Growing up, many natural redheads face bullying and feel outcasted amongst a sea of blondes and brunettes. Years later, the tables turn when the bullies want to be redheads and endlessly search drugstore aisles for the perfect red hair. But, the question is: how does a young redhead feel empowered about her unique hair & skin, instead of rejected?
Psychotherapist and author Harper West says to not focus on high self-esteem, but on self acceptance. “Stop working on improving your self-esteem. Instead, aim for true self-acceptance. Too many people base their self-esteem on competent performance of tasks as judged by the outside world and then define themselves based on these opinions and reactions of others.”
West writes in her book “Pack Leader Psychology” that low self-worth drives the need to seek external approval: “The more parts of ourselves we reject, the more important it is to feel accepted.”
“I believe we should stop emphasizing self-esteem because it is often taken to mean other-esteem. Yet a person who is overly concerned with the external judgments of others or who values measures of success based on competence often has very low self-acceptance,” says West. “For example, narcissists say they have very high self-esteem. Yet they are on an endless search for approval and actually have very low feelings of worth and self-acceptance. This is what leads them to be attention-seeking, to act superior, and to brag.”
The goal should always be to accept every quality about yourself: your red hair, light skin, freckles and the fact that you may not be able to tan ever. They are qualities that are beautiful and unique.
West writes, “Intrinsic self-acceptance, free from the fear of judgment of others, will bring true inner confidence that is not dependent on the opinions of others. Pursuing the approval of others leaves one lacking in confidence, because your self-esteem will always be at the mercy of others — a very weak position to put yourself in.”
Once you accept who you are, others will love it too. Once you are perceived as one who has self-acceptance and confidence, you’ll hear compliments like, “Wow. I want to be a redhead. It’s so cool.” Now that is pretty incredible. Rock it like a Redhead!
Photo Credit: Delphine Chanet