Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

Guest Post: Self-Esteem & Me


Guest Post: Self-Esteem & Me
By Danielle Kinsela
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about reality. I am referring specifically to reality in relation to how we see ourselves and our self-esteem. What is reality anyway? Mine is surely different to yours? What role does perception of reality play in how we and others perceive our flaws and attributes?

You see I have struggled with bouts of low self-worth and esteem since as long as I can remember and I mean as long as I can remember. As a preschooler I would say, “I have fat thighs Mum”. I would constantly negatively compare myself to other children.
Despite being what a lot of people would perceive as “blessed” (tall, blonde haired, blue eyed, very capable both intellectually and physically), I have still been completely paralyzed by self-doubt and a lack of confidence at times.
I was working with a psychologist for a while. I was having some great results working on my anxiety. I felt good and on top of things so I said to her, “What I really need now is some help with my self-esteem”. Looking across the table, I could tell she was totally baffled. I could see in her expression…the question.. Why would you have low esteem?
Apparently what we can see in clarity and real time is only about the size of our thumbnail at arm’s length. The rest is just an imagined composite of what we remember was there when we last looked. When I have thought about this concept in the past, I had always related it to how we perceive situations or events not about how we see ourselves.
If our reality is just our minds composition of tiny little thumbnail images, the things we choose to put focus on could change the whole picture – right? The entire equation could change. When I look back at how I thought about myself in my late teens and 20’s, I definitely had worse self-esteem than I do now. I guess perspective and life experiences help. I often think – if only I had the confidence I have now back then. Don’t get me wrong – I still have a way to go.
I was talking to my almost 70 year old Mum on the phone about this concept recently. She is a self-confessed life-long sufferer of poor body image. She recently looked in the mirror and conceded for the first time that she looked pretty good for someone her age!
Mum explained the only difference was that she cared less about how she looked now and was finally aware of focusing on what was good about how she looked. She was not solely concentrating on all those little perceived flaws she had honed in on all her life.
So the equation looked more like- friendly smile + caring hazel eyes + shiny hair + delicate long fingers + soft accommodating face + Long legs + nice outfit = bit of a babe for a 70 year old!
You see if our reality is these collections of tiny thumbnails being exposed to unrealistic comparisons, misinformation or suggestive information (positive or negative to our self- esteem) – this can change what we believe to be the accurate truth or reality. I compare this to someone who exists with confidence, walking tall (or short), speaking positively about themselves and their life. These people appear more attractive. Confidence frames and magnifies their positive attributes.
My sister once told me that her partner had never noticed that she had cellulite until she pointed it out to him. For her it was reality, one of the thumbnail images she was uploading to her self-image equation file. As someone who loved and adored her, it was her husband’s agenda to upload all the thumbnails of the things about her that he loved to his equation of reality, which was a much different picture to hers.
I have decided I’m not waiting until I am almost 70 years old to finally feel good about myself. I’m putting in place a few challenges to help chip away and make my reality composition one I can be proud of – framing my attributes with confidence!
My 3 Steps to Building a Positive Equation of Myself 
  1. I am painting my thumbnail bright red to remind me throughout the day that this is the size of my reality and I choose what is in the focus.
  2. Catch myself collecting data for negative thumbnail images – STOP!!! Add three new positive ones in replacement! It isn’t going to be easy! That’s why I’m calling it a challenge! Let us create a new pattern!
  3. Catch myself and avoid telling, whining, excusing, talking about or showing my disapproval for my physical and emotional attributes to other people! This is where I will need to enlist others, bff’s, bf’s, mums, siblings and partners. I no longer want to do this and you have permission to stop me if I am falling down on this challenge! I hope this might help you also. We can all get in on the pity party together sometimes (e.g. “I’m such a fatty”, “oh me too!”). Let’s stop this!
Also I don’t want negative self-talk or judgement about myself or others in front of the little people in my life! I want the next generation to grow up with a positive image of me and be a positive self-image example.
I create my reality and I am going to use my conscious effort to make a positive equation of myself! Join me if you dare! Dx

Danielle KinselaDanielle Kinsela’s  personal struggle balancing skin conditions and emotions set her on a path to study health and natural medicine in order to find answers to heal herself and help others. 

She practices as professionally qualified Acupuncture and Natural Medicine Practitioner in Melbourne, Australia. Danielle has over 10 years experience in the health and wellness industry. Her special interest and area of experience is in the treatment and management of skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis and allergies, digestive problems, depression, anxiety and stress as well as women’s health, fertility and menstrual disorders.

You can find her here on Facebook and on her blog, daniellekinsela.com.

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thankyou for this reminder that my grandchildren do not need to hear any negative comments about anyone’s appearance. keep it positive and focus on a person’s qualities rather than their appearance…


Danielle, thank you for sharing this wonderful post. I love the idea of painting a thumbnail bright red!


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