S01E39 – Self Esteem – It Matters!

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Episode Notes

Low self esteem? We have all been there. Our perception of self worth is extremely important to how we conduct ourselves within life and can influence our behaviours as well. When you are feeling low, it can be like nothing is right with your life.

In this podcast Maheen talks about understanding self esteem, the effects of low self esteem and gives you 6 strategies to get you on the road to better self esteem!

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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Episode 39 Welcome to the Muslim life hackers podcast, the weekly podcast providing you with tips and tricks on how to hack your life and maximize its potential. And now for your hosts Mithra maroof. And Mohit Malik.

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As we said, the crisis see

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Assalamu alaikum Muslim life hackers, this is my family care, and I'm going to be your host for today's podcast. It's Episode 39 of the Muslim life hackers podcast. As usual, you can find all the links and resources mentioned in today's episode in our show notes at Muslim life hackers.com, forward slash 39. And that's the number 39. So today's topic is on self esteem, understanding it, the benefits, what are the effects of low self esteem, and then I'm going to be giving you six strategies to help you improve your self esteem. Please excuse my voice today, I'm a bit sick, well, not sick. I've just got this croaky voice. And I think it's because I left the window open last

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night, but let's get on with it. Today's topic was actually requested by a listener, which is awesome. We had some podcast topic suggestions sent in via our feedback form. So thank you so much to all the people out there who got back to us with their ideas and suggestions, we really appreciate it. So so much.

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And for those who are interested in sending us feedback, I'll link it in a link the feedback form in our show notes, I just think that this topic of self esteem is really an umbrella to a lot of other issues, such as, you know, peer pressure, assertiveness body image, in a better mentality in general. So I think it's a good place to start inshallah. So I started thinking seriously about self esteem a few days ago, when I started some research on the topic. And I was just like, it's kind of like, you know, it's self esteem effects. Just about everyone, we're all on the spectrum, on varying levels, you know, at different times about life with my have different, we may have different levels

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of self esteem, we all have incidents within our life, which we can remember, that may have impacted our self esteem, whether it be positive or negative, someone like complimenting you on your hair or outfit or whatever, and you're just brimming with confidence for the rest of the day. Or you might have some, some, you know, comments said to you, and you get really down and you just ruminate, and you feel as though you know, you're not good enough. And it's, it's generally those negative comments that we do remember. And just to clarify, what I mean by self esteem, is, it's how you value you know, your self worth, and I googled it up and I got the meaning that's a nice definition,

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quote, confidence in one's own worth or abilities, and quote her likens it to self respect. So beginning with some background on the topic, there's been a recently a lot of attention within the research fields lately, and I found a really great review paper from the University of Texas in Austin, where on the progression of the study of self use, and how it's increased in the past few years, I'll link it in the show notes for anyone who's interested in that kind of thing. And it highlights how there's a link between our thoughts and thoughts of ourselves and other areas within our life, it really just asked the fact that our minds really dictate a lot of our behavior, and

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determines our mood and all of that. And there's, um, there's a lot of correlations between, you know, our thinking, you know, our self worth, and depression, anxiety, obesity, the works panela. So it's really just so important to take stock of your self esteem, especially in this day and age. And even if you don't have low self esteem, it may, it's highly likely that someone around you does, and just being aware of the science and what is possibly going on, through their minds, will better enable in better enable you to help them or yourself for that matter. And the high prevalence of low self esteem is just so evident the content being consumed in the self help books on this topic is

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just through the roof. And it's no surprise when our channels of media and entertainment here, they're constantly telling us, you know, we need to be perfect, we need to look a certain way. Like the supermodel or whatever, we need to have a certain car sort of personality, we need to have like, you know, the latest hipster hoodie or whatever, or like, Oh my god, you're wearing a blue job that was so last year. You know what I'm talking about. And just to share like a personal story about my own self esteem background, it's a bit hard to share, but I know that I need to share like stories like this because someone someone out there somewhere could be struggling with the same things. So

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when I was younger, I was a really, really, really self conscious about two things. Firstly, my height and secondly, my skin color. And I'll start off with my skin color. So I am an awesome brown color. Yay. And I absolutely love my skin now, but it wasn't always that way. And when I was younger I grew up well obviously I'm Australia

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Because, you know, I grew up here I went to, I went to a public school in both my primary and high school years. And a lot of

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well, all of my friends were basically white Aziz. And there just weren't many people with the same skin color where I grew up or have the same background. And I just despise my brown skin. And I really got depressed and sad about it all the time. I felt like I didn't belong, where I didn't, I didn't fit in. And you know, I'd never go out the sun as basically like this as basically like this brown kid who was like a hermit

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would actually change the perception of myself. Because basically, all self esteem is in your mind, it's your perception of yourself, which changed my perception about my skin color was a conversation I had with my mom. And I'm really grateful to her Angela that she was really supportive while I was younger. And so one day I was sitting with her, and I was complaining about complaining about my skin color. And she was like, Well, I mean, she's got like an accent, which is really cool. She's like, Well, you know, have you looked in the mirror? Have you met yourself? And, you know, I stopped for a while. And I thought, you know, what she meant by this was that, you know, I'm more than just

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my skin, you know, I should meet my whole self and not just my skin color. And she said something else. It was really awesome. And she said, you know, do you know what color you are under your skin? And then she's like, what about your friends? What color are they under your skin? It kind of really struck the young team that I was back in primary school. And it really got me to stop and think that you know, how we are just, we're all the same. And we only sometimes, oftentimes, we only really look at the surface. And, and then she says something else. She was all like, you know, why don't you love the cloth that Allah subhanaw taala has given you to cover your flesh and bones, you know,

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love the different color that you're blessed with. It's a beautiful color. And kind of from them, kind of from then I had like this different perspective of my skin. And now I like rock it. Yes. And so yeah, that was kind of like struggle, I had my own kind of skin color. And then secondly, I had like a lot of like, self esteem issues with my height, I'm quite tall, a handle on my height is 176 or 177 centimeters. And I did convert it to feet, because I know like a lot of our listeners are American 176 centimeters is about it's about five foot seven or five foot eight, which is which is quite tall for a woman. And I know oh my god, I know people are going to be pushed out of the main

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going to be thinking, you know, why don't you complaining about her height. But you know, it was something that really got me down a lot, I really got got really got to me, I was always taller than everyone in my class when I was younger. And I was like one of those, like, the tools chicks. And in cosmetics, I was always in the back row with the lanky dudes. And I just hated it. I wanted to be shorter and petite, and fit in with the rest of the girls. And honestly, whenever someone said, you know, oh my God, you're so tall, or why do you settle? I would always cringe on the inside. Inside my head. I was like, geez, you know, I know, I'm a giant, I'm so tall a tower over you like a freak.

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But, um, I just really wanted people to stop noticing my height. And so I'd wear like the flatness of shoes, and I would slump around like a hunchback or something. But as I've gotten older, I've realized, you know, being cool is awesome. And you know, this is How old's from pinata made me and I'm blessed to have my, and I'm blessed to have my height. It's not something that I can change. It's the hyperrealist, one solid choice to me, and I can do so much with it. And I've embraced it. And now I'm working straight off.

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So yeah, those are my two story stories about self esteem, which maybe you have the same problems. Maybe you don't. But yeah, but you can have self esteem, self esteem issues about just about anything. It could be the career path that you've chosen.

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It could be how much wealth you have your family, you could have low self esteem about your relationships with your spouse, or your I don't know, your friends, maybe you think that you have no friends. Maybe you think that you're not smart enough. I actually had a friend and she was

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the youngest of about four children. And all of her older, older siblings were like doctors or engineers or whatever. And she herself was super smart. But she didn't get into she didn't get into any of these fields. And she fell into the depression because you know, her self esteem took a big hit, she didn't feel like she was good enough to fit into the family.

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You could also have self esteem issues about maybe your personality, maybe you don't like your personality, maybe think that you know you want to be louder, or maybe you want to be quieter.

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You'd have self esteem about that. Perhaps you have low self esteem about your looks or physique like I had in my story. And we see that this low self esteem, it's most evident within our body image and looks and I'll talk a bit more about that because just because

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The most evident, it's quite unfortunate that our society tells us look up to all these, like, you know, celebrities who are airbrushed in these magazines of blush with pictures of, you know, the perfect man or woman. And seriously, it's just so hard to avoid, especially if you're a Westerner, you just can't avoid the propaganda, unfortunately, sexuality and perfectionism cells, and put this in essentially doing is seeping into our everyday lives, changing the values and morals of our like, you know, our coaches. And so we adopt these notions of what's cool, what's very how we should be. And we aim for all of these things. And when we don't reach these impossible goals that we set for

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ourselves, we take a huge hit to our self worth and self esteem, we feel as though we don't fit in and our self esteem goes down, we begin to believe that you know, we're not as good enough as other people and sad to slim, he does a great talk of self esteem and whole body image issue on this area, and I'll link it in the in the show notes. inshallah. So check it out. So some of the effects of low self esteem that we can look at our rumination, you just focus on this one area of your life, and you constantly think about it and think about it and think about it. And all other areas of your life, they kind of diminish. If they focused on this one. Suppose that flaw within your life that

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you can't see anything else, you don't feel any purpose. And this is where it can kind of spiral into depression, other anxiety or other disorders, and support, it's no surprise that one of the biggest killers of young adults is suicide. This low self esteem literally drives people to end their lives to Pentalobe. And I've heard the same story time and time and time again, of people being unable to meet certain expectations within like within their family or culture or whatever. And because of all this pressure, they just ended, and May Allah protect us. And it just, it just shows us how it's even more important to identify low self esteem within us and others and start

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tackling the issue because it's quite serious. Other effects of low self esteem could be that you know, you can't you start to not be able to handle many things. When your self esteem goes down and you're assigned to feel depressed, you begin to lack confidence in taking on goals and going after aspirations completing tasks, you won't be able to compete complete them, you stop believing in yourself, when you have low self esteem, you don't think that you can do it because the person lacking this one area of your life, you don't believe that you are okay to handle other handled other areas of your life, you become quick to criticize and become your own worst critic. And you

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need this constant reassurance but other people, because you crippled by this low self esteem, you're unable to reassure yourself. And another fact this one's a bit more subtle, is that you become very jealous quickly of others. And it turns into this toxic resentment you're unable to, you know, meet this goal within yourself that you have for yourself. And therefore you start to resent those who who kind of have what you want. And you start doing things that compromise who you are, for example, or I don't know, you might join a gang to fit in, or you might start to gossip, or you might change certain aspects of yourself to tackle this underlying issue that you have underlying

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like low self esteem that you have about an issue, and kind of like fit in and do things that aren't really, first of all they could they could be, they could be a sin, and they kind of go against your nature go against like who you who you are. One of the final effects of low self esteem is that it affects our most closest relationships, and most importantly, our relationship with Allah, our Lord. When we have low self esteem, we we start to, we start to lose faith in Him, we become susceptible to the whispers of shaitan. You know, telling us things like, you know, telling us things like you know, you're not, you're not worthy of forgiveness, you're not worthy. Maybe things like, you know,

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Allah has abandoned you, or whatever, he doesn't want you he doesn't love you or you're not worthy of like all these things, the effects of low self esteem As we can see, and numerous. And with these effects of low self esteem in mind, we shouldn't aspire to improve self esteem within us. And just to clarify what I mean by we should have better self esteem in achieving this one should not become egotistical, or arrogant and think that you know, they're better than others. Having good self esteem is believing in yourself, challenging yourself to go after your goals, knowing that you can do good things and that you can achieve you are equal to others in capacity. Knowing that to Allah

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subhanaw taala you have valuable, being comfortable with who you are. And just to clarify this point as well. What I mean by being comfortable with who you are is the things that you know, you can't kind of change like for example, your height, or, you know, those things that you know, make us who we are, and we're talking about like for example you'd like

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Being couch potato, therefore, be comfortable being couch potato. Or, for example, you have a troublesome personality trait like you're, you're always angry or fiery and always going for people. That's something that you can fix, therefore it should be addressed. And it's kind of like a paradox of self development. On one hand, you need to be able to accept who you are. And on other hand, you need to work at being better. But that's a topic for another day. And with that being said, I've got six strategies to help you improve your self esteem. Strategy number one, acknowledge that it is impossible to be perfect perfection is for Allah subhanaw taala, and he does not expect us to be

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perfect. What he wants from us is excellence in the things that we do. So don't be so hard on yourself, give yourself permission to go easy on yourself, when you're going after goals and things like that. Strategy number two, is zoom out and focus on other areas of your life. You know, oftentimes, when we have self esteem, it's not just it's not that, you know, a whole life is like bad, it's just that we've just focused on this one aspect within ourselves. We're just so focused on this one thing, and the toxic feelings spread to all other areas within our life. For example, you know, you might hate your car or something like, you know, all of your friends have Bentley's or

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something like that. And, you know, you don't have like, you know, a Bentley.

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Who does, right?

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But you know, you hate your car, and you're just so focused on this one thing, and you feel so depressed, because you know, you don't fit in with your friends who like driving these, these Bentley's and whatever. And, you know, it's this, like toxic feelings spread within the other areas of your life. Stop, zoom out and look at the rest of your life. Yeah, you may not have a Bentley, but you've got a family at home, right? You've got your health, you've got your job, right, you're able to stand up and pray, do you want to read the Quran, zoom out and look at all the other things within your life, you are more than just this one aspect that you think that is deficient within

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you. So that was strategy number two, strategy number three, stop the inner critic. Now we all have this internal dialogue, this inside voice that goes on within our minds, and it's so powerful, like it's just got, it really impacts our behavior, and in the long run our moods and things like that.

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So for example, your inner voice might be saying something like, you're so lazy, or you're sloppy, you're no good at the job, and you're gonna find out that you're no good and you're going to get fired, or are you in a voice or something like you're so ugly, what you need to do is say no, as soon as you start to hear like this criticism that's going on, within your own mind, say no, and press Delete, and press Delete and eliminate within, then eliminate that thought within your mind. Because you alone have that power to eliminate it personally, whenever you hear that voice within your head. And I heard this technique with an awesome TED talk by Nico Everett, where she was

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talking on the topic of self esteem. And I'll link it in the show notes as well. So that was strategy number three, stop the inner critic chaged. Number four, stop comparing yourself to others. seems obvious. But it's a really important one. For example, you have low self esteem about your height, maybe a really tall, embrace it, you will never will as far as I know. You won't, you'll never be able to short on yourself. It's how Allah subhanho wa Taala shaped you himself, stop looking at others and the other qualities that maybe you don't have, that maybe others have, but you don't look at what you do have take those qualities and do something great with it. Love yourself.

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And again, what I mean by this is not an egotistical way, but know who you are, and embrace it, you are you. I feel like I'm talking about Dr. Seuss book, but who are you and when you don't like yourself, and you want to be like others, you lose the ability to give back in the world in a way that's uniquely you, you will be able to help others with the gifts that Allah Subhana Allah has given you specifically, stop comparing yourself you'll be measured for what you are not for what not for what others are charging. Number five, help someone else with their self esteem. You know, as Muslims, we want for others what we want for ourselves. So express your gratitude towards someone

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else, put them up, compliment them sincerely tell them what you like about them and the same will come to you in sha Allah. And we know that when we make to offer someone the angels say I mean and you know the same to us as well. So when you see that, you know your family member or friend is criticizing themselves, and you know, they don't have such good self esteem themselves. You may put them up, tell them what you like about them, and in turn, you'll find that the same happens to you inshallah. So that was strategy number five help someone else with their self esteem. Strategy number six, practice gratitude. Again, this point just keeps sneaking its way back into our

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podcasts. But be thankful for

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Do you have what's good in your life, and this will shift the focus from whatever is causing this low self esteem. We take for granted the things that make us happy. So there was a study done by Dr. Robert Emmons and him and his team, what they did was they took about 330 participants, and he got them to keep a journal. And he divided these 300 people into three groups, the first group had to at the end of the day, and I don't remember for how long they did the journal, but it was I think it was for a few weeks. And at the end of the day, the first group, they had to write about things that they people places or things that they were grateful for that happened that day. The second group,

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at the end of the day, had to write down things that annoyed them.

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The third group was a control and what they would write about was, they could write about whatever they wanted within the journal at the end at the end of the day. And so when the results came back, the group that write about gratitude will measured and it was shown that they had actually improved in wellbeing, they slept better, they even exercise more so ping grateful does wonders for you. And in other podcasts I've mentioned, setting aside five minutes at the end of the day, I have an alarm that goes off telling me that to take five and I sit and I say humble off all the things that I'm grateful for I specifically look for things to say 100 100 allow for and it just really enriches my

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enriches my relationship with Allah subhanaw taala and how I perceive events that have happened to me during the day, what I suggest for you is that you sit and write things that make you grateful set an alarm for like the end of the day, sit down and write things that you are grateful for that happened to you maybe places that you've been that that day or people that you're grateful for that day, and also things that you'd like about yourself that you're grateful for five minutes, at least and I know it's a long time, especially if you're feeling down, but it will be worth it inshallah. So they were the six strategies I had on helping you improve your self esteem inshallah. And just to

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recap them, they were number one, acknowledge that it is important, impossible to be perfect. Number two, zoom out and focus on other areas within your life. Strategy number three, stop the inner critic. Strategy number four, stop comparing yourself to others. Strategy number five, help someone else with their self esteem. And strategy number six, practice gratitude. Alright, so that pretty much sums up all I've got on self esteem. I hope that you've been benefited and enjoyed this podcast and it's helped you in some way. If you've got any comments or feedback tweet at us, our handle is m life. And we'd love to hear from you. Or if you've got some suggestions, for ideas for future

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podcasts, we'd love to hear from you tweet at us as well. And we will get back to you inshallah. And as usual, you can find all the links and resources mentioned in today's podcast in our show notes at Muslim life hackers.com slash 39. And that's the number 39. Alright, that's all for today guys. And pray, take action and be awesome.