catered to in your high school, maybe your family couldn't afford college, or maybe you didn't choose the right school for you and struggled greatly. That doesn't make you any less than someone who had the opportunity to go to a prestigious school. You don't have to go to an Ivy league to be academically capable. Stay curious and continue to hold a thirst for education throughout your life — in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter what school you went to.

Relationship With Family

No two families are built the same. Some families are close, others are divided. And while family life might affect our personal lives outside of the house, they don't have to affect our self-esteem. Some parents are very hands-on and have the means and the will to support their kids deep into adulthood. Other parents cut their kids off the second they leave for school — and a million shades of grey in-between. Just because your family dynamic is not the same as your friends, doesn't mean yours is any less. You can't control the family that you're born into, or the way that relationships change over time, or whether or not you came from a toxic family. You can only do what's best for you, and not let other people's perceptions of those relationships affect how you feel about yourself.

Marital Status

Whether you're single, looking, divorced, widowed, heartbroken, or in love, you should never be made to feel like relationship status is something to feel embarrassed about. It's easy to let your status challenge your self esteem when you feel like you're constantly having to answer to people, you're constantly awaiting judgment. If you're single, you won't be forever and it isn't because you're not lovable. It's because you haven't found the right person yet. And if you were in a relationship and it didn't work out, that doesn't make you a quitter or a failure — it means that you know life is too short to live it without a happy heart.

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