The Science Of Self-Esteem

Edo Medicks
Edo Medicks

We’ve all been there.

We spend an hour getting ready. Three days not eating after 8pm. We stand in front of the Evil Mirror and try to squash every little imperfection we see so when we finally make it to that party or that event or that show, we can feel “good” or “sexy” or “confident” – whatever the hell that means.

We put layers on our face so we can hide the way we hate our skin and our insecurities. We straighten and flatten and gloss everything over so we can feel HOT. Then we roll up to the party or whatever like we are fierce and we have our shit together. We have an expectation vs. reality moment.

We know the person we’ve been hoping to run into/internet stalking/instagram liking will be there. We know the person we’re supposed to “network” with will have an appearance and oh my god, how do we drop in the conversation that we’re smart and we’re the next big thing? But god, we’re not sleazy, no, we’re not looking for a job or an opportunity, or what have you, but as they tell you in college (do they tell you in college?) every single moment after graduation could be an open door that unleashes the path to your dreams.

We’ll say something witty (“I’ll have a rum and coke…A COLA! My god, I’m not a monster!”) The person will laugh and notice us…finally.

 Yes, it’s me. That girl you’ve been noticing here and there all month. That sharp, witty girl who has timeless yet funky style, who runs that cute yet smart tumblr, who is just dying to be the next big thing but isn’t too desperate. Who hosts a podcast and plays on a rec basketball league, who volunteers on the weekend and loves her family and can quote Twin Peaks in her sleep?

Yes, it’s me. And yes, I’m funny and cute and charming. And yes, I would love to get coffee sometime and talk about our favorite books and why we wish literary characters could be real people and like, if a job comes out of it, who’s to say it wasn’t just fate? WE HAVE A CONNECTION, DON’T WE?

We get so nervous. We check ourselves in Evil Mirror ten times to make sure we will look the way we think we’re supposed to. We refuse to eat anything and we talk to our friends but our eyes keep moving around the room.

And then that person walks in with their friends and they look like the love child of Tilda Swinton and Alec Baldwin, with all of the sophistication of Dame Judi Dench. We’re sweating. We’re trying to think of what talents we have, if any. God, does eating and talking really fast without choking count as a talent? What about the ability to have a nervous breakdown every time we look on WebMD?

And then this is it! This is the moment! We’re going to woo them with our brain and the new dress we’ve slipped on and we imagine Hall & Oates starts playing and then!

The person passes us. The music is loud, the person offers us a little grin and then they talk to someone else the whole night. Maybe our social circles never intersect, maybe they hit it off with that other girl who’s way skinnier than us and her tumblr is tumblr famous and she writes for McSweeney’s and is a vegan. Maybe we never get the courage to do anything at all.

We mentally check out for the rest of the party. We drive home blaring Joni Mitchell and think, “At least I have Netflix. At least I have The Office on queue and everything will be okay because I’m just season 3 Pam Beasley, right?”

Then the dark thoughts start to come in.

“WHY am I such an idiot?”

“Why am I ugly?”



And then we realize we are freaks and go home and go to sleep and text our friends and they tell us to listen to Beyonce and we’ll feel better and then we move on.

We realize this is a pretty normal scenario but it’s also not okay. We realize we don’t want to have our self-esteem based off of other people.

Our self-worth is not based on other people.

Eventually we just have to let it go. We have to let go how we want other people to perceive us and we have to know what is true inside of us. We have to know there are good things about us and bad things about us and that’s the same for everyone.

Self-esteem is a weird thing we’re taught when we’re little. We’re taught to have good self-esteem and it’s such a weird concept. We’re told when we’re young that we’re beautiful and perfect and great at everything, but those are mostly just bold faced lies. And then we grow up and normal life happens and somewhere along the line we’re like, DAMN. This is hard and I don’t feel good about myself…ever.

And then we realize it’s okay to like ourselves sometimes, and then not like ourselves other times, because it is all part of being human.

Which is cool. Being human is cool, right? Obviously it’d be cooler to be half-human, half-someone with super powers, but hey…we’ll take being human. And we guess we’ll take all the stuff that comes with it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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