SELF ESTEEM: Theirs – Not Yours!

Self Esteem is one of the many purported benefits of martial arts training. So often is the term bantered around, that I think it has become standard phrasing for almost every martial arts pamphlet on the planet. IMPROVE YOUR SELF ESTEEM!
Well, I certainly cannot deny that improved self esteem is probably one of the most important benefits of martial arts practice – but I think that we mostly focus on our own self esteem, when thinking about the subject, and not perhaps so much on how other people’s self esteem (or lack thereof) can play a part in how they relate to us in everyday life.
A friend of mine recently pointed out an interesting thing – and it is this: No-one’s self esteem is on a continually upward trend – or for that matter, on a continually even keel. The truth of it is that our self-esteem, like everything else in life, rises and falls, dips and peeks, depending on how our lives are playing out at the time. Our health can improve or deteriorate, our relationships can improve or deteriorate, our finances can improve or deteriorate, our life-enjoyment can improve or deteriorate – everything is in a state of flux. Our self-esteem can be effected by all of these external and internal factors – and in turn, can effect how we interact with others.
You may have a very good friend for example, who normally when his or her self esteem was in good shape would take the time to compliment you on your new car, new house or new project you may be embarking on. That self-same friend though, if their self esteem is temporarily in a ‘trough’, may not only fail to compliment you on your success, but may even feel envy or jealousy and view your success as some kind of reflection of their failure. The reason behind this is simple – when someone’s self esteem is taking a pounding, they look for validation from external sources – namely, their friends and family. When their friends and family ‘fail’ – or should I say, neglect, to give them that validation, they can perceive this as a ‘mild attack – when objectively, it may be nothing of the kind.
So the moral of this blog I guess, is that when other people, students or friends seem to over-react to some imagined indiscretion that you may or may not have committed – it may well be because their Self Esteem has taken a few blows of late. So give them a little of what they need – VALIDATION – and you may well find, things will take a turn for the better.



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