I cannot recall when I began to live my life with self-esteem. Was it in high school? I was almost a straight A student and in the honor roll. Perhaps when I participated in my first beauty pageant at 17 years of age. I made it to princess of the court. Although these helped to increase my self-assurance, when I won the Miss El Salvador L.A. 1993 beauty pageant, it was a big turning point in my life. It was the first time I actually won the top prize. I was 19 years old.
As a child, I was far from confident. I was shy and scared to be called out in class. I remember being mainly a follower and afraid to take lead on anything. My only companion was my little brother who I would torment at times. The rest of the people in my life were older and had other interests, thus I took on climbing trees, playing jump rope, and helping dad heard cattle and sow seeds of corn, watermelon, and others.
It was in high school that I became a bit gutsier. It was my goal to push myself intentionally to get out of my comfort zone. It took years and a lot of trial and error; a lot of looking ridiculous in front of others; a lot of people talking behind my back.
To me, self-esteem is about self-regard and respect for oneself. It means treating yourself kindly and living a healthy life in every way. I can speak for myself and say that I love to dress up and represent my God, myself, my place of work, my family, and my community in the best possible way. I try to give the best of me to everything I do. My self-esteem allows me to be proud of what I am and how I got to be who I am. I have faith in myself and this allows me to be enthusiastic about new challenges and opportunities.
I know my worth. People often seek my advice, participation, expertise, etc. allowing me to humbly accept the abilities that have been ingrained in me for years. This is called experience. Experience comes from practice. I love to read, write, and learn – we never should stop learning. This is how we become better and thus attract good people and opportunities into our lives.
All I know is that when I walk into a room, I feel privileged to be in that space; but what people see, is a woman holding her chin up high, with a great smile, dressed impeccably chic, awesome shoes, and with an air of self-assurance.
Self-esteem is a feeling, a state of mind, and a healthy mental attribute. I encourage you to strive to be proud of yourself and to make the necessary changes in your life to have a strong self-esteem and become a man or woman of dignity.