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GIVE IT UP
Every time I hear someone talking about their self esteem or some one else’s self esteem, I just want to roll my eyes. Usually, it’s a "profound" and "insightful" statement like, he, she, or I have low self esteem. I just want to say, "What does that mean?" I have become so cynical about the phrase, I am also tempted to add, "Who cares?"
Self esteem, particularly low self esteem, has to rank as one of the top ten psychobabble phrases, right next to "I have a right to my feelings." Just for the record, there’s no such thing as a right to your feelings. You simply have feelings and they come and go and change very rapidly. It’s how you know you are alive. And, oddly enough, most of the time when people are proclaiming their right to a feeling, it’s not a feeling at all, but a very negative judgement. I FEEL (actually I judge) you’re a jerk. Guess what? You don’t have a right to judge anyone. You are certainly free to judge, but that’s about it.
Unfortunately, there’s no good information or clues in the phrase, low self esteem, as to what’s really going on. Usually what’s going on is my entire thought process about myself is totally negative, and I am totally unwilling to change the thought process. Yes, unwilling. I am unwilling to even try on for size a positive, or better, loving statement about myself. To lump all that into low self esteem is like saying my toilet is clogged and won’t flush.
"Have you tried a plunger?"
"Well, no, I just figured I needed a plumber."
" TRY A PLUNGER. Pour buckets of water into that sucker. ‘Just’ MAKE THE SH-T GO DOWN."
"Just make it go down?"
"Yes, use your power of intention, for crying out loud, to flush your toilet!"
Won’t Wayne Dyer be impressed?
When I hear people blaming their low self esteem, it says to me that they think they need someone or something outside themselves, perhaps a psychological plumber, to flush away the poopy feelings. Or a series of accomplishments, a streak of good luck, some success, when all one has to do really is line up with one’s innate worth or greatness which has nothing to do with accomplishments, successes, or failures.
To tell you that I have low self esteem is a tasteless and clueless explanation of the inexplicable, that as a perfect creature of the universe, I experience myself as poop or worthless.
So seriously, can we just give it up? This phrase. This nebulous no meaning phrase. Let’s just toss it. It has no value. It provides us with no information, no light for the end of the tunnel.
You might be wondering what got into me. Well, I sometimes get passionate like this. It’s great to write this way on hubpages. My Dad used to tell me that I was talking to hear myself talk. I wish I would have had enough presence of mind to respond with, "Of course, Dad. We all talk to hear ourselves talk, including you." But I wanted to save my teeth! No, my Dad wasn’t abusive. It was just standard procedure in those days to slap your kids when they got smart. Thank God, we’ve stopped that practice. And isn’t that a cool phrase? Presence of mind. Could actually re-spell that word--PRESENTS of mind. And what about the other phrase, "Don’t get smart with me." Isn’t that an interesting expression?
As I was saying, sometimes I get very passionate. Once, someone accused me of enjoying making people feel uncomfortable. I’m not sure that’s what it is. I am a teacher at heart, and I do enjoy saying whatever it takes to get people to THINK. And I want all of us to start thinking about this overused phrase, self esteem or low self esteem, or even high self esteem.
As alluded to already, self esteem , almost always points to one’s performance, one’s accomplishments or failures. For example, "I understand if you can just land a decent job, it will really help your self esteem....If she can just get rid of the acne, it will be a big boost to her self esteem....I know once he starts hitting the ball, his self esteem is going to soar....I know she can do better than C’s. I think it’s just a case of low self esteem.....I’ve always had low self esteem. I don’t think I’m attractive, in fact I think I’m fat and ugly...."
And when I say, but you’re not fat and ugly, you insist that you are. And when I confront you, all you can say, "I told you, I have low self esteem."
What I would like to invite people to consider that what is really lacking in the above statements is not self esteem, but self worth . And it’s beyond semantics. Self worth has to do with BEING CONSCIOUS of my innate value and worth as a human being. It’s not about my good or bad behavior nor my accomplishments or failures. It’s coming to grips with one of the greatest mysteries of all times. I am perfect, you are perfect, we are all perfect just the way we are.
No accomplishment or success can change your intrinsic divine value. No amount of earning power will add one smidgen to your self worth. My weight, waste size, figure has nothing to do with my self worth. Successes and failures are all OUTSIDE my self.
And absolutely not, there is nothing wrong with accomplishments and successes, and there’s nothing wrong with failures either. In fact, baseball requires that you fail seventy percent of the time in order to have that prized batting average of three hundred. My grades, the kind of car I drive, none of that will add to my self worth. Accomplishments and successes may leave me feeling really wonderful. Awesome! But that wonderful feeling that comes with success is fleeting, and I am soon looking that existential question in the eye: "Is this it? Is this all there is?" At the end of the day, my wonderful feelings of accomplishment and success can disappear in a heart beat, but what I can always rely upon is my self worth. It is always there.
When I can finally let go of esteem and get connected to my self worth, when I finally really get it, that I am worthy not because of my accomplishments, nor am I worthless because of my failures, but I am worthy because I am a human being, a creature of God, a small but unique and important speck in the vast universe, when I finally get it, I can begin to experience the most wonderful experience of all, perhaps even beyond orgasm! SELF ACCEPTANCE.
What exactly is self acceptance? It’s not complicated, really. It is what is says it is. I ACCEPT MYSELF which includes all the varied parts of myself. I accept myself whether or not my best foot is forward or secretly hiding gum, dog poop, and whatever else my best foot may have stepped in or on that day.
Self acceptance is very much like the movie Sibyl. By the end of the movie, Sibyl had learned to accept or integrate "personalities" that had been split off from her normal consciousness. In Sibyl’s case, the dissociative process, the creation of multiple personalities, served as a way to survive severe abuse. The integration of her multiple personalities was a form of self acceptance.
Likewise, we have multiple parts of ourselves, many of which we do not like or reject or we imagine that others do not like or reject. On any given day, we may try desperately to put our best foot forward in an attempt to push to the background, out of sight, those parts of ourselves that are not our best or to our liking.. But then sometimes, we just don’t have the energy to put our best foot forward, so we are just ourselves, and ironically, often people will tell us they like us best that way! And yes, sometimes, some of us or many of us, have very annoying parts of ourselves, and when our best foot forward is not out there running interference, people may not like us.
But the bottom line is this. When I keep disliking who I think I am, I become disconnected and split up into many parts, most of which I judge to be bad, evil, unattractive, unlovable, and unworthy. I am far from self acceptance at that point. The term we have come to use to describe this place is low self esteem, and we think we can move out of this place by accomplishments and successes. But it doesn’t work because it is not about esteem. It is about worth. It is about self acceptance.
How do I get to a place of self acceptance or how do I practice self acceptance? Well, I can offer you some suggestions, but ultimately, you need to develop your own personal plan. I can tell you for sure how you will know that you are self accepting.
When you are self accepting, you suddenly have the energy to be the person you are, and you suddenly have the energy to go after your dreams, and you suddenly have the energy to step up to the plate one hundred per cent of the time, knowing full well, that you will, seventy percent of the time, look smack in the face at what most people call failure. But it’s no longer failure to you. Those strike outs, ground outs, fly outs, and throw outs, are all part of the perfection of who you are.
If you don’t know baseball, you might not know what the heck I’m talking about, so check out the blog, BASEBALL GETS IT.
The simplest way to practice self acceptance is to stand in front of a mirror when you get up in the morning and when you go to bed at night, and it’s even better if you stand naked. Check yourself out completely and say outloud, "I love you, just the way you are." YES!
Check out the link for the Poem, I Love Myself Just The Way I am
And check out the video. The poem is put to music.
Perhaps the biggest clue to our country being totally disconnected from our self worth is our continued willingness to be offended by people who do not get us and our way of life. When you have self worth, you, like the rest of the universe, suffer the pain of rejection, but you don't go to war over it. Not only do we go to war, but we sacrifice our children to the gods. We do not value their lives. They are expendable. We feel so empty on the inside, we are so disconnected from the mystery of who we are, that we need to go outside and attack and kill other people. Well, no, we are not attacking them. We are sending our children to attack them. And we don't even get it when it doesn't work. We have no humility and no shame. We have no self worth, no self acceptance. We just keep fighting.
I never know quite what to make of videos demonstrating a Tai Chi master projecting his or her energy. But as one person in the video points out, we never really experience first hand or consciously the energy of the sun holding the earth in its orbit. Yet we all believe it as fact. So check out the video below.
Chi and chi energy makes sense to me. I've experienced "my" energy dramaticallly impacting people around me. So it makes sense to me that the energy inside all of us, the energy connected to our self worth, the energy that flows out of our alignment with our source, as undetectable as it might be, is nevertheless very powerful. Perhaps if we began to practice self worth as individuals and as a country, no one would be able to attack us. We'd be like an entire nation of Tai Chi Masters. Hey, nothing else has worked! And it costs NOTHING.. Well, okay, so it does cost humility. Yea, definitely. A small price for peace.