Tag Archives: self love

An Unlikely Pair: Low Self-esteem and Pride

5 Mar

I’m not sure why these two even hang out.  They don’t appear to have much in common and the way they stick together is nothing short of dysfunctional.  Stick with me while I attempt to describe them and their co-dependent relationship.  

I used to have an opinion that Pride acted like somewhat of a bully convincing Low Self Esteem how much he (Pride)is needed.  Then lately, I decided that maybe it is Low Self-Esteem that is driving the train. 

Their conversation may sound something like this:

Pride:  Look at you Low Self-Esteem, just look at you.  It is clear to me and everyone else that I should step in here and help you out.  You couldn’t defend yourself if your life depended on it.  You are weak and empty and you need me.  If I don’t step out in front of you, then people are gonna see you.  They may laugh or maybe they will end up feeling sorry for you but they definitely won’t choose to be with you.  I’m all you have.

Low Self-esteem:  Well ok, Pride, but make us look good.  Be loud and proud and cause a big scene.  I am pretty sure if you are loud you will be noticed.  If you raise your hands up for emphasis when you speak, it will appear we are really sure of ourselves.  Hold your ground no matter what because we have nothing to lose.  We aren’t worth much value to anyone.  Never have been, probably never will be.

What these two need is an intervention.  They need a third party bystander to step in with some perspective.   I know just what they need.   Enter Spirit.

Spirit:  Hello pride, may I kindly speak with you?  I’d like to point out that while you may believe you are what Low Self Esteem needs, I believe you are making things worse.  In fact, you are not only attempting to cover up Low Self Esteem, you are hurting me in the process.  You see, Low Self Esteem doesn’t need to hide behind Pride to rise up. In fact, you aren’t fooling anyone by making such a ruckus.  Everyone can see right through you to Low Self Esteem.  You are transparent.  I think it is time for you to step aside and let someone else be with Low Self Esteem.  I have been trying for a long time to introduce Low Self Esteem to Self Love.  Take a hike Pride.

Self Love:  Hello Low Self Esteem.  I have been trying to get to you for a very long time.  I am thankful for the Spirit for letting us come together.  I think you are amazing and I can’t wait to see what we can do together to rise up.

Low Self Esteem:  You’ve been waiting to get to me?  But why?  I’m nothing.  Now I am all alone and vulnerable.

Self Love:  This is the perfect time to set Pride aside and focus on you.  Tell me what you need and I am here for you.   We have the Self in common and we will go far together.  And now that Pride is out of the way, your Spirit can be whole again.

Lesson:  Listen to your Spirit.  It is the essence of who you are and knows what you need.  Rid yourself of the all that is not Love.

Undo It

6 Dec

“I want you to undo it.” That’s all I could think to say in the midst of my pain. I knew it was not a fair request. I knew it could not be undone, but it’s all I had left. I was grasping just trying to stay in the moment because I knew what was coming next. It’s the act that always follows me getting hurt. In this act there are three scenes.

Scene 1: Self-hatred. The beating begins. The other person caused the pain but I take the beating. What’s worse is I do the beating. “How could I be so stupid? How did I let this happen? How did I get fooled once again? If I were smart, I would have listened to my gut.” The questions and the self-loathing go on for days. I usually stop about the time my eyes are ready to swell shut from all the crying. It’s then that the last harsh words are internalized, the curtain closes and I wait in anticipation of the next scene.

Scene 2: The lesson. So help me God if I don’t learn something from this pain. I cannot and will not just get hurt. There has to be a lesson in here somewhere. And the meaning-making begins. This part lasts even longer which I guess is a good thing. The lessons are always different and the experience changes with every hurt but I can tell you what happened this time. With the drop of the last tear my head cleared and I heard my own mantra… “This is what it means to be with me.” Here was an opportunity to say it again, the chance to be authentic knowing that every person has the choice to take me or leave me. I began the conversation in my head, gathered my thoughts, my questions, and challenged myself to stay focused. The most genuine and heart felt talks followed. It was the kind of “real” I have always wanted. As time passes and the play continues, I am learning to be a much better communicator. I can articulate my values and my deal-breakers in one breath. You’d be surprised how few people can do this. I can disagree without raising my voice. This is huge. I used to be a class act yeller and I hated it. There were lots of long nights and sore throats in the past, but not anymore. Now I can be bold and ask for what I need. Best of all, because I know myself so well, I can really listen. I don’t have to prepare my next argument while the other person is talking. I get to listen and really try to understand where they are coming from. What I have found is that when I practice empathy, it rewards me with a level of knowing someone that does not come any other way. We talk, we bond and the curtain closes on scene two.

Scene three: Thank you. Without the pain I would not know joy. Without the test, I would not study myself. Without you I would not grow. Without you I would never know the magnitude of true love.

It took a while you know. This play used to only have one scene, and after enough years of beating myself up I figured there must be a scene that followed. There had to be more.
And so as all good stories go, this one too, has a happy ending. I’m grateful for the lessons and grateful for the silver lining of this and every other dark cloud that has hovered over me in this lifetime. I am ready for an encore!

The more….the UNmerrier

11 Nov

I’m so glad you’re reading this. It can only mean one thing, that I had the courage to finish writing it.

It happened again. There I was in a group of people. There were all so nice and we had something in common. There was laughter and friendly chatter and I could not have felt more alone. Why does this keep happening to me?

I tried to fight it with everything I had. I answered questions, I nodded my head, and I even initiated conversations and attempted to tell funny stories. It worked pretty well for a while and then I got quiet. I recoiled back into my own world inside my head where I feel safest. At first I was applauding myself on the accomplished task of socializing. And then I saw the lady I had been talking to, turn to someone else and start a new conversation. Was it me or was there relief in her eyes that I’d stopped talking and acting awkward? I watched the two ladies talk with ease. I laughed on the side when they laughed as if I could relate, but honestly, I don’t even know what they were saying. I was lost inside my head again. Finally I just got up and went to the bathroom hoping to kill more time until we could leave.

I’ve been reflecting on the experience and wondering what why being in a group triggers feelings of loneliness inside me. I know some people that can’t stand to be alone because that is the setting where they feel the loneliest. For me, it is clearly the opposite. I prefer to be alone and it is the group experience that often unnerves me. It’s yet another way that I’m different than other people. Am I really the only one who feels this way?

I really didn’t want to keep writing about this feeling until last week. The universe always has a plan… I just happened to meet someone that said she feels this same way. She wasn’t commiserating with me. I had not shared my feelings with her. But I knew what she was going to say before the words ever came out of her mouth. She said, “There are all these people around me but it’s too much, it’s like the more people that are around me the more I feel…..lonely.” I mouthed it as she said it. I knew she would say it. It was like we were meant to meet. I also knew then I had to finish writing this blog entry for her, for all the others (there must be more), and for myself.

Knowing what I know about Erickson’s stages of psychosocial development and how our childhood experiences can greatly affect our adult life, I went digging. I dug into the childhood memories to see what came up for me and why I felt inadequate in a group of people. I landed on a birthday party of mine from my elementary years. I found myself right back in my back yard getting ready to play a game with all my friends around me when my older brothers showed up. In a matter of minutes all my friends were playing whatever game my brothers had instigated. I was standing there in front of everyone in broad daylight yet I had disappeared. Even on my special day to celebrate me, I wasn’t enough. I know in part it was this moment that changed things for me; one because I remember it so clearly, and two because my eyes well up and my heart hurts every time I recall it.

When I’m in a group of adults, the thoughts sound like this… “I won’t be interesting enough to keep them engaged, someone better is about to come along to entertain them, I’m inadequate.” So guess what I do. I disappear before I can be outshined. I may not get up and leave but I disappear inside my head where I am safe. I find lately, that people don’t sit near me when they have other choices. Actually, it’s been going on for years I’m just recently admitting it. They look my way and choose somewhere else where people are talking and perhaps looking a bit friendlier. I think I am sending off the signal that I am unavailable. In fact, I’m sure of it. I always believed in my head that I was making myself unavailable to be hurt but now I know I am making myself unavailable to connect. Human beings are hard wired to connect. In a sense I am going against nature to protect this little girl inside of me. Something has to give.

I have to believe that while I disappeared on that day, I have had every day since then to show up in the game of life and it is now a choice for me to disappear with no one to blame except for myself. I can’t say I’m looking forward to the work ahead and that I’m not afraid to shush the voices that tell me I’m not enough, but I’m going to try. I want to feel merrier than I do right now.