Monday, January 29, 2007

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...

5 Comments:

At Mon Jan 29, 08:14:00 AM PST, Blogger Kylee said...

According to what you have here,
If I am at a party I am more like a person that has more self asteem because I look to be helpful. In a public place...well I am a little more off to the side..of course that is getting better...those feelings you mentioned only lasted about the first 15 minutes of my night out on the town this weekend. Progress not perfection!!
When I feel that way I do remind myself that the world does not revolve around me..not even close.

 
At Mon Jan 29, 01:54:00 PM PST, Blogger si said...

think i still have a moderate amount of LSE (but better than i was), especially when i'm unfamiliar with those in attendance. it's not easy to overcome when you've grown up with it (and have an inherent culture drilled into you) but as you mentioned, who *really* notices what YOU'RE so concerned about? it was a revelation to realize that LSE = a form of self-absorption. as kylee mentioned, the world does not revolve around me either, or i hate to say it, even you. ;-)

 
At Mon Jan 29, 03:02:00 PM PST, Blogger Happy Mask Saleswoman said...

When you're a kid, you forget that it isn't the end of the world if you embarrass yourself, and that people don't really care, and that nobody (except people who aren't worth it) will mercilessly mock and berate you for making a mistake in a social situation...

 
At Mon Jan 29, 03:03:00 PM PST, Blogger unca said...

It's interesting that many people will admit to low self-esteem but very few to high self-esteem (at least they won't come right out and say it). The irony is that we sometimes think people with low self-esteem are humble when they're actually self-absorbed (as has been said). I think it's also possible that someone with very high self-esteem can be just as self-absorbed and narcissistic. You can also get trapped into the notion that not "feeling good about yourself" is the root of so many troubles especially when we relate it to delinquency and crime which seems to be in such vogue these days. I don't buy it.

 
At Mon Jan 29, 06:42:00 PM PST, Blogger jay aitch said...

I quote a wonderful person: "I don't want to think too much of myself, nor too little of myself. I don't want to be thinking of myself at all."

 

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