As I see it, building self-esteem is a life long process. It is a part of who we are and that in essence, makes it a living-breathing thing. My worldview is so completely different now than 10 years ago, that none of my actions, answers or responses to situations or questions would be close to the same.
Are we ever really “done?” I hope not! For me the joy of life is tied to the learning process. It isn’t like baking a cookie “Ding!” and your done. Then what?
We always need new challenges, dreams and aspirations and building self-esteem is just a part of that package. So instead of seeing it as a chore, perhaps we should ease into it as an exploration.
We all see the world through vision goggles of some kind, our tempers, moods, emotions and actions relying heavily on how we feel about ourselves at any given moment. In that respect our view of reality is tied to our identities on a very deep level. You could view building self-esteem as creating a new pair of “goggles!”
Imagine if you will two men standing by the side of the road on their way back from lunch, waiting to cross an intersection. An old blue pickup truck pulls up to the light. As the first man’s gaze falls on the relic, a memory is triggered and he smiles. This truck reminds him of their old family vehicle. He recalls working side by side with his father as a young boy, fixing the engine on a long summer day, recollecting how they connected, and how it made him feel as a child to be entrusted with helping for the first time on such an important job. It is a fleeting memory, barely touching his consciousness, yet he goes back to work that day feeling lighter somehow, smiling at the receptionist as he comes back from lunch and cracking jokes with his co-workers as he settles back down at his desk.
Back to the intersection:
As the second man sees the pickup truck pulling to a stop a slight chill goes through him. He remembers it as clearly as if it were yesterday, standing by the roadside at night in the rain, 9 years old. His drunken stepfather had kicked him out of their truck 5 miles from home; the bone chilling cold hit him as he stood in the muddy wake of spinning tires and splashing mud. “You worthless little !@##!” he heard the drunken voice and the sound of smashing glass hitting the pavement as a bottle was hurled in his direction from the truck window.
Slowly he makes his way back to the office, speaking to no one, that old sense of helplessness somehow invading his adult world from the past.
How do you think the rest of this man’s day will go? Do you think he will smile at the receptionist and joke with his co-workers? During those developmental years, the time when our mind is being hard wired, and the process of building self-esteem is vital, he was torn down.
Now imagine if we can influence our own inner reactions, memories and feelings in such a way that we control that filter? You could re-invent your whole life.
My quest is to find that amazing inner power to de-activate the negative impact of the past and re-wire our automated responses. Not erase memories, but “know” your own value on such a deep level that you are impervious to the emotional impact of such things.
So the quest continues to find new and creative ways for building self-esteem!