One quick and painful confession: I’m unemployed. I was not guideless since my sweet 16 when I was taking the first tentative steps onto the harsh world of business. For half a year, I’m searching, researching, and constantly trying to grab hold of any job opportunity. But it feels like lamenting and panhandling. Miserable.
Right now I have nothing to do and feel only guilt. As if only work can justify my existence. In fact, I have even to force myself to eat, as such basic things like food acceptance, walking, or taking bath is something that should be deserved (in my sick imagination).
This is unhealthy behavior, and I think that some people feel the same way. We all have something in common — a constant internal struggle because of conditional self-esteem.
“If you esteem yourself conditionally, you believe you must earn the right to be worthy. Your value and worth are conditional upon meeting certain criteria. You strive to achieve things to prove your worth to yourself and others by constantly doing and achieving (because you need to).”
Conditional self-esteem has many adverse effects, as you feel like your worth as a human being is dependent on your output (social status, income level, etc.). Unfortunately, many people believe that conditional self-esteem is a good thing. My boyfriend, my father, and some other people look at the world through a lens of black and white thinking. If you are not successful, you failed. That’s it. For them, conditional self-esteem is the motivation to push themselves to develop and reach for more.
I don’t want to say we need to refuse from our strivings. But we need to value ourselves for who we are. And this not only plenty of money or a good job. Not everyone is affected by conditional self-esteem. As opposed to this overwrought self-criticism, many people understand and embrace their value as human beings, and this is pretty natural.
To sum up, there is one easy way to find out are you prone to conditional self-esteem. Are you successful or happy? Who would you like to be in the future? What is happening in your life right now? These simple questions give pause for thought.