Who does not want success in life? Whether it is in our job or private life. The media is good at displaying rich, famous and successful people. The first thing which is associated with those people, is high Self-esteem, better known as self-confidence. It is assumed that confident people are more likely to get what they want in life and it is due to their high Self-esteem that success will naturally follow.
There is certainly a connection between Self-confidence and success, however, to understand where Self-esteem comes from, a deeper look has to be taken. What does Self-esteem really mean?
According to Nathaniel Branden, who was a psychotherapist and famous author, Self esteem is “the sum of Self-confidence (a feeling of personal capacity) and self-respect (a feeling of personal worth).” Now we can definitely agree with this definition. But how can we achieve such a state of personality? Is it possible that discovering Self-esteem within ourselves is not as difficult as we think it might be?
When looking at the darkest moments in life, when we feel calamity are too strong to be dealt with, there comes a point, where all pain seems to stand still. If we have a closer look, a very important lesson can be learnt throughout those hard times. When the pain is unbearable, too strong to be expressed with tears or words, at the climax of that pain, there is a calmness that pushes aside the pain. And suddenly there is a trace of joy, hope and strenght that flushes through the body. It only lasts for a couple of seconds, but its power will last in the mind and give the necessary strenght to carry on.
Each and everyone of us has had such an experience, where we thought we cannot carry on, but somehow managed to do so. Managed to fight our way back onto the playfield. Well, that is our Self-esteem. Unwilling to let us give up. The very meaning of ‘I deserve better’. The shield that helps us distinguish when to stop and when to keep on fighting.
It might not be visible when we go to an interview or during a speech we have to hold. We might feel as if we have no self confidence whatsoever, however, there is a strength that Allah (swt) has put inside us, a challenge to never give up, because we are worth living a life that helps us to become the best human being we can be.
Self-esteem has nothing to do with who can get the best job, who can speak the loudest or who thinks to be most independent.
Self-esteem comes in the quiet hours, when we face the hardest challenges, when nobody is watching us and we make the most difficult and, yet, the most important choices.
Often Self-esteem comes from those, who are most quiet and underestimated. Often a show-off attitude is a mask to cover weak Self-esteem. Here, it is very important to distinguish between Self-confidence and arrogance. Arrogance is a very destructive characteristic, which is to be avoided in Islam. Self-esteem, however, is laid within us from our Creator, we just need to see and use it. Arrogance, on the other hand, is a delusion, empowered by false promises of the ego.
I will conclude with a very powerful reminder of sister Yasmin Mogahed, describing the very essence of Self esteem. “My worth as a human being is measured on a higher scale: a scale of righteousness and piety … my value as a human is defined by my relationship with God.” As long as we keep that with us and believe that with trust in Allah (swt), our Self-esteem will be protected by the best Protector.