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?

More Changes

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been making lots of positive changes in my life this last year.  It's not been easy, and change doesn't always feel good at first, but eventually becomes habit.  I quit smoking 1 year and 3 months ago.  That was a huge, liberating change that I feel led to more.  It's motivational when you conquer something so monumental that you get a momentum going to try another challenge.  The next challenge, getting healthier.

I had put on some weight while quitting smoking as well as adopted new, undesirable eating habits.  I had stopped taking my thyroid medication due to lack of funds to afford the lab at the doctor and meds.  (which I may say was my perceived lack of funding, as my husband would vehemently disagree with me not taking my meds no matter how broke we were) This led to weight gain and depression.  I also feel it's worth mentioning to anyone who might come across here that's quitting smoking, females will often have a hypothyroid after quitting smoking and should get it checked.  I don't know if nicotine masks the symptoms of hypothyroid, or if smoking does something to the gland itself, but it seems common to have it be under-active after quitting.  I require a higher dose since I quit to maintain optimal levels of the hormone.Just a tid bit of info, I found worth mentioning, because it's awful when you keep gaining weight no matter your best efforts to lose it when it could be something so simple as not having optimal levels of thyroid in your body.

I have also been working on feeling better over-all.  This has been a challenge, too.  It's been up and down, and all around in progress.  I don't think I can measure progress of such a thing like I would with something like weight loss, but as a human, I will try.  I have not been doing so well at finding time to meditate, but I have been doing better at finding time in the day in small moments to breath, be in the moment.  I try to do be aware of the moment and all it holds once an hour or so.  I have been trying to think of a way to set an alarm to to little Mindful/Meditation breaks, but I haven't thought of one yet.  I saw some software that you can put on your computer that essentially did this, but I'm not at my computer most of the day.  I thought that maybe I can set my alarm on my phone, but I haven't done so yet.  I think that reminding myself to be here, now, and aware of the present helps to train my brain to do so, even in times when I might feel overwhelmed.  I can get a sense of calmness and perspective.  As I do this, I hope that I can get a clearer sense of self, and worthiness of being me, which will also bring about a new perspective.  I see it kind of like polishing my mirror.  When I polish my mirror (do positive things for myself that make me feel good) I shine back at others brighter.  Others begin to like the reflection they get when they spend time around me because I project a positive image back at them.  I not only leave others in a better way then before they came across me, but I also attract more positive things with a more positive projection.