Neurodiversity and self esteem; how to take your power back?
I have noticed in various conversations with my clients that many of them confuse the notions of self-confidence and self-esteem.
Self-confidence is about being aware of our inner abilities and resources. Do I feel capable?
Self-esteem reflects the perception I have of myself; the image I have of myself, the value I attribute to myself, the evaluation I make of myself.
When one's self-esteem is low, it may be expressed through different ways such as:
People pleasing or seeking external validation,
Being susceptible to criticism,
Giving more weight to the opinion of others than to one's own,
Finding that what one does is never good enough
Difficulty in recognising and expressing one's needs
Your successes don't count (it's thanks to others, to luck or it wasn't much) but failures are your fault
Seeing your faults or weaknesses and very little of your qualities
Doubting who you really are
Avoiding mistakes at all costs
Easily feel fear, anxiety, discouragement
Doubting one's choices
Comparing oneself to others in a negative way
Feeling sad or melancholy
While I may be confident and feel capable of being in a healthy relationship, having more money, more time, more freedom... When it comes to assessing whether I deserve to access all this, it becomes another story. Do I feel deeply worthy of a 5k, 10k salary...? Of unconditional love? Am I enough?
In energetics, the law of attraction is activated by the law of deservingness: in short, I attract to me what I think I deserve because of the value I unconsciously attribute to myself.
The perception we have of ourselves, our self-esteem, is built during childhood and continues to evolve throughout our lives according to our experiences.
It is influenced by our traumas, beliefs, environment, education, personality, physical and intellectual capacities, etc...
Neuro-atypical individuals (gifted, Highly sensitive, dyslexics, etc.), who represent about 20% of the population according to the NGO Dyslexia and Literacy International, whether they are aware of it or not, grow up with a different way of functioning from "neurotypical individuals", i.e. 80% of the population. This adds an extra challenge when it comes to identity and self-esteem.
Neuro-atypicals/ neurodivergents are far too diverse a population to be lumped together under one label. They have, of course, the individual differences of the rest of humanity in terms of temperament, personality, size and shape, life experience, socio-economic class, gender, ethnicity, and so on.
But they also differ from "norms of functioning" as well as from each other because of the complexity of the functioning of their minds. This diversity may be one of the main reasons why it is difficult for them to recognise their own value and to understand the extent of their talents.
If we were to isolate each of the mental abilities considered 'unusual' (e.g. photographic memory, ability to visualise clearly, speed reading, hypersensitivity, facility in learning languages, metaphorical thinking and speaking etc), we would see very different patterns in different neuro-atypical individuals, even though IQ tests, in some cases, might indicate important similarities.
Because of these varied patterns, each 'neuro-atypical' individual is likely to feel very different from another neuro-atypical, and so the feeling of not fitting into any box is accentuated, and so the need to 'compensate' for being 'good enough' is increased.
The neuro-atypical will then tend to trivialise what comes easily to them, their eccentricities and gifts, whereas they will attach great importance to things that are more difficult for them to achieve but that others do easily. All the more so if these things call for a certain cultural and social recognition.
Once again, we highlight the importance of appreciating one's uniqueness, one's authenticity to unlock an access to fulfillment. Each individual, whether neuro-atypical or not, carries with them particularities, exceptions, which they must learn to welcome and love in order to grant themselves the feeling of legitimacy that they'll need to reach self-actualization.
Tips to take your power back when you have low self-esteem:
- Identify and accept your particularities in order to transform them into talents. "Turn your quirks into gifts". Reveal your strengths, whatever they may be, and allow yourself to build on them. Your success should not be a matter of hardship but a source of energy.
- Become aware of your inner dialogue. What are you really telling yourself? Pay attention to the words you use when you talk about yourself.
- Question your vision, what do you really want and why?
- Practice self-compassion. Learn to treat yourself as you would a friend. Guilt, shame, fear, are very low vibration emotions that lower your vibrational frequency. Through courage and acceptance, you have the power to transform them into much higher energy vibrations.
- Reframe your childhood beliefs. Heal the wounds of the past.
- Surround yourself with positive relationships that allow you to evolve in a high vibrational frequency environment by being unapologetically yourself.
- Connect with your body, learn to listen to it fully. It will help you embody your own truth.
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