Today, I got off a call with a 40-something woman who said she struggled with low self esteem. In both of her long relationships, the men would criticize her and put her down.  If she wanted to try going on a vegan diet, her partner would ask, “well, that’s a dumb idea – how are we going to eat dinner together?” She would give up her aspiration then and there. She was also rising the ranks in military, but would stop at a certain level, avoiding becoming a leader. She wondered, “Who am I to have such a rank or responsibility?” She knew she was sabotaging her success in life.

Her son started saying similar things to her – making fun of her, criticizing her. Of course, he stopped once she stopped saying negative things about herself, and she began correcting his behavior. However, he still senses and feels her low self worth and insecurity, and has been conditioned to play on it. What kind of man will he turn out to be? Will he respect women – feel that they are capable, worthy…. goddesses? Also, when his own mother has such low self esteem, what does that do to his own? 

Each thing she did for herself and her growth, she felt limited. Interestingly, she has been struggling with financial instability, playing small, inability to build a career, or attract a loving partner who adores and respects her. She’s guarded, insecure, afraid.

She doesn’t realize that she’s a beautiful, unlimited, omnipotent goddess, hiding in her own shadows.

She’s completely capable of being a leader at work, in her home and a role model for her son.

At the moment, though, her son is left with nothing to grapple with – no foundation or substance. He doesn’t know what love is, because his mother doesn’t love or cherish herself.

What happens when a woman loves herself?

Her radiance and wisdom begins to shine. She is overflowing with love and health. She makes choices for herself and her family that come from a deep place of pleasure, wisdom, relaxation and compassion. She honors herself, knowing that there’s nothing inherently wrong with her – she’s simply human, doing her best. She communicates with love and compassion, and her thoughts are positive and self-affirming. She teaches the people around her how to love her – as she does that to herself. Her presence is non-judgmental and healing – you feel safe and seen around her. She has an innate confidence that puts you at ease, and is able to be present and mindful.

She models what healthy love looks and feels like to her kids.

Her children become confident, self loving, knowing that they are innately good, loving, kind individuals, capable of achieving anything. They respect themselves and others. They learn about compassion, setting healthy boundaries and expressing their feelings and truth. 

They are allowed to individuate in a healthy way, as their parent doesn’t put undue responsibility or stress on them (stemming from their own insecurity or self doubt), or pass their trauma on their children (which so many of us are capable of!).

These children can shine in their authenticity and radiance.

The opposite happens when a parent doesn’t heal her own lack of self love. Kids become self loathing, nihilistic, suicidal, distracted, enter into toxic relationships or turn to various addictions. 

It’s unfortunate that *so* many of women struggle with low self esteem and self worth.

Thoughts of ‘not enoughness’ abound in our collective psyche, and girls struggle with low self worth from a young age.

Today, I was reading the stats (source – Heart of Leadership):

  • 7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with family and friends. – Real Girls, Real Pressure: National Report on the State of Self-Esteem, Dove Self-Esteem Fund
  • 74% of girls say they are under pressure to please everyone (Girls Inc, The Supergirl Dilemma)
  • 98% of girls feel there is an immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way (National Report on Self Esteem)
  • 92% of teen girls would like to change something about the way they look, with body weight ranking the highest. (Dove campaign)
  • 90% of eating disorders are found in girls (National Association for Self Esteem)
  • 1 in 4 girls today fall into a clinical diagnosis – depression, eating disorders, cutting, and other mental/emotional disorders.  On top of these, many more report being constantly anxious, sleep deprived, and under significant pressure. (The Triple Bind, Steven Hinshaw)
  • By age thirteen, 53% of American girls age 13 are “unhappy with their bodies.”  This grows to…
  • 78% by the time girls reach seventeen. (National Institute on Media and the Family)

This is SAD, DEVASTATING and HEARTBREAKING. 

The other day, I saw a beautiful teenage girl with cuts all over her wrist. I just wanted to hug her, cherish her. But I refrained, and I just sent her loving energy.

We, as women, as mothers especially, must begin to free ourselves from this cycle, so that we can free our daughters and sons, too.

This is imperative, otherwise the #metoo movement is useless if we are continuing to impart the same cycle of suffering we grew up with.

We must begin a self love revolution.

This is not something that can be faked through positive thinking or affirmations. Just shifting your thoughts won’t do it (although that’s a HUGE start!).

You need to learn how to to REALLY love yourself as you would your child or your beloved. How you wanted your parents to love you. See yourself as your soulmate.

This takes discipline and commitment – and support from other women (aka a sisterhood) AND mentorship to break through this deeply ingrained conditioning.

Each time you begin to feel unworthy or think negative thoughts about yourself – quickly bring awareness, self love and self forgiveness. Allow yourself to feel your emotions, and become assertive in setting your boundaries.

Invest in your personal growth, self awareness and learning about embracing your feminine side. Self love is a spiritual path – one of self-reclamation and healing. You will learn so much in the process.

Remember your innate goodness, wisdom and strength – the one that’s been passed down to you, through your matriarchal lineage. You are stronger and wiser than you think! 

Think outside of the mass conditioning, marketing, job market and the rat race – that’s completely man made and meaningless. 

Yes, your financial success or career matter. But what really matters is your love for yourself, and how you’ve consciously designed your life around this love.

This is what our children need.

Your sons, daughters and grandchildren will thank you.


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