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Self Perception: A Misconception.

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Falling rain
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0 posted 08-22-2011 03:04 PM       View Profile for Falling rain   Email Falling rain   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Falling rain's Home Page   View IP for Falling rain

Epiphany by Zachary Booker-Scott

  "For those who don't know me very well, I have self esteem issues. My depression might play a role in that, but I know that I've felt this way for way too long. I've felt like ____ because I always place myself on an imaginary scale, compare myself to others, and only to find out I fall short of the standard. I use to do it to keep myself from getting big headed. Growing to a point where instead of keeping me in check, it has now tore my self esteem to shreds.

I feel horrible about myself. I've spent years weaving up tales and excuses to show people how worthless I am. Maybe it was a way to show them that I'm not that great. (I guess I have a fear of pedestals.)
Either way, I realized how stupid of me it was to do that.

  Sure, I have PLENTY of flaws to go around. I know I'm not perfect. All I know is that I'm the perfect kind of human being because I realize all my flaws and screw ups. I know not to expect too much of myself, but I shouldn't look at myself in a degrading way . It would be best if I respected myself a little. Let myself make mistakes and not regret making them. I know I'm not a perfect ten when it comes to looks, but I shouldn't let my Quasimodo appearance effect me. I have a great personality and an honest heart that is going to make mistakes.  

  In this superficial world it is so easy to overlook what we really have. We all have belittled ourselves into thinking we are ugly, horrible, worthless, pitiful people... When, honestly, we are all beautiful in our own messed up way. We are human. We are all bound to make mistakes, hurt people (or ourselves), and feel guilty about it. We have to learn to forgive ourselves. Without doing this; time and time again we will blame ourselves for all the horrible things we do. All of our dark emotions will eat us alive.

I'm not perfect; I know that I'm messed up. As long as I forgive and learn to love myself.. Everything will fall into place.. I just know it will..

Somehow I know I'm going to be okay.

You'll be okay too."

   I wrote this due to an epiphany I had not too long ago. The problem is that this idea I've had - although not uncommon - is very hard to put into practice. Recently, I find myself catching my negative thoughts and trying to contort them into a beneficial thought. I also realized that it can get hard to try and contort those thoughts. I just felt like sharing this. Comments are always welcome.

Bob K
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1 posted 02-01-2012 02:28 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Zach,

         Havenít seen you about in quite a while.  I was browsing and ran across this a few minutes ago.  I realized that I hadnít seen it before, and thought Iíd like to take a shot at a response.

     I think about the same sort of things from time to time.

     I wonder if there isnít a bit of a language problem involved sometimes when we start talking about ďhavingĒ self esteem, as though it were a pair of  stylish shoes that sometimes were wearing, and sometimes weíd inexplicably left at home.  Today, Iím going barefoot.  I donít know why I left my self esteem at home, usually I put it on right after I slip into my socks, but today for some reason I decided to wear only one sock, and no self-esteem at all.  I have no idea why.

     Thatís the sort of puzzle we seem to be creating for ourselves when we talking about ďhavingĒ self esteem, as though it were a possession.  

     Really, I donít think self-esteem is a possession at all.  You donít have it.  Nobody gives it to you.  

     Thinking about self-esteem that way seems to make people feel puzzled and powerless, and they tend to wonder how come their self esteem is low, as though it were oil or gasoline.  

     If weíre going to talk about it, I think it makes a lot more sense to talk about self-esteem as something we ďdo.Ē  Itís an activity, like walking or breathing or eating, and when I say Iím not feeling very good about myself, that my ďself-esteemĒ is low, it may be more helpful to begin wondering how I might actually go about esteeming myself.  

     Being difficult at times, and having little practice at asking that question about myself, itís possible that I find the question makes no sense at all when I ask it about myself.  That is often the case, especially because Iím out of practice, but more particularly because the way Iím used to thinking about the question is so different.  Iím not used to thinking about the question as something that is under my own control.  Iím used to thinking about the question more as a matter of fault ó whatís wrong with me, in other words, that I feel bad so much of the time?

     Basically, nothing.  I simply donít understand that there are things that I can do that I might admirable, and that I can practice doing them and noticing how I feel when I put a little time in on them.  I can talk those things over with people I admire and learn how to do them better.  And that these are skills that I can build up, and which I can share with other people as well.  We can practice being pleased with how well we are doing and we can practice learning how to pass the skills on.  For me, a lot of these skills have to do with altruism and service, but I donít presume to tell you where the sources of your self esteem might lie.

     The question might be open to exploration if you ask yourself what qualities you esteem in other people, and then if you try to get some support in trying to learn to do some of the things that you admire in these other people.

     You might also need to do some thinking about the sorts of ways you admire other people going about learning new and important skills like these.  And you might think about the sorts of conversations youíll want to have to make the process as much of a pleasure as it could be, instead of turning it into work.  Think of how much fun building some real self-esteem could be as you bring your playfulness and creativity to bear on it.

     I have to say that Iím sorry that it took me so long to find your question, and so long to respond to it, but that Iíd be happy to continue the discussion if you or anybody else has an interest in the subject.

My best,  Bob Kaven
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