Self-esteem is how we view ourselves. If we have low self-esteem, we don’t have a high regard for ourselves and this can affect our lives in so many ways such as accepting abuse or never attempting to reach our dreams as we don’t believe we have a chance of success or if we try and fail, we won’t be able to pull ourselves back up.
Poor self-esteem often stems from criticism from those around you when you were a child, as well as later on in your life, and from your inner voice. We can’t change our childhoods, but we can make changes to what we are doing now about our sense of self-esteem – improving your self-esteem is so important, whether in polygamy or not.
So one thing that became apparent to me after finding myself in polygamy was that jealousy and feelings of insecurity were partly exacerbated by my own sense of self-worth. Why was I suddenly finding myself checking out and attempting post-baby tummy exercises on YouTube, bothering to wear something half decent and brushing my hair more often? More importantly, why didn’t I do this before – was I not worth a bit of self-TLC?
Women who are happy with themselves seem to be happier in polygamy than those who have low self-esteem. Satisfied with who they are, these women realize that they don’t need to have one man to themselves to feel confident in their own qualities, and are confident their husband loves them for who they are. If you have low self-esteem then you will more likely believe the common myth you are not good enough a wife if your man wants to practice polygamy. If you feel unattractive, ‘just’ a mother, and generally down on yourself, of course the mean voice who plagues you day and night is going to whisper that your co-wife must be the most beautiful, successful, pleasing wife in the world – and then there is the threat this will show up your flaws even more clearly and decrease the love your husband has for you.
But how can we improve our self-esteem?
One thing is to challenge that voice in your head telling you you’re not worthy. You are not defined by your marriage, but instead by your good qualities, your taqwa. Find the caring voice inside of you and tell yourself things that you will actually believe – with poor self-esteem it can be hard to accept compliments and saying things that aren’t true or exaggerated will not help. Just ‘You are great’ isn’t so helpful. So pick out specifics that you can’t deny, like you have beautiful, big, brown eyes; you are a very loving mother; or you are good at organizing. With the latter for example, take action with your strengths to enhance your self-belief – organize a party for a friend for example.
In the evening before you sleep, think back over the day about things that went well or better than expected, for example, ‘I kept control of my temper when my son tipped milk all over the table.’ By writing this post, I realize I still need to work on getting rid of this mean inner voice; it bugs me day and night saying things like ‘I am not the successful businesswomen who also homeschools and serve organic, healthy meals every night’. I need to replace that with a kind voice that sees and acknowledges my qualities.
Again, kick out the comparisons
These sort of negative thoughts spoken by our inner voice are influenced by comparing ourselves to others, but everyone is created differently which is what is so beautiful. Instead of feeling inferior to others, you can try to become the best you, because there is only one you – someone who is special, and remember that your husband has chosen to be and stay with you.
Polygamy leading to positive action
Other women I’ve come across have taken positive directions since they’ve been in polygamy. They’ve had more time for themselves to pursue their interests – starting an online business, writing the book they’d always promised themselves, taking yoga classes. They have shown, to themselves most importantly, that they are successful as their own person. This is part of the positive side I see to polygamy it makes you get on with stuff you otherwise might have put off. You know you’re going to be on your own for a good part of your life, and you can cope and in fact benefit from it. For me, being apart was nothing new as my husband was often away for business, but I can imagine if your husband has been with you every night since you married it would be a big change and upheaval. But sitting around, waiting for the time when he comes back isn’t helpful and a waste of your precious time on earth – take control and fill it with beneficial activities.
How others can help
Your husband can also help with building up your self-esteem. Ask him to write down the good points he sees in you, especially useful for those first days he is away from you, one quality a day for you to look at to give you a little boost. On the other hand, comparing you to another wife is out of the question, and if a man starts doing this in polygamy, trouble lies ahead. Also, maybe you have friends close enough who can tell you what they appreciate about you.
What are you going to do next to boost your self-esteem? Start going to the gym or enrol in that writing course? I encourage you to take positive action to boost your self-esteem, whether in polygamy or not – it’s win-win! And after writing all this, I think I’ll write down what I’ve done well in recent times and boost my own self-esteem!
What did you do well yesterday, however insignificant? Let’s hear about it in the comments!