Self-esteem does not reach completeness in one perfect moment. Every day, new challenges emerge from nowhere and many of these are not always within a person’s control. This makes self-esteem building an endless effort.
As building people’s healthy concept of themselves is a core task in community organizing, it would be helpful for community organizers or any other person involved in the same effort, to identify the “humps on the road.”
These are the “humps on the road”:
a) The class divide
Even though how much we complain against that class divide that we see and feel every day, the fact remains that the class divide is not just seen in the poverty map of society but is also felt in the non-verbal signals people on either side of the fence knowingly or unknowingly manifest every day.
As a community organizer, it would be helpful to keep in mind that when analyzing the poverty situation, we should stress in our training designs the reality of “change” as a concept. The concept of change is the ray of hope in any community organizing activity – i.e. To change the course of things is to radically believe that nothing is permanent - that the class divide is a social construction of reality.
Self-esteem building activities should seek to reverse the “class determinism “that people in poverty are very vulnerable to.
b) The Gender Divide
The concept of Gender Equality is a prevailing idea now but equality as a term should be refined. Sometimes there is a discourse on Gender Equality that promotes competition between men and women. Promoting a sense of competition is not humane and should be avoided. The idea of a dialogue among men and women is the best attitude to achieve Gender Equality.
When the concept of Gender Equality becomes clear to both men and women, it is as if a foreign body that makes the mind and heart ill gets removed.
There are more humps on the road but these two “humps” stay at the core of people’s feelings and therefore should be dealt with individually to reach that most desired sense of self-worth.