How To Find Your Own Self-esteem Again

Don’t let anyone tell you your self-esteem is something you have to win over. You have to discover yours first. You can be your own hero, or your own villain. Whatever you are, you will be. To be self-accepting is to be whole. To be whole is to accept yourself, and that is impossible if you believe anyone but yourself can ever love you.

I used to be so afraid of being a woman. I had no idea who I was or what to say or do to be worth someone’s love and respect. It was in the early ’90s when I learned that I didn’t have to have all the things other women didn’t have because I had already figured them out.

I took everything they gave me, everything I was, and everything I had worked for and gave it to myself. I realized how much better I looked as a woman with less work (because I already knew what work looked like when you applied yourself).

And for me, it was love at first sight. 

When you don’t have to compete for your lover’s love or for the love of your family members or for the love of your friends, you have time to relax and be in touch with your true self. You have time to let go. Love takes work.

It was about a quarter of a century ago when I found myself having deep, lasting, genuine relationship conflicts (both romantic and emotional), and I realized I didn’t know what I wanted. I couldn’t figure out who I was. They were all the same as everything before. That changed instantly. 

In that moment, I gave myself permission to be who I was. My body didn’t change (though my heart and mind did); I was still just me. I had just as much right to be here in my life as the next women. That meant I could now tell myself I didn’t need love; I was enough.

I was enough! I wasn’t about to compromise myself to get people to respect me for the way I was. My body didn’t matter. My feelings, my opinions, my experiences, nothing mattered. I could not only love myself, I loved who I really was. Love and self happiness would never be compromised. They were the same thing.

This is the secret I’ve had the privilege of sharing with hundreds of thousands of people: Love is like a drug. We only get a taste of the best of it once.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you love is impossible. Don’t let anyone tell you that love is going to get in the way of who you really are. Don’t let anyone tell you if you are beautiful enough, or healthy enough, or good enough, or smart enough, or rich enough, or pretty enough, or pretty enough, or any other of your characteristics, that is the only reason you are loved or wanted, or any of the other reasons that people try to find you. That’s not love—that’s insecurity, and insecurity is the most difficult addiction to break.

People can look for you all they want, but when you find someone who is willing and able to take you on a true, deep, loving trip into yourself, they will know what it is like to be totally secure—even more so than the things they think about themselves already. You will see yourself for who you really are, and they will know that they will never be able to make you sorry you are who you are, but your happiness is not dependent on it.

You can be the best version of yourself you’ve ever been inside or you can be the worst version of yourself you’ve ever been inside, but you can be both at the same time. You can be the one who says I can only get this life by giving it everything I have to give, but you have the power to say when you are too exhausted to give anything of yourself.