I asked a close friend yesterday what advice she would give a young woman who was just starting out. This prompted a discussion between us about the problem of self esteem many women face at various stages of their lives.
My friend grew pensive and said, “Think about the qualities you admire in people. Cultivate these in yourself a step at a time. Make decisions that will affirm these qualities. If you are afraid, proceed anyway. Expand your horizons gradually. Try new things. Travel. As you exercise the qualities you admire in others, you will make decisions which give you opportunities to grow. After a time you will have less fear about trying new things.
“Don’t apologize for being as smart as you are. If you find yourself pretending that you are less intelligent than you are in order to fit in with a group, find different friends. Respect your intelligence. The more curious you become and the more you listen to your internal guidance, the more interesting your life will be. Eventually you may find you have become one of those women you admired when you were younger and you will acquire self esteem and happiness along the way.”