Self Esteem

A sister posted this quote from the O website on another group.

“Parents who neglect to love themselves raise kids who don’t show themselves self-love, either. They don’t treat themselves the way you treat them. They treat themselves the way you treat you.”

This quote opened up a flood of emotions in me.

This was my response to her post:

I think that the single most important thing that we as mothers can do for our children is to give them a quiet sense of self-respect and self-worth. And in order to do that we have to feel that self-respect and self-worth within ourselves.

A few years ago I was sitting with a sister and she quite frankly told me, “You have low self esteem”. “Really?” “Me?” I had never given it any thought before (my self awareness was about a -1 on a scale of 10) but her comment forced me to start looking inward. I began to reflect on my behavior, thoughts, etc. and realized that she was right. But the most painful part of my new awareness was not that I had low self esteem but that I could see it reflected in my children. As you know nothing pains a mother’s heart more than knowing that she may have some how caused harm to her children. Al-Humdulilah.

So I started my own personal program of improving my self-respect and self-worth. How to do it is a big topic in itself but the thing that helped me the most was that I had a sister that believed in me- she saw my worth even though I couldn’t. She stuck with me through all my moments of self-doubt etc. and gave me the encouragement and positive feed back etc. that I wouldn’t give myself. She cared.

Al-Humdulilah I have made some progress on that never-ending road of personal development- my only sadness is that I didn’t have that self awareness when my children were young.- Al-

Humdulilah everything is from Allah (swt) .

So I guess I would like to say to you dear sisters:

If you haven’t started on the road of self discovery you need to begin now…..Just grab a sister and start walking. Do it for yourself, do it for your kids.

Sumayah Guilford

PS: This link has a lot of points to get started:

Here are some identifying characteristics of low self esteem: (from above site)

- Negative self-talk, such as, “I’m not worth other people’s time, so I

shouldn’t ask for help,” “I’m a failure,” or “I’ll never amount to anything.”

- Frequently apologizing, making self-doubting statements, or making

cruel comments about yourself that you wouldn’t make about someone else.

-Focusing on perceived flaws and weaknesses.

-Seeking constant reassurance from others and not feeling better even

with positive feedback.

-Refusing to accept compliments or denying positive comments you get.

-Tending to be a perfectionist who’s afraid of failure, which may

impair work or school performance.

Sumayah Guilford

Sumayah Guilford lives in Maryland and is the mother of three now grown, home-schooled children and three grandchildren. She enjoys reading and inspiring others in the areas of self-development, parenting, and creative activities for kids.

About Marwa Aly
  • Fariha

    JazakaAllah khair for sharing! So true, it’s amazing how much kids can “feed off” from our behavior. Happy/content mom = happy/fulfilled children

  • Khadeejah

    May Alla reward you immensely for your post. I love your frankness. We need that. Could you please briefly share your self-development/self-discovery process?

  • Maliha


    Thank you for sharing…What came to my mind is don’t beat your self up too much in regretting…there’s a reason we are all imperfect, and that’s all part of our journeys’ and our children’s as well. Had Allah willed, we would have all had perfect childhoods and perfect parents…but there’s a reason that imperfection exists in this world (and in all of us) and at the very least we are strengthed by imperfections (especially when we start the hard work of self-discovery, purification, growth…)

    Sometimes I think our children are the successor’s of our struggles…in a very indefinable way, I see how my mom’s struggle to give me what she did not have…has translated into me pushing that boundary for my children and my only hope is not for them to grow up thinking I was perfect, but to know my weaknesses well and to know their own even better and to strive to push that boundary a little further for their own children….

    May Allah grant us….all that is beautiful, nurturing and illuminating. Amin.

  • mountaineermama

    JAK Sr, Sumaya, I benefitted a lot for this post. InshaAllah, a topic like this would make a great seminar.

  • Kelly

    i agree! ma’sha Allah! with it all! your directness is rahma. it’s always rahma when one doesn’t have to guess or read too much between the lines to try to understand another dear sister (and in turn, oneself).

    what u do, putting it out there, what we’re aware of, takes strength and confidence. Alhamdulillah. jazakallahu khairan for taking us/me on your journey to the core of you. i agree, we would love to hear more about you.