Tuesday, January 14, 2014
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.