I asked my last GF (who was 40 and whip smart and accomplished and a 6-7 in looks without make-up), what percentage of her self-esteem came from her looks. She said, “100%.”
When I’m in a healthy state, connected to God and to people around me and working the 12 Steps every day, I’m solid with my self-esteem. It does not vary. It does not need external validation. I’m glad to be alive and contributing. When I fall into my default unhealthy state, I think I get 20% of my self-esteem from my looks, and 80% from my verbal ability. I get 0% of my self-esteem from the being the biggest loser at almost any shul.
My FFB (Orthodox) friend: “So you converted to the bottom of the totem pole? Your Jewish self esteem AMONGST Jews is close to zero, but AMONGST goyim is high. You wear your kippah and Tzitzit with pride.”
My secular Jewish friend: “The question worth asking yourself, is not knowing what you know now would you convert to Judaism, but in your case had you been anywhere but the United States (and let’s face it, that means for someone born in Australia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Great Britain with the possibility of South Africa pre ANC governance) would you have converted to Judaism.
I believe you needed a sufficiently multicultural environment to feel comfortable converting to Orthodox Judaism. If this is true, it is ironic since only by living in the type of society you deplore would you have considered conversion.”