Is self esteem that important anyway?

The other day I was at the table having breakfast and my 8 year old daughter said this..

“Mummy, I’m the 4th or 5th smartest in class”. I’m like.. “What did you say”? She repeats the same…. And my heart stops!

By this time, my husband joins us at the table and we are eagerly looking at her for more explanation. She then went on to say that the top 3 are all smart in Maths. Let me set the stage here – my daughter is quite smart (I’m not saying this just because I’m her mother). She goes to an International maths programme and is 2 years ahead for her grade level! (Yes, proud mama here!). And still she thought she was not smart!

I thought this was the perfect parenting moment to instill some confidence in my young daughter..

But first, I had to know on what basis she made that statement. I asked her – “Darling, what makes you say this?” My daughter is in Grade 2. She says at school, her teacher is training students for the Naplan test and No.1, No. 2, No.3 all took Yr 5 Naplan Test while the rest of the class took Year 3 Naplan test.

Here’s what I told her…

“Baby, being good at studies is just one aspect of life! And that too – ‘maths’ is just one subject of all that you can learn in life. Being number 1 or 2 or 3 is really not the only ‘cool thing’.

In life, you can be No. 1 in studies and ‘not that good’ in all other aspects. Or, you can study the best you can and have an all rounded life!

You have a beautiful soul, because you truly care about your family, you create stunning art pieces and can sing and dance; you help your friends and strangers alike; you are a good daughter and a student; you are very respectful to your elders and everyone likes you!

So, never, EVER compare yourself to others because each one of us is UNIQUE and that’s what makes us an individual.”

As adults, how many of us are like my daughter? We are always comparing ourselves to our friends, our colleagues and feel less secure because ‘we don’t earn as much as..’ or ‘we are not as beautiful and slim as..’ or ‘we don’t have enough properties’ and so on. The list can be endless.

By comparing ourselves to others, we lower our self-esteem!

On the other hand, how good would your life be, if you focused on what truly matters – are you compassionate? Do you have a job you love? Do you have food to eat, clothes to wear? Are you a good friend to someone? Do you have a family that loves you and you love them? This list can be endless too – if only we will take the time to count all the things we are grateful for!

Remember, there is only one version of you – whether you look up to yourself or look down – is entirely up to you. Because this world is not about judgement, but more around compassion – firstly, to yourself!

If this resonates with you, I’d love to hear from you.