I harp on about self view/ self esteem/ self perception all the time because I think it’s vital and something we have been completely misguided on all our lives. What have we been misguided with? The existence of pride being awful and something we need to shed. That pride will make you a selfish person, that it will mess up your view of not only yourself but others and the world. You will become somebody that no one wants to be around, and you will become selfish. As though thinking highly of yourself will end up changing you into some awful person -that even god can’t stand.
That sounds a little dramatic, so let me use an example. I had a friend in my 20’s named Bo. (I’ve written about her before) She was just a couple years younger than me, and she had a baby, (Kloe). It was around the time Kloe was about one year old that Bo was saying to Kloe “you are so beautiful, you are so lovely” and doing it in front of Bo’s mother. Her mother then jumped in and said “Don’t tell her that! You’ll give her a big head!” At this point I had already been Bo’s champion because I had heard many stories of how throughout her life Bo was told by her mother “You’re too fat”, “You’re too thin”, “You need to ____” “You have to ____”. Bo had already told me that her poor self view had everything to do with the constant barrage on her self esteem by her mother throughout her life. My response to Bo was, “Don’t you dare stop telling your beautiful daughter that she’s beautiful”. “I won’t. I want her to love herself” was Bo’s reply.
It’s not like little Kloe isn’t going to have plenty of little kids in school messing with her self view, she’ll have a “best friend” hurt her at some point, and like all kids, she will be teased. If her mother doesn’t build her up from the beginning, telling her how wonderful she is, Kloe’s life will be even harder not having that cushion of self esteem behind her.
Hell, lets look at me as an example. EVEN THO my mother has given me praise my entire life, telling me how wonderful I am, I still ended up with no self esteem outside of how my mother saw me. In the big world I was just an ant, and in my head it didn’t matter that my mom thought highly of me, so EVEN when your mother builds you a cushion of self esteem, it can still not be enough in the long run. I feel like saying to Bo’s mother, “How dare you do that to your own child, and then expect she will do the same to your grandchild?” I wonder how her mother treated her? Probably the same, and look what kind of people it produces.
Have you ever met someone who can find fault with everyone? Always criticizing people? Calls someone they don’t know a “bitch” or derogatory names? Maybe they don’t criticize 100% of the people they come in contact with, but you know the type I mean. Does that person like themselves? Ya know, I’ve never met a person critical of others who likes themselves. It should really be a giant red flag waving above their head. “Hey, look at me, I hate myself, so I’m going to be an ass to be around, I’m going to call people names, and I’m never going to fix myself. I just want to bitch about everything and everyone else”.
We all know someone like this and it all boils down to self esteem. These people might on some level seem “proud” or as though they do like who they are, but I guarantee, anyone who likes themselves, who truly has a healthy sense of self esteem, is not out there dwelling on other people and pointing fingers, or blaming, or even putting mental time into negativity. People who have a healthy self esteem, spend their time thinking positively, being happy, they have learned that there is no benefit in constantly looking at what others are doing.
And I know that these words strike a bad cord in people, but I’m going to say it. People with a healthy self esteem PUT THEMSELVES FIRST.
I don’t mean they eat the best cookies before offering any to others, I don’t’ mean they butt in line at the grocery store, I’m talking about the kind of put yourself first that says, you don’t need to worry about what other people are doing. Worry about yourself, make sure you are fed and watered, make sure you are happy, make sure you like yourself, and when you are someone who does that, guess what happens… No, you don’t start hording the cookies, you naturally and easily GIVE. You give good energy, you give kindness, you give smiles, you give in all the positive ways that anyone would hope to have given to them.
The word pride has been hijacked by religions. I don’t even allow that word to have the religious meaning anymore. I have pride in myself, my appearance, my work ethic, my ability to be a good friend, anything I want to do well I take pride in, having pride in it ensures I want these things to be good, not bad. I don’t even relate the biblical pride to my life. Biblical pride is bull shit and I hate how something that is supposed to help people (the bible) ends up harming people (with twisted meanings).
The reason we spend less time looking inward is because we literally look outward with our eyes. We have the ability to constantly judge others simply because that is the direction we are looking. Imagine a world where people looked inward. Where we had the desire to be the best “me” we can be, and we didn’t take notice of what everyone else was doing. Handfulls of gossip magazines would wither and die. If people looked inward they wouldn’t care if Bruce Jenner found himself saying “I’ve always wanted to be a girl”. Nor would they have a thousand opinions on it. Imagine if we all put ourselves first, looked inward, and loved ourselves. You know what would come from that? Even more love and acceptance for others.
The more I hear from the bible lovers of the world, the more convinced I become Religion lies. Religion ties and binds. It controls, and it destroys self esteem. How did all my mothers efforts to create a cushion of self esteem fail? She took me to church every week, where I was Re-legioned. They don’t want you to think for yourself, they don’t want you secure in the amazing being you are. They want you to believe you are a sinner who will never be good enough, who will always need to feel shame and guilt. A weekly sacrament is reminder of this awful person you are and always will be. I could go on an on explaining the need for various “church interviews”, and the review by a bishop of how “worthy” you are, how much money you gave in a year, the sins you are currently living in. Ugh, nothing uplifting in a REAL way.
I will just say this… Walking away from religion was KEY to finding out who I am and liking me. Letting my “beautiful” in and finally seeing who my mother sees. I wish for every person to like themselves as much as my mother likes me, and to forget every bit of what religion tells you you are. You aren’t a “sinner” who will never be enough, you are an amazing human with the ability to learn endless things, a huge chunk of which educates you on what real happiness is and where to find it.
The true-you is capable of countless incredible things. Anyone insisting you need religion to be an amazing being is either under control or wanting to control. If you pull all control out of your life, and look at who you are and who you want to be, you will see the freedom to be amazing, full of pride in your awesomeness, and a person you and everyone loves to be with.