Wrestling with Self-esteem

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I was a shy, introverted, insecure kid. My parents pushed academics and music. This included "gifted" classes, choir, band, and piano lessons- all worthwhile pursuits, but they did not do much for my geek status.

I wanted to be popular, confident, and comfortable in social settings. In eighth grade I joined the wrestling team. One of the most popular kids in school, Keith Hamrick, was a wrestler and a friend. I did my best to learn from his confidence. I excelled in wrestling and this helped tremendously. The success in wrestling combined with my friendship with Keith proved to be the recipe for confidence in my youth.

I remember one of my defining moments in high school. The football team was brought into the wrestling room to "cross train". One of the football players, an unpleasant kid, had a particular disliking for me because his girlfriend had a particular liking for me. I was actually a little bit scared of him- he had at least 30 lbs on me, was significantly stronger than me and was one mean son of a gun.

But by this time I was a very good wrestler. As fate would have it, I was positioned against him in a "wrestle-off". I whupped that boy up and down the mat- threw him around like a rag doll. He never bothered me again. It was extremely gratifying and went a long way to fueling an inner strength and a positive self-esteem.

Think of a struggle you faced in your youth.

  • What was it?
  • How did you learn from it?
  • How did you grow?
  • Who helped you along the way?

Perhaps you are "wrestling" with something at this very moment. You may be battling an addiction, a failed relationship, a financial crisis or the loss of a loved one. These same four questions can help you to fight the good fight.

  • What is it? Clarify exactly what you are facing. What are the emotions you are wrestling with? Are you present to fear? Frustration? Grief? Loss? Be specific and be brutally honest.
  • How can you learn from this?
  • How can you grow?
  • Who can help you through it?

Our greatest victories are won not over circumstances or other people but over ourselves. The battles we face are here to cleanse us, to shape and mold us, to help us grow. They are preparing us for what's next. Keep fighting the good fight, and never give up.

Originally published at High Achievers Network.

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