When I first saw her, I was impressed by how well together she was: beautiful, poised, gracious, kind, well-spoken woman shining on the stage. What else would you expect from Miss America?
I met Teresa Scalnan, Miss America 2011, during the leadership conference where she was the master of ceremonies. Despite the celebrity status, Teresa is a sweet and down-to-earth girl. We started talking, and during our conversation she shared a little bit of her story.
After winning the beauty pageant, she got married, had a baby and everything was going well, until she found out that her husband started cheating on her. A bit later, she discovered that he was cheating on her while she was pregnant..
I couldn’t believe my ears. Cheating on a woman is just not within my map of the world. But how could someone cheat on Miss America?!
She just smiled and said, “If a man wants to cheat, it doesn’t matter whether his wife is a beauty queen or not. That’s just who he is.”
Then she continued, “He used to make comments that I was only pretty with a makeup on, and was accusing me of being fat.”
Cheating was bad enough. But being called fat, carrying his baby? That was just beyond me. The things I was hearing were absolutely shocking!
Now, I don’t know that man or his reasons and I don’t want to sound judgemental, but his deplorable behaviour was just the lowest of the low.
That girl has gone through some dark chapters in her life. Thankfully, she has divorced, let me just say before being carried away in the emotional rage, “not a nice man”, and has put all the drama behind her.
The wounds weren’t bleeding any more, and I could see in her eyes that those challenges have made her stronger and better. She has rebuilt her self-image, self-esteem, and self-confidence. I was happy to see she was glowing in her power.
I admired her vulnerability, transparency and the ability to forgive. Her ex-husband has lost such a gem, a beautiful girl inside out.
Even beauty queens struggle with self-esteem issues. When it first happened, Teresa was thinking something was wrong with her, that she was not enough. So, she had to go through the journey of transformation.
You have to learn who you are not, often in a painful way, in order to embrace who you truly are.
I could relate to Teresa’s story. In my previous relationship, I experienced myself what it is like to be cheated on. My story wasn’t quite as Miss America’s, but it was pretty painful.
I felt not enough and unworthy. But that experience was a gift in disguise because it helped me realise that my worthiness is not how people see me or think of me, it is how I see myself. I realised that I had to learn to love myself first if I expected anyone else to love me. And by loving myself, I mean, not letting anyone treat me in a humiliating way.
No one can make you feel unworthy unless you let them.
By learning what I didn’t want in relationships, I started creating a vision of what I wanted. That helped me attract and get married to a man of my dreams.
Self-esteem is crucial in life. When you believe you are valuable, and important and good enough, you make better life choices and more conscious decisions.
What are the suggestions to boost your self-esteem?
First and foremost, learn to love yourself. Life is a mirror: it reflects back what we think and believe of ourselves. You have to wake up every morning and look in the mirror feeling proud of the person looking back at you, embracing your beauty and celebrating yourself.
When was the last time did something for yourself? Not something you have to do: duties and expectations in your business, or family obligations. But something you want to do, to pamper yourself? Like a massage, a beauty salon treatment, or a bubble bath?
Do you accept compliments? I was once chatting to a friend of mine, and I said, “I love your new dress. It is gorgeous.” And she replied, “Oh, I got it on sale.” I also complemented her pearl earrings, to which she said, “They are just fake.”
Many people don’t realise that when we deflect a compliment we devalue ourselves. It is not about being humble, it is about being able to appreciate ourselves.
Learn to say “no”. No is a complete sentence. Be assertive enough to say “no” to people, things or activities that don’t add value to you and your life. Very often, we just squander our time on things that detract from our life, only because it is easier to say “yes”.
Don’t worry about offending others, stay firmly in your truth and in your values.
Learn how to do things afraid. The best piece of advice I’ve ever received, was “jump and build your wings on the fly.” A bird learns to fly while being in the air, not in the nest. The best form of education is experience. Think about it.
We never seem to be completely prepared or ready to take a plunge into the unknown. We’ll never be prepared enough, we’ll never feel 100% ready, we’ll never be comfortable enough; there is always going to be something.
You just have to jump. What would happen if you jumped and it didn’t work out? What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Would you die?
There are three possible outcomes when things go wrong:
1. You would quit; you stop doing that
2. You would go back; you would digress and never do it again.
3. You would adapt. You would think, “I got this wrong, but what do I have to do now differently to make it right?”
I suggest you enter into an experiment. This approach is incredible in helping you to foster your self-belief.
When you jump, it is uncomfortable, it is scary and you might hurt yourself. But that’s how you learn and become more confident.
Be gentle with yourself when you fail. Understand: that’s an inevitable part of the growth process. Mistakes and failures are the agents of progress. Remember, Edison? He said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Don’t be alarmed by failure. Be comfortable with failure.
Be mindful of your self-talk. Any kind of achievement is a psychological game, it is not about the outside challenge. Mostly people quit not because of what happened to them but because of what happened in them.
You need to learn to control your inner voice. You’ve got to be willing to step outside of yourself and ask, “Who is running the show between my ears? Who is running my game?”
There is a voice inside of you that tells you “no you can’t do it!” and there is another voice that tells you “yes you can!” Which voice are you going to listen to? The choice is yours.
Self-esteem is not only your innate sense of self-worth. It is also having confidence in your ability to think, to cope with life challenges, to be resilient to difficulties, and a recognition that you are worthy of happiness and success.
“Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.” ― Shannon L. Alder
By the way, Teresa Scalnan gave me permission to write an article featuring her story. She is such an amazing soul.