Do You Have a Good Self-Esteem? Why?

Those two questions kind of threw me off yesterday. They were two in the midst of a gazillion that the foster care caseworker asked us to become certified foster parents. Turns out, when you agree to foster kids in America, you are required to have LOTS of training, fill out LOTS of paperwork, and answer LOTS of questions about yourself in interviews.

Basically, our foster kids will be more safe and better off than our own kids.

Seriously, have you ever wondered why we just hand a clueless new parent their newborn baby and say good luck? It’s kinda messed up.

We were asked questions about our childhood, our parents, our siblings, our lifestyle. Lots of personal questions. But when she got to these two questions, I find myself STILL stumbling. More with the follow-up question than the initial one.

1.Do you have a good self-esteem?

Well, I felt pretty confident about that one because I used to have a terrible self-esteem. So yes, I have a good one now.

2. Why?

I don’t know! (I had to think about it.)

I have a good self esteem because I had to quit talking trash about myself when I began teaching high school 21 years ago. There was no room for me to say, “I’m so ugly. I’m so fat.” when I had to be a good role model for vulnerable and fragile teens around me. So I quit saying those words, and I guess I quit believing them. The official term for this is “Positive Self-Talk.” Sounds kinda lame, I know. But — you know what? It works. Or it worked for me.

“What else helped you?” the caseworker asked.

Umm … finding a job that I loved and excelled in helped…. I think? Looking outward in my work and helping others so I didn’t spend all my time thinking about me. Becoming a teacher changed me. Finding my place. Finding my bliss. Finding meaningful work that challenged me. I don’t take that for granted now either. It’s hard to find meaningful work that challenges us in a good way.

And why? What do you like about yourself?

Long silence.

“I don’t know,” I mumbled. “I like to help others…???”

Here’s another example: List at least five things you love. Go ahead. Make your mental list.

Here’s mine: God, my family, teaching, writing, reading, watching movies, shopping, eating, sleeping …

Did you list yourself?

No, I didn’t think so. Me neither.

But it turns out we can’t truly help those around us until we do.

What do YOU think?

How do we improve a person’s self-esteem?

Because clearly, we could ALL use some help in this department.










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