Mothering Monday: Series on Self Esteem & Confidence, Part One

Part One: Building Self-Esteem at Any Age.

I recently stumbled upon an online conversation about confidence.  A friend of mine had asked, “Can confidence be learned? If so, how can we build confidence in older children?”  Reading the responses got the wheels in my brain moving and I ended up with even more questions competing for space in my crowded head.

What is confidence?  How does it differ from self-esteem?  I believe that confidence is deeply rooted in a healthy self-esteem so let’s start there. 

Self esteem defines what we believe to be true about ourselves.  Healthy self-esteem has direct influence on what we do, including decisions we make, and can bring us to a place of confidence.  On the flip side, poor self esteem also effects what we do and think, but can bring us to a place where we are too afraid to act on the decisions we have made.  Certainly, there is more to our internal workings than that.  Personality and character traits effect what we think and do as well, but I'm trying to stick with examining the effects of healthy esteem vs. poor esteem.

Self-esteem is born from:

Learning purpose.
What is my purpose for being here? What am I supposed to do in life?  Those that find the answer to this question early in life, it helps clear the path to move on to other important milestones.  For children this doesn’t have to be a deep philosophical quandary.  It can be as simple as, finding purpose in learning about the world, and learning how to cope within their world.  As we get older, purpose is a very personal and varied concept.  Our environment (city, province) and family structure may help shape our sense of purpose.  Example: Children that grow up on a working farm may grow up to believe their purpose is to provide healthy food for their community.  I feel as though my life purpose has transitioned at least three times in my adult life.  Becoming a mother meant that my purpose had to change.  I now had a little girl that was dependant on me.  My purpose changed, and so I had to reconstruct my life goals to reflect my new purpose.  Purpose can change over time, but once found it gives you fire in your belly to DO what you believe you are on earth to DO.

Learning that you belong.
Does your child know their “place” within your family circle.  I look to TV mom, Michelle Duggar from 19 Kids and Counting, to help explain this concept.  This clip is from an older show, but this special family has set up a stable structure, with clear goals, to gain specific positive outcomes for EVERY member of the family.
You may wonder how chores could possibly have anything to do with self-esteem.  Well, basically you are learning that what you DO can have a direct impact on the people around you.  And when you receive positive feedback from completing your chore, your self-esteem fill be fed.

For this Mothering Monday, I will end the article here.  I think we've brought up enough ideas to chew on until next week.  Stay tuned for part 2, Building Confidence at Any Age.

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