Self-confidence and self-efficacy are the two essential components of self-esteem. Self-esteem is the impression you have concerning your abilities, worth, and character. A person with a healthy self-esteem thinks he/she has the ability to excel, and feels that he/she is worthy of love and respect, irrespective of his/her imperfections. On the contrary, another person with a low self-esteem thinks that he/she is not worth very much, cannot excel, and is inferior to other people. People with healthy self-esteem are generally happy, cheerful, and willing to take risks for the right reasons. They are kind, tolerant, and helpful. And they certainly enjoy a high quality life.
Healthy self-esteem is essential to mankind. Still, for some reasons, most of us are nursing low self-esteem. Self-esteem can be bruised by rejection, scorn, the derogatory remarks and the disparaging comments of other people; all of which seem to be too common across the world. There’s hardly anyone who hasn’t had his self-esteem bruised by the spiteful remarks of others. These bruises can lead to enduring emotional wounds that refuse to heal. And emotional wounds can affect our behaviors in considerable ways!
Emotional wounds are the bruises our self-esteem have sustained over the years through destructive criticisms, rejections, or emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. These wounds refuse to heal because they were deep and painful when we had them. Perhaps, you were severely censured by your parents, rejected by class mates because you were perceived ugly/boring/unkempt, raped, publicly humiliated because of a certain deficiency, ostracized by other people because of some perceived inadequateness, taunted by your peers for being a stutterer/slow learner/homosexual, etc. Whatever the case may be, the onset of an emotional wound can be shattering, devastating, and agonizing. And remembering those experiences can be just as devastating as they felt at the onset of the experiences.
For example, Andrew and John attended a party and met two beautiful ladies, with whom they struck up a relationship. After two weeks, the two girls called off their relationships without giving a reason. While Andrew thought he was rejected because he lacked social skills, John thought he was rejected because he had no university degree. The two girls, however, had broken up with them for entire different reasons. The reason Andrew thought he was rejected due to his perceived poor social skills is because he had been rejected on numerous occasions in the past for the same reason. He wasn’t overly pleased with those experiences because rejections can be corrosive to the mind, and they often wound our self-esteem. Because he had been nursing an emotional wound, he easily believed that any rejection experienced by him was due to his poor social skills. The same can be said about John, who thought he was rejected because he is a school drop-out.
You may misunderstand other people’s words and actions towards you because of your emotional wound. And the more emotional wounds you have, the likelier you are to be more sensitive, suspicious, and self-conscious. This can be highly mentally stressful, thus lowering the quality of your happiness. You become more anxious and unable to be at ease. A harmless statement or gesture could be misconstrued as being harmful or persecutory. Indeed, living with emotional wounds can be tough, thereby leading to low self-esteem and negative self-beliefs. Examples of how emotional wounds can affect you are shown below
- Self-belief: I failed the examination because I cannot pass an examination
- Emotional wound: I failed all the examinations I ever wrote
- Self-belief: They don’t want to talk to me because they think I am ugly
- Emotional wound: My childhood friends all stayed away from me because they thought I was ugly.
- Self-belief: I will never get married because I am worthless and a shame
- Emotional wound: I was sexually abused as a child
Emotional wounds influence how you behave and how you feel to a considerable degree. Every rejection or insolence you experience is easily associated with a perceived inadequateness or deficiency in you, because you have lived with feeling insecure for the most part of your life. Feeling insecure has hindered you from experiencing the inner serenity, self-like, and lasting happiness you deserve. And as long as these emotional wounds keep giving you those sharp pains you really hate, your quality of life will always be adversely affected. Therefore, what must be done to these emotional wounds? Can these wounds heal up?
Emotional wounds cannot heal, but they can be managed. You will always remember that you were rejected, abused, or scorned in the past, because those memories have been reinforced over the years, and have now become very strong. And while these memories cannot be hindered from popping up each time you have an undesirable experience, you can maintain a healthy self-esteem regardless. Your deficiencies and imperfections do not make you any less of a valuable and worthwhile person. Like everybody else, you deserve unconditional love and respect. You are worthy and deserving, not because of the things you have or the great goals you have accomplished, but because you just are. You may not be proud of your past, you are still an important person. You may have some shortcomings, they don’t make you inferior to anyone.
When you are able to maintain a healthy self-esteem, regardless of your emotional wounds, you will experience greater happiness and a more fulfilling life!