Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Kind Word For Yourself

Since becoming a self-esteem teacher a little less than a month ago, without any training or certification, I should add, but simply by my own innate ability to say it is so and believe it, I've realized that I need to always be at it. It's a trade you ply 24/7.

A lot of it comes naturally, although I think common sense says a lot of it arises from our childhood experiences, so I'm just doing it because that's who I am. I had parents who looked out for my interests, and this good experience continues with Grandma. In truth, she hasn't got it like she used to. But that's what comes with age, bad health, and sleeping most of the time. At 104, she's just lucky to be alive, and, knowing her as I do, I know she's thinking good thoughts for me even in her downtime.

Like I said, it's natural, so I do it naturally. All I can, really. With whoever I'm with. Like my dog, who of course doesn't understand what's going on, but obviously knows the difference between a harsh word with harsh intentions and a harsh word with playful intentions and a kind word with loving intentions.

I try my best to keep it playful and to be kind with my dog. I'm so kind in fact that we're more like colleagues. I respect her consciousness, yet I keep my awareness that she's got different interests. But one thing she's definitely receptive to is praise. "Good girl." Tail wagging. She'd be a terrible poker player, thinking of the picture of dogs playing poker, because I know her tail would wag if she had a good hand (or paw).

So I say "Good girl," but I try to mix it up so it's not just the same old thing. I introduced "My little lambkin" today, but I don't know -- she might be too old for anything so different. I'm not being cynical, just expressing a little variety. She must know it's a good thing to be someone's little lambkin.

Well, that's dogs. But most of my self-esteem teaching (pride, confidence) is geared toward people. Trying to get others to recognize the best in themselves, for their well-being, etc. And a large part of that has to do with the messages we give ourselves. Like the inner dialogue we carry on all the time.

I'm definitely a work in progress, so I've said many nasty things about myself. And, who knows, I might say a few nasty things about myself today, before the day's over. I said a few yesterday, I know, and it'd be a rare day indeed if I didn't say at least one. Maybe that's true of you too. But seeing myself as a work in progress, my conception is that there is at least "work" and there is at least "progress."

So whatever I'm doing, if I can bring my hardened old heart around, I try to look on the bright side as it relates to my good qualities, my abilities, drives, dreams, and all the rest. My default position in life is "I can do it." That's my first thought. I may stumble all over the place as the problems mount up around me. But I've still got that conviction in me that I can do it.

I like security, like everyone. And I avoid insecurity. But let's say everything fell down around me, Grandma died, the house burnt down, I got a mild case of scabies, and I'm a wreck. Even then, itching like mad, stepping over rubble, burying my loved one, I would pause there and have this one thought left to me: "I can do it."

Alan Watts wrote about the benefits of insecurity. I don't remember what he said. But I can guess. What are you when you're reduced to nothing? You never get there! That's where your real creativity, your real essence shines brightly, well before you hit any bottom there might be. But please, I don't want to prove that very often! Give me a good day!

So today -- and it will be a good day -- part of self esteem is recognizing your good qualities, and offering consciously a true appraisal of yourself. Even being a work in progress, you're a stunning work in progress.

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