During the last few years, I have started to feel that the word “self-esteem” has gotten almost an unnaturally large position in Sweden… and maybe in several other countries as well?
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that it is extremely important to work with ones self-esteem. But it feels like the word “confidence” has been forced to move aside at the same time to give more room to self-esteem. That is has almost become politically incorrect to talk about confidence, since it is so much based on performance and what you achieve in your life. That we should never have to perform or achieve anything in our lives to have a value, it should be enough by just ‘being’ instead of ‘doing’.
I understand that feeling, and I really do want to have a value as a person only by ‘being’, but I believe that it is extremely important to perform and achieve things AS WELL. I don’t want us to value individuals, only by what they have achieved.
The concepts of self-esteem and confidence should stand together, work together, but it feels as if they are facing each other instead, and that is completely unnecessary. How did this happen? How did it become “wrong” to perform?
I believe that one of the major reasons is because we always evaluate and interpret our performances afterwards by comparing it to how other people have performed. Regardless of how good, or even amazing, our performance might be, we almost never feel happy or proud, since we always glance towards people who have achieved more. We strive to find objective proof that we have achieved good things, by comparing ourselves to other people. We compete.
This is not the problem, this is completely natural. We have been doing this for thousands of years. Even during the Ancient Olympic Games. We competed to find the strongest or the fastest, and rewarded the winner with statues and wrote about them in poems, later to be replaced with medals and sponsorship deals.
The problem is that nowadays, we compete in everything, not only in sports. We compare ourselves to, and compete with, everyone else in our surroundings to get a proof of our value and how good we are. We compare our weight, our clothes, our careers, our bank accounts, even the sizes of our lawns. We believe that ‘The more people we beat, the better we are’. The problem is that we will always get beaten this way. There will always be someone better, stronger or faster than me.
Since I love to win (and hate to lose) I started competing against myself instead. The day we realize that we all are unique with our own abilites, that is the day we realize that the only realistic competition we can take part in, is the one against ourselves. We start winning.
Since it is more enjoyable to win than to lose, choose the “right” competition