Thursday, June 16, 2011

Self Compassion VS. Self-esteem

In the above article it speaks about something that I have thought about for many yrs but have been unable to fully express it as well as the article seems to.  I was born in 1978 and remember doing the 'I am Special' worksheets in school.  I thought it was idiotic then and I still do now.  Let me say why, quite bluntly.

Let's take the whole 'you're special just as you are and can do anything you want to' statement.  Untrue, and irrational.  Those of us that were outcasts and left out of the loop of acceptable people at school learned this lesson early.  The narcissistic, bratty, rich kids got what they wanted.  The poor, odd kids did not, and were not so disillusioned when life turned out differently.

I knew that some people were better at most if not all things than I was.  This was just a fact and the way it was/is.  Things that matter to school aged children anyway.  I conflicted with the information that I was special given to me by my parents and by other adults, because it didn't seem that were the case based on my life.  

Take the 'you can be anything you want to be' phrase that was quite drilled into our little heads.  Rationally speaking, only a very, very, very small percentage of people will be president, or an astronaut, or a brain surgeon.  It's the way it is, but that doesn't make one a failure, but I think it felt that way to our generation.  Not everyone is going to be successful and the ones that are had to work for it, as well as be naturally inclined for what they chose to do.  We don't all automatically get to be and do what we want.  That lesson, I think was mostly lost on my generation.  Now, we have people filing for bankruptcy because they bought a nice house, nice car, nice clothes and couldn't afford it.  Because why?  You know why.... they Deserved it.  They're special,  They should have nice things.  The Princess of yesteryear was told that she'd have nice things.  These sorts, really irritate me.  With all sarcasm aside, it was damaging to tell a whole 2 decades of people that they're wonderful just being themselves and they are entitled to what they want.  That's not how life works, and it's honestly quite self centered of a way to think.  It's ass backwards in the way of valuing what really matters.  We're not taught to value others, as much as ourselves.  I don't remember ever doing a worksheet in school about kindness to others without praise to our ego.  Having a good character that has integrity, honesty, love and kindness may not be what most people think of as being successful, but it should be.

If we took the focus off of our own life and our own narrow viewpoint and thought about others more we would feel better about ourselves and the world would be a better place.  Think about it.  How much stress would be avoided if we weren't trying to get ahead all of the time?  If most of us strived to be better people by being less self centered and more compassionate to everyone else?


  1. So true, and so necessary for kids (big and small) to hear. I truly enjoyed reading this post.

  2. This is totally great.

    I agree that the message about self-esteem seems to have become skewed over the years. It's not supposed to be about feeling entitled but damn, I see so much of that around. And what's worse is that in this country, the elected representatives have pandered to it in various ways. We now have people earning $150,000.00 a year saying they are poor and can't manage. The government should help them because they pay their taxes and they "deserve" help. Good grief.

    Sorry, had a bit of a rant there. I'm all for helping children to learn to accept themselves for who they are (although I struggle with this myself still at my age) but accepting yourself does not mean thinking you're somehow entitled to everything.

  3. I agree. Our government is bought and sold by the highest bidder. If I were to get started on that topic, I fear I'd not stop! We should be able to feel okay with ourselves, but as you say... that does not equate to entitlement. Also, stuff doesn't equal fulfillment. That is a lesson that I think was also lost on our generation. Beyond being able to pay our basic bills, and live relatively comfortable (not extravagant, just not robbing Peter to pay Paul every month) money and more/better stuff doesn't make anyone happier. I agree with your rant!

  4. You were right! I totally agree and love it! Well said. I never really thought about how the who,e problem started back then. That's why those parents give their kids everything! When will people wake up and realize its not about THINGS?! It won't be me working 3 jobs so my kids have the newest gadget, big party college paid etc!

    1. Me, either! My time is what I have to offer them, and I hope that instills in them that things aren't what's important. So far, so good!


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