Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The First Step

The first step in having self-esteem is to orient yourself to the idea.

Let's say you're as low as can be. Everyone else is better than you. You're too fat, too thin, not enough hair, or hair everywhere. I know I have extremely bad hair. I took some pictures of myself yesterday with my dog. The first thing I noticed is my terrible hair. So I'm as low as can be on that aspect of my appearance, for the sake of this example.

Your self-esteem is in the pits. I know how it goes. I still think of myself the way I was when I was between 16-21. Young, good hair, cute hair, a lively step, no bags under my eyes, no wrinkles, didn't feel tired all the time. But we all get old -- if we're lucky. And it's no fault of your own. It's just that time and its steady progress is inexorable.

You feel like "whatever it is" you can't do it. That's how far down your self-esteem is. If only I could be someone else, which of course can't be done. I mean, I guess I could do something about my terrible hair. One thing, it's so thin on top now I'm legally bald. I'm going to look at my tax form and see if there's a deduction for that. I know there's one for legally blind. But if you're blind you're lucky, because you can't see your terrible hair. I could get a wig or a toupee.

I really think people who wear toupees, mostly men, don't have high self-esteem. If they did they'd just bare it. Not that I'm saying don't do anything to enhance your appearance. I might be cutting my remaining hair a little shorter. One thing I hate is the idea that people might be thinking I'm trying to do a comb over. Which I'm actually not. It's just that I've combed my hair a certain way all these years, literally through thick and thin. It didn't occur to me till a month ago that people might think that. Because when I look at myself in the mirror, I actually see someone with hair. At a certain angle, the angle at which you look in the mirror, it doesn't look so bad. But a photo is more objective, especially if you get an angle you're not used to.

My own self-esteem is fairly low, if you can't tell. But that's good, in a way, because it puts me in the same boat as the rest of you. And since I'm trying to work on myself, you see, the same principles that possibly work for me, I'll be able to share with the rest of you. But I'm a little different than most people in this sense, that I've been consciously thinking about my low self-esteem for years. Therefore I have numerous things I've learned already. So you may be starting at square one, but I'm clear out there, miles ahead of that.

I'm also kind of a different in another way. I also have high self-esteem at the same time. Notice how I seem to be praising myself like every other line. I've always had the conviction that no matter how inferior I felt, I compensated for it by the feeling of superiority. So I'm going both ways all the time. All the time. I said I had bags under my eyes. That's true. But technically I should only have a bag under one eye. But the optic nerve only has one switch.

So I understand where you're coming from, if your problem is low self-esteem. (We're assuming that high self-esteem is preferable. But that's debatable. Still, that's the assumption everyone makes. I'm honestly not so sure. At times, and maybe, again, it's because I go both ways simultaneously, I think it's better to be in the pits. Why? Because it's very realistic. If you're losing your hair, your looks, and you're tired all the time, why have high self-esteem? You'll just be running around playing the fool. Young people will look at you and mock. This guy is clearly an old codger and he's pretending to be a spring chicken! But if you had low self-esteem you'd be sitting at home, avoiding the ridicule.

But let me stick with orthodoxy. (No one's hiring me to counsel them in how to have low self-esteem.) Low self-esteem is detrimental to your sensibilities, your outlook. You had it all when you were young, let's say, and now you look at yourself, you don't even recognize yourself. I know I don't. Then I realize this is what everyone's seeing when they look at me! It's dreadful. I hate it. And I always had great hair too. I really did. I used to poof it all up, wave it around, and let it rest in a delicate mound on my head. It was cool. Then I'd put on some granny glasses, a tight T shirt, blue jeans and sandals. I was hip.

But now, I clean a little clump of hair out of the bathtub drain everyday. And then it's resting in a delicate mound in the trash can. The garbage guy comes around every week. And there goes about six clumps of hair. On the bright side, the clumps are getting progressively smaller. On the not-so-bright side, it's because there's less and less to lose.

I don't want to give the impression that self-esteem depends entirely on looks. It really doesn't. Looks help, of course. If you have them, keep them. And if you figure out how to keep them, let me know. I don't want to take shots. And creams don't work that well for me. And I'm not wasting any money on hair products. So if you have any to sell, keep moving! Self-esteem doesn't depend entirely on looks. You can have it without looks. I've heard of it.

Let's get to the end. Like I said at the beginning, t
he first step in having self-esteem is to orient yourself to the idea. Then ask yourself, "Why not me?" It's a great question. "Why not me? If other people have high self-esteem, why not me? It may as well be me as anyone. And it will be, starting ... NOW."

If you don't get it right away, just keep asking yourself, "Why not me?" Keep asking until you can't think of any reason. At that point, you're on the verge of having exactly what you want.

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