apropos of nothing at all
This -- paraphrased -- is one of the ways one of our counselors illustrated differences between high and low self-esteem:
You're at a party. The lower your self-esteem, the more of the following inward-directed thoughts you'll typically have:
- I wonder if I look okay
- I hope I don't do anything stupid, embarrass myself
- I wonder what these people are like, how my interactions with them will go
- I wonder if I'll have a good time
Someone with higher self-esteem might be at the same party, and thinking:
- I wonder if there's enough ice/drink/food/chairs/whatever; maybe I can help.
- That person looks interesting; I'd like to meet them.
- That person looks like they're not mixing; I'll go talk to them, maybe that will make them feel more included, have a better time here.
A common thread with LSE/insecurity is that it makes us focus more and more on ourselves. Everything becomes about us; we take things personally; we're self-absorbed. We try harder and harder to control ever more tightly the people and events around us.
HSE/confidence lets us focus more on the big picture, allows us to take things as they come rather then attempting to manipulate them.
Maybe this isn't an earthshaking revelation for most people, but when I first began to understand this (5-6 yrs ago) it was life-changing for me. It allowed me to look at myself and see how much time I wasted worrying about me me me me me -- how I looked, how I was perceived, how I felt every second -- and how unnecessary it was.
I'm not saying we shouldn't think about how we feel -- actually identifying our true feelings (and being honest about them to ourselves) is an important and healthy thing -- but it's freeing to be able to realize that however we come across, however we feel at the moment, is usually okay. If it's positive, great. If it's not, it will pass. In the meantime, enjoy the people and the moments of your life.
Okay, that's the end of the sermon; there's probably a more confusing and awkward way to express what I wanted to say, but I can't think what it would be...