Why I Love Me
We are hiring more Finnish people to the office and I’ve been responsible for doing the interviews. My favourite question is “describe yourself with three adjectives” because it totally throws Finns, every time. They go all quiet and their brain is working like crazy to come up with something and usually people say that if I had asked for negatives, it would have been easier for them. At first it made me laugh because it’s such a stereotype but so true as well. But after the third person struggled with this questions I grew more worried than cheery. It can’t be right that people don’t appreciate themselves enough for three little words.
It made me think about self-esteem and what it requires. Especially in today’s media-centric world girls and women are given the impression that they aren’t good enough until they are starving 24/7 or muscly enough to resemble a man, but also in that case they are almost required to have an eating disorder. But not just media, also culture and attitudes of the people around you affect how your self-esteem evolves. From personal experience I can tell you that Finland is one of the most challenging environments to grow up in trying to build a healthy self-esteem and particularly so because of the culture.
What is good self-esteem then? In my opinion it is self-appreciation that emits to the people around you as well. When you can spill three positive adjectives about yourself on the table and be confident that they really are true, that’s when your self-esteem is intact. When you screw up but dust yourself off and take it as a learning experience rather than a reason to dig a hole and disappear for the rest of your life, then you have a healthy self-esteem. When you succeed in something and are able to enjoy it whole-heartedly without feeling guilty because somebody else didn’t do as well, and when you are able to feel truly happy for someone when they succeed, even if you’re having a bad day, that’s when you have a good self-esteem.
I grew up in a culture where success was supposed to be kept a secret. Showing emotions in a public place, whether negative or positive, was frowned upon. Jealousy thrived like nature taking over an abandoned house. Our most famous phrase is “The one who has happiness shall hide it”. I think that explains it enough. How do you build a healthy self-esteem when everyone around you is miserable or mentally beaten down if they were not miserable? I guess for me I can only thank my family for that. They have never criticized me without a reason and they let me fail, try again and succeed. I think that’s the very simple recipe for good self-esteem.
As a little challenge to myself I decided to list 10 things why I love me:
- I'm not afraid of success
- I'm very empathetic and care a lot for the well-being of the people I love
- I'm beautiful
- I'm willing to take risks
- I'm not afraid of making a mistake
- I'm very social
- I'm honest
- I can take a lot of criticism and turn it to something to learn from
- I'm open-minded and don't judge anyone if I don't know them personally
- I'm never ashamed of myself