By: Shiza Nadeem Gujranwala
They say no one makes you feel inferior without your consent, I say different. I just don’t know, maybe it is true but so far from what I’ve observed over months and a few years I am of the opinion that the saying is potentially false.
I’ve thought about this topic for months and months and have procrastinated over putting it in words, mostly because I convinced myself I was too tired to write anything more after a whole day of grinding study of matriculation. A recent incident, and quite a lot more in past, forced me to open my laptop and write about this. Trust me, I don’t usually consider and discuss this particular aspect of life.
Back to the point, self esteem… confidence in one’s worth and abilities or in simpler words, self-confidence. It’s quite a bit of a shock to see that people, especially teenagers are very low on self esteem, and truth be told, even I myself am a victim of this. It happened in 2014, I believe, when I felt the bar of my self-confidence drop. I literally know the feeling of young people who believe they aren’t up to the task assigned to them, think that they’ll mess up or just are sure that they’re not ‘worth’ it. Believe me, there is nothing more as painful as thinking so and feeling yourself downright inferior to everyone.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing modesty, no. Modesty and low self-esteem are literally two different aspects. To be modest is one the best qualities one could possess and it is found in a very few people now, but feeling humiliated does not count as modesty.
Writing this, I’m not even sure if this article is a valid one, but I really want a chance to speak on it. As I said in the very start, I don’t agree that no one can make you feel inferior without your own consent. How? Let’s just assume that you are being constantly told off by someone you don’t know very well, you choose to ignore their words when they’re constantly speaking and bashing you, simply telling you that you’re just not worth what you think you are.
Yet still, there would start a nagging feeling in the back of your mind and you’ll reflect at yourself and your actions to assure yourself that you’re not what they said… this is where the downfall starts. When one starts comparing himself to what others told them, they eventually find themselves unable handle it. It’s a tricky game of the mind, no matter how much one believes in himself, the words that flow like a waterfall from a critic’s mouth gradually do get to them. They start to believe they are just not the person they thought they were.
Now who are the critics? That is where the bitter truth lies. For the critics aren’t strangers, but those close to us. It starts with a relationship so pure, and so trustworthy, that a person cannot help himself and fall for it… parents.
They’re the parents who believe that they criticize their child to be a better person, but constructive criticism deserves quality. What a major difference there is between a parent telling his child to work hard to get a better social status and a parent calling his child lazy and dull. This is what the elders of our society need to understand. The child being told to work hard will definitely try to do so, whether he tries once or a thousand times while the other one will shrug it off saying that his parents always call him sluggish.
The next people to bash our self-confidence are our siblings. A joke is a joke only when it is humorous. I believe my sister wouldn’t be very amused if I call her something that is offensive to her regarding her mental, physical or psychological issues. But if I explain to her nicely the different aspects of a particular part of her life she is lagging in, I trust she will try to make herself better.
And the thread continues to friends, family and relatives and so on. What I’m trying to say is that criticism is what causes a person to lose his belief and faith in his own capabilities and talents, or in some cases their looks and figure over which they have no control, which are purely in the hands of Allah Almighty.
Being low on self-esteem isn’t a really good sign for one’s mental or physical health. Mental illness is a serious matter that arises from problems caused by low self-confidence. Depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders happen when one begins to crave for more and starts to look down on what he is and what he has. Not many people understand this. They are unaware how a simple word can make one unsure of himself, leading towards hunger and craving to be more which finally causes depression. And depression is very hard to tackle, often it leads to suicide.
If we look at it in the light of Islam, depression is seriously haraam. Breaking someone’s heart by your actions and your words is strictly forbidden. So why do so when the consequences are so dangerous for both the victim and the attacker?
This article was a feeble attempt to make people aware of this problem which is ignored in our society. Making fun of others is not ‘cool’, it is downright shameful to cause someone to lose their own respect and confidence and make them unsure of their existence. Please, try to love people for who they are, whether they are your children, parents, siblings, friends, family or strangers. Try to suppress this powerful and deadly weapon, this piece of meat in your mouths that can hurt and destroy a person in mere seconds.