A Lesson About Self-Esteem, For When You’re Feeling Low

Photos from a ramen class I took with B last week. (Cooking gives me self esteem.)

I’m a pretty big Kristen Bell fan.

I mean, Veronica Mars? Forgetting Sarah Marshall? Frozen? I have a strong suspicion that basically everything she touches turns to gold. (Even pasta!)

So of course, I was excited when her (also famous) husband, Dax Shepard, interviewed her for the first episode of his podcast. There are a ton of gems in the episode, but there was one thing in particular that I want to share with you now.

Dax talks a lot about Kristen’s innate high self esteem vs. his formerly low self esteem. Then he drops this knowledge bomb about how we get self esteem:

“I believe, personally, that we think we get self esteem by accomplishing things. Like oh, I’ll graduate from UCLA. That’ll make me feel good about myself. Or, I’ll be on tv. That’ll make me feel good about myself. Or I’ll date this person. And then, that’ll make me feel good about myself.

But in my experience, none of those things ever made me feel good about myself. Things that made me feel good are esteemable acts.”

Self esteem is doing esteemable acts.

Mind. Blown. …Just me?

I think this concept comes from AA. (Can anyone confirm?) And the beauty of it is, esteemable acts don’t have to be a big deal.

It doesn’t have to be bringing clean water to people in Ethiopia (though Kristen has definitely done that). It can mean simple acts that help you to care for yourself or others.

Like eating a healthy meal or making your bed. Like sending good thoughts toward someone who cut you off in traffic or helping a friend work through a challenge.

Everyone can have their own list of activities that build their self esteem. Some of mine are cooking for people, trying something new, writing (in a journal or online), and sending someone a genuine compliment just because I feel like it. I even think going for a walk could land on my list, because it feels good for me.

How do you build your self esteem? What are some of your esteemable acts? Do you have a list that you refer to when you’re feeling crappy?

If you’re not sure where to start, I highly recommend following @makedaisychains on Instagram. She illustrates quirky and lovely medals for everyday activities. She calls them #boringselfcare.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on self esteem and esteemable acts in the comments.

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