After my research yesterday, I decided that today it was time to begin working on my self-esteem.
I started out by listening to the first two hours of Jack Canfield’s How to Build High Self-Esteem on my commute to and from college.
There was a lot of good stuff in there, about stopping negative self talk and uncovering your authentic self, steps towards forgiving those that have hurt us, and using positive imagery to change our view of our selves, among other stuff.
It was inspiring, but it brought up a lot of pain and sadness. I started to feel a little overwhelmed, and that my problems run too deep for me to deal with alone. I didn’t know where to start.
When I got home, I needed a change of pace. I watched Penn and Teller Bullshit: Self Esteem. It was the complete opposite to Canfield’s offering on self-esteem. Basically, they poked fun at the whole industry of self-esteem building, and highlighted how it is creating a society of lazy, entitled narcissists. Rather than put in the hard work recquired to be a worthwhile member of society, it showed people using affirmations and teaching their children that they are special no matter how little effort thay apply, and that the universe will provide everything they need, and they are perfect just the way they are! According to Penn and Teller, it was all bullshit. It cheered me a little after the heaviness of Canfield.
Obviously, the truth lies somewhere between the two.
We do need to forgive and let go; no good can come of carrying around hurt. And changing our beliefs alone won’t cut it; we still need to do good in the world to earn our self worth. I think what Penn and Teller missed is that so many people with low self esteem don’t give themselves credit for the good that they do do, and they are unable to acknowledge the good that is within them. When we can do that, then we will also respect ourselves enough to ensure our needs are being met. We tend to neglect ourselves, or focus on the care of others when we ourselves feel unworthy.
It’s left me a little confused at how to progress though; I wonder if I am indulging my flaws too much, giving them too much weight. I know I’m not crazy. But am I ok? I know I’m a good person. But I know my needs aren’t being met…though I don’t know what they truly are. And if I tell myself that I’m normal and I can control myself, am I neglecting issues that really need attention?
Am I just a lazy, self-indulgent little girl who is driving herself crazy?
I wish I could fast forward to clarity.