Come on, say it with me. “Met mei es et nuscht”. Know what it means? I know spell check doesn’t like it. Direct translation: “with me it is nothing”. I find that many times the Low German language has sayings that, no matter how hard you try, cannot be translated into English while maintaining the original message. The above phrase simply is an acknowledgement of personal low value, a lack of self-esteem. Now, I suspect, the original author of this saying probably was not talking about self-esteem but rather was inferring that we should be without pride. Seems to be a self-defeating statement. Obviously that statement was front and foremost in the Mennonite heritage that I came from. Perhaps, I suspect, those of you that know me now have a better understanding of some of the words and grammar I use, both in my writing and in my speaking. There is a reason I sometimes ask people to “de-mennonitize” my writings. I challenge you to find that word in a dictionary.
A lack of self-esteem is a prevalent issue with people who experience depression. Very often when I find myself feeling down I experience a lot of questions on my self-worth. Why am I here? What good am I to other people? Why do I bother trying? It is during these times that I seek validation for what I do. I question my abilities as a husband, a father, a friend, a professional. I question whether I have the ability to perform my work. And as these negative thoughts swirl around my head I become less and less motivated. I force myself to do what needs to be done. Sound familiar? I am reminded of the quote “Inside each self-assured man is a neurotic hoping to succeed before he is found out”. Describes me to a tee.
So the question becomes, how can I improve and build on my self-esteem? Feeling validated is huge. Believing in yourself is integral to your self-esteem. You need to feel important. You need to feel that you are making a difference. Make an effort to compliment someone in your day. That will help your own self-esteem in the short term and long term, will probably see you being complimented more often. That will make you feel good and when you feel good you won’t question your own inabilities. Feeling good? Sounds good. And it is within reach. Make it a good one.