Why do women struggle so much in our society when it comes to feeling confident and having a high self-esteem? We are told that women’s identities can be fragile and conflicted. Some women may feel they are worthless at home and at work. Women may experience ambivalence over wanting to take on a feminine or masculine role and experience this ping pong effect. Some days women may feel gentle, caring, and feminine. Yet, the next day they may assert themselves in a form of empowerment and assertiveness.
This power struggle inside women begins in adolescence. In a study dating back to 1991, The American Association of University women found that, “Girls lose their self-esteem on their way to adolescence.” When a girl begins to date and have a new relationship with a man, she may choose to lose her voice of opinion and assertiveness. Many girls become powerless, submissive and quiet in order to attract a male. Girls choose this approach of “being submissive” because they think that boys want them to act this way.
Another study had proven that girls appear to be more anxious about their appearance than boys. Research also showed that boys and girls self-esteem in terms of academic achievements are equivalent. However, girls were rated higher in terms of self-esteem when it comes to morals and ethics in comparison to boys.
When girls and boys are supported by their parents, teachers and peers then their self-esteem and confidence rise. Without a support system we may observe a decline in how girls may feel about themselves.
Even though it is the 21st century in America, women still struggle with their sense of identity when it comes to choosing masculine or feminine characteristics. Women tend to possess both traits and find themselves searching for a sense of control and balance in their personality choices. According to psychologist Jean Twenge, girls and women tend to conclude that they have flawed “self-concept” and negative expectations due to conflicts in their relationships or life achievements. These internal issues can lead to women feeling unworthy and negative about their future endeavors.
Strategies to build confidence and self-esteem may include:
- Finding positive, supportive and encouraging friends.
- Rid yourself of toxic and unhealthy relationships.
- Find a female mentor who guides you in your personal and professional life.
- Join a club/women’s group that is stimulating and interesting to you.
- Talk to a counselor who can help you deal with some of the emotional distress in your life.
- Have a hobby that is fulfilling.
- Change your purpose or goals to help build your confidence and self-esteem.
- Read inspirational books/articles that can guide you.
- Meditate or take a yoga/exercise class that will help with depression and chaos.
- Self-talk – use positive affirmations with yourself each day.
- Be cautious of social media and false expectations.