Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Self Esteem

I have always thought that self esteem comes from what I accomplish, the good things that I do, and low self esteem is a result of failures and not doing what I think I should do. HOWEVER, I have recently learned this is not the case. Healthy self esteem comes from the fact of just being alive and making my way through life like everyone else! I'm learning this new idea in a book, "Self Esteem," by Matthew McCay. I have only scratched the surface of this book but it is having a profound effect in my life. It is like I have gone through a shift in consciousness and I am feeling better about my life more then I have in a very long time. It is this shift that has helped enable my attitude change about getting older (as I talked about in my previous post, Never to Retire.)

It seems to make sense that the more accomplishments and good things we do, the higher our self esteem will be. However, this sets up a scenario that if we don't meet our goals we then go into low self esteem. And as long as we use the message of self esteem by a positive / negative measurement, we can never have true self esteem.

I have always been fairly judgmental about people in my thinking. I tend not to let that affect how I interact with others, but this ongoing assessment of others has been frustrating to me. Now that I am learning how to stop the inner critic, whose job is to try to help with self esteem and one way is to look at others faults to see how I am "better", this ongoing judging is starting to subside. And this feels rather nice.

Years ago I started a program I called, "Stink'n Think'n. Just say No." With all the long hours of being on the road and alone with my thoughts I could get caught up in a bunch of negative thinking. I found by saying no to the thoughts--mentally and sometimes out loud--the Stink'n Think'n would stop. However, it only worked for so long and lost some of it's power over time.

Here is where understanding the inner critic and working with it rather then a broader idea of thought has made a huge difference in my inner work! Along with having something a bit more tangible to work with, the inner critic, and understanding the true nature of healthy self esteem I have been able to maintain a much better attitude about myself and my future. And the key here, for me, is the idea I have a future to move into rather then nearing the end of life.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Never to Retire

I have been thinking of this notion of "Retirement" for sometime now and come to believe that it needs to be eliminated. Not pensions and Social Security, but the whole concept of retirement. It seems that the main thinking around retirement is to have enough money to not work, pay medical bills, hang out, and then die. Not a pleasant picture in my mind.

When I was in my twenties and working on the railroad, I remember the then old timers could outwork me. I was able to move faster, but they could get more done then me. I was an apprentice at this time working on what was called the rip track. This was were we would repair the train cars.  I will never forget how the journeyman I worked under looked after he came back for a visit a few months after his retirement; he looked much, much older! I was a bit shocked at this.

There have been numerous times that I have said I will not be able to retire and will have to work until I die. Many of my age group have said the same thing for themselves. In many ways this is depressing, however, only when viewed from the old paradigm of what the retirement years are supposed to be.

What I am now doing is cultivating the notion that I have completed the first half of my life and now beginning a whole new life. So this means I am planning on living to be about 125 years old, healthy and active. This idea isn't a matter of belief, but one of an attitude.

What excites me is that now instead of looking toward my future with fear and seeing the end, I am feeling a sense of anticipation of focusing on my heart's desires and having the wisdom of my age to guide my continuing journey!