Two Sides of the Same Coin- Pride and Low Self-Esteem
if you need someone to fail for you to feel validated we have a big problem and it needs to be addressed— Tinotenda Manyumbu
Pride and low self-esteem
In this age of social media and filters, it is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking you're not good enough or you're the ultimate human being, basing your opinion on what you see on social media. It is a well-known fact that the bad stuff never makes it to the gram, people deliberately throw in a few negatives to give the illusion that it's reality. Bear in mind that people who post excessively are often hungry for that praise and approval that they get from peers after posting that fancy brunch or the eyebrows on fleek. They live off of your approval and what do you get in return, depression and confirmation of the thoughts that say you're not good enough. We have that side of social media where everybody glamorises their lives and stuff. Then we also have those who post about their problems to get attention, these ones will leave you feeling like the better person, like oh well at least I'm not like them. This time you're getting your satisfaction from someone else's problems. Comparison works both ways, if you need someone to fail for you to feel validated we have a big problem and it needs to be addressed. All I'm saying is, your self worth should not depend on how the next person is doing. This is not only on social media but also in real life. In this article, I shall try to the best of my ability to have you thinking differently about certain things.
Low self-esteem exposed
Self-esteem is defined as an individual's subjective evaluation of their own self-worth (wikipedia) so if you have a low self esteem you tend to think you're not good enough, not beautiful enough, not skilled enough and a bunch of negatives along those lines.
This can be hidden or out there. If it's hidden it secretly causes you to try to pull down other people so you can look like the better person. This is manifested in gossip or slander, a negative attitude towards other people's achievements, sensitivity to criticism(it doesn't take much to have you thinking you're a loser), social withdrawal, hostility, and excessive preoccupation with personal problems amongst other things.
Unsupportive parents or other people who play an influential role in your life, friends who are bad influences( I'll touch on the importance of choosing friends wisely in later articles), stressful life events(result in you feeling helpless and rendering yourself useless), trauma or abuse, unrealistic goals that you never end up achieving and therefore declare yourself a failure, anxiety, and depression. The list is endless but the stuff is intertwined so by addressing a couple you address most.
But why is low self-esteem bad?
I'm glad you asked. It makes it difficult to accept responsibility and constructive criticism. Your self worth is so low it literally takes the simplest misdemeanor to send your confidence flying out through the window. Whether you believe it or not, it can ruin important relationships and also hinder you from taking on new challenges and growing. You will be so stuck in your comfort zone(which is not even that comfortable) and there'll be no progress. Yeah, stagnant... It's crippling to say the least.
The remedy- what might possibly help
Let's just clear the air before we proceed, I do not encourage excessive self-love and pride but humility and insecurity are not the same thing. Right? Humility is thinking more about other people than yourself, not thinking bad about yourself. Insecurity, on the other hand, is thinking about yourself all the time. I just had to point that out. The reason why I put pride and low-self esteem in the same article is that they're both forms of pride. So taking the focus off you for a sec can be a remedy for both. (Mind blown)
- I guess the first part would be acknowledging that there's someone greater than yourself. God created you for a reason and the gospel has the power to transform your mind since it all boils down to how you perceive yourself. Rebuke negative thoughts when they first appear, find the root, and address it, if it's something someone said, it is not necessarily true, if it's correction then do the needful but choose wisely who you give the authority to control how you feel.
- Look outward, look beyond you, the people around you. The less you're preoccupied with thoughts about yourself the less you notice the length of your fingers or the width of your nose. I mean if the size was ideal then what? Is it really worth fussing about? The cure for low self-esteem is to deny ourselves. It is not all about us.
- Become aware of and acknowledge where you need to change and then put in the effort. You knowing that you're not perfect will help you to take criticism positively and know that your worth is not based on performance and results. If you take on challenges knowing that you're not perfect you expect to make mistakes along the way, and that awareness means that the mistakes will not alter the way you see yourself.
- Surround yourself with people who encourage and support you, not who feed your ego, there's a difference. Have honest friends who can correct you when you're wrong but also rebuke you when you think you're not worth anything.
- Give back, yes. When you help other people it's proof that you're not useless, right? Someone is benefitting from your existence. You might not have waist-length hair or a tiny waist but you're a world changer and now that's value-added.
- Take care of yourself. I don't need to say more.
The sibling or twin of low self-esteem, pride
Pride by definition is a deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements or the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one's importance. We call it ego too.
In both instances(pride and low self-esteem), we're thinking about ourselves. Took me 21 years to discover that.
Causes of pride
So I looked around for causes of pride and found the following
- Failure to recognize how small you are in the grand scheme of things and how you need others as much as they need you.
- A defense mechanism to protect your reputation
- Looking at our lives through a telescope and others through a microscope, the list goes on
Some of the causes of low-esteem if not all are also causes of pride.
What I have managed to learn during this journey is how evil stems from pride in some way. Envy, bitterness, strife, deceit, hypocrisy, slander, and greed. Pride is a syndrome with a plethora of symptoms and by uprooting it we cure so many diseases that have infected humanity. The ultimate cure for pride is grace. Whatever I shall write as a cure is only part of the trail that grace leaves where it has been.
The Subtle Symptoms of Pride
- Fault-finding - quite obvious. You've gotta dim other people's light for yours to shine brighter because it's all about you. You know that part when you're listening to a sermon and immediately think, Lucy needs to hear this? This also leads to avoiding people we think are better than us. Do you see the correlation between pride and low-self esteem yet? Both celebrate the downfall of others in some way.
- A harsh spirit that belittles the struggles of others. I'm just as guilty as you are of this. When someone makes a mistake we treat it like we don't make mistakes and they should pay. Yeah, that's pride too. Believe me, I'm learning a lot as I write this.
- Superficiality- Wooo! This means we're more concerned about how people perceive us so we only deal with the stuff that people see and just make peace with stuff no one sees. We cultivate that image of perfection so people can think highly of us.
- Defensiveness - we are perfect, right? So we defend our title. Anyone that points out an error in us has to be wrong because we don't make mistakes.
- Lack of honor for God(Psalm 2:11) - we don't have respect for anyone, even our creator.
- Desperation for attention- This manifests itself in many ways. It's just a hunger for recognition. Even failure to say 'no' can show that we want to be needed so bad we'll do anything. We want to be adored so we strive towards that and we feel pity for ourselves when we're not praised.
- Neglecting others- we tend to focus more on people who have something to offer us because it's all about us. This causes us to neglect the people who need us and labor for recognition.
How do we cure this syndrome?
We can already see why pride is not a good thing. Now how do we uproot it? Like I said before, the ultimate cure is grace. But what does that look like? Tino give us practical steps. Okay boo boo, I got you.
- Be aware of what pride is, then you can recognize it when you see it and go against its grain. This will definitely help you to identify the lies you're believing. Challenge your mind.
- Seek God and find your identity and worth in him. This will help you to understand yourself better and pursue things that align with your purpose(which is never pride). Meditate on the word and feed on the truth.
- Consider others more important, selflessness is key. Yeah, that is a vulgar word, right? Wrong
- Receive compliments well, knowing very well that nothing you have came from you. You're just like other kids.
- Flee false humility and humblebrags (#bighouseproblems). Thinking you're humble enough is also a sign of pride, yeah. My whole life is upside down right now.
Allow others to shine alongside you.
I hope you didn't just scroll to the end
In a nutshell, allow others to shine alongside you. Yaay! You win, I win, we both win. If it doesn't help anyone we don't say it. Gossip? It definitely falls under most of the symptoms of both pride and low-self esteem. When we say think outside of yourself, we don't mean that you should constantly talk about other people because that is usually a manifestation of either pride or low self-esteem. Envy, bitterness, and all that bad stuff. Once you're are aware of the above you'll choose your words more wisely knowing that they are a reflection of your character and not simply words because in abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. People will reflect what you project so for yourself and others, be graceful. Be humble. Be loving. And empathize with others. This was very lengthy and I did not cite some of my sources because I didn't want it to get too long. Remember, if you don't humble yourself you will be humbled.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Tinotenda Manyumbu