Saturday, October 3, 2009

Scraping The Bottom Of The Barrel

As promised, here's today's teaching on self-esteem, pride, and confidence, as part of my "Drive-for-Pride" campaign:

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel.

We use the phrase "scraping the bottom of the barrel" when we're down to the last little bit of what we have. It usually means what is left is mediocre or second best, although it doesn't have to be that way.

I know when I'm down to the last few nubbins in a coffee can, let's say, I want to make sure those end up on the top of a newly opened can. Which is the easiest way to do it for most people. But I buy coffee in one of those vacuum packed bags, then empty it into a coffee can that I have. That means the old nubbins are still in the can, see? So I need to put those somewhere, then dump in the can the new coffee, then put the nubbins on top. Why do I do it that way? Because if the old ones stay at the bottom of the can over and over, they might go bad or lose their flavor. And, who knows, maybe they'll affect the good coffee. I just think it's best to keep the whole can as fresh as possible.

Still, the phrase "scraping the bottom of the barrel" carries with it some meaning. There doesn't even have to be a literal barrel. A coffee can isn't a barrel. But what if there isn't a barrel or anything literally comparable to a barrel? There can still be a barrel in the sense of the phrase being applied analogically, like an illustration.

Example? Like writing this. I can't think of how to describe this illustration precisely in a compelling way. So I'm wracking my mind, looking for something, scraping the bottom of the barrel, as it were, to come up with something. But there's nothing here. Just shavings, nubbins, scruff in the bottom of the barrel. Like the bottom of a pepper can that's empty, there's still a few flakes of pepper hidden in the corners, somehow able to thwart gravity, perhaps by having jagged edges that are adhering to the can. It's empty, I say, but look at whatever pepper remains under a microscope. It'll be like a flea. It'll look like armament, tanks, battle axes. Is the can really empty? Not with a whole army inhabiting the corner! That's the bottom of the barrel. There's still something left!

This all relates to self-esteem, pride, and our confidence.

I'm a very confident person. I trust in my abilities, and I think you should too. You're smart enough to be reading this, so you can't be too far off the beam! The traffic at this blog is something like 10 or under, per day! Let me stress that again: I don't get more than 10 readers here on an average day! That is nothing. Think of all the billions of people out there. Now, some of them don't have internet access, so it's possibly no fault of their own that they're not here.

But there are billions of people who could be logging on to this site, but for one reason or another they don't. I think most of them fall into one of two categories: 1) The ignorant; and, 2) The know-it-all's. If you're ignorant, you don't know what you don't know, and you don't know that you don't know it. Those are hard people to reach. But if you "know it all" (supposedly), you're also hard to reach. Because you're going to spend your day doing other things, neglecting your intellectual, mental, and spiritual development to your own harm. The fact that I get those 10 or under everyday means something to me: 1) Possibly it means they're very special, the elect; 2) Or, more negatively, possibly it means I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel.

I take it in the first, more positive sense. I honor anyone who comes to this blog, who sits in his or her little chair, and who pays close attention, gleaning from my words the teaching that he or she needs for the course of their day ahead. You are to be honored and your progress rewarded. I've got you in my heart, which I am even now tapping.

So, how does "scraping the bottom of the barrel" relate to my confidence -- and potentially your confidence? Because I'm not usually at the bottom of the barrel. My barrel overfloweth! I have the confidence in any given day that I have rich abundance -- that self-esteem, pride, and confidence are mine. If I need something, let's say to share on a subject -- like self-esteem, pride, and confidence -- I've got it on the tip of my tongue. I come here and I have the self-esteem, pride, and confidence that it takes to teach about self-esteem, pride, and confidence. I respect myself and my abilities.

My pride is not a false pride, but a pride that accentuates my self-esteem. And my confidence has the qualities that inspire pride, which then piggybacks on and accentuates my self-esteem. I'm nowhere near the bottom of the barrel, friends.

But even if I were at the bottom of the barrel -- See, that's the point. Even if I were at the bottom of the barrel -- and this can be true of you -- I would know I'm going to find the hidden nubbins that will express the same truth, and that it will carry at least part of the same value as what I have when I'm working from the top of the barrel. As I clearly am today.

If you're at the bottom of the barrel today -- you... If that's where you are, work with what you have. Trust yourself to get something good there. Scrape it. Then scrape again. And before you know it, even if your barrel empties out, there will still be something for you to work with. The barrel's just an image.

The thing is, before you know it, you will have the confidence to say, "Hey, there's more down here than I thought!" And it will be so, you will find it true in terms of self-esteem, pride, and confidence, that pretty soon your barrel will be running over!

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