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Building Self Esteem…

September 16, 2013

…is a bitch. The other day my Teacher (I have a Spiritual Teacher/healer) sent me a note through the post: ‘You have been passing through my mind lately – just lovely. I have therefore been including you in my prayers…’ I was furious. Yes – furious and it took me several hours to realise just why such a heartfelt thought had made me so furious.

As I reflected on my feelings of anger and, well, bitterness, I realised that two words in particular from that note stuck in my throat: ‘Just lovely’. I thought to myself ‘How can I be lovely? How can thinking about me possibly be a lovely experience?? That is just not possible’. I have literally got a sore throat as I write this to you, the soreness increasing with each letter I type, the grit between my teeth becoming more and more tense. I hate myself. Dreadful to admit isn’t it? But this hatred is not conscious, at least, it wasn’t until I analysed my reaction to that note. It was like an alien invader but let’s look at the evidence:

When you are repeatedly told that you are not good enough, in both words and actions – you start to believe it. Confound this with repetition, again in words and actions, and your subconscious will embody it. There is a beautifully touching scene in the movie Pretty Woman, you must have seen it, where Edward is telling Vivienne how beautiful, smart and special she is. Vivienne simply replies: ‘The bad stuff is easier to believe’. It wrenches my heart each time I see it.

The subconscious is easily confused. This can be both helpful and unhelpful. For example, during my breakthrough and especially whilst staying in a crisis centre (in April this year, see Going to Pieces… and The Stigma of Mental Health), I saw most (but not all, thank God!) of my friends vanish. Some literally ignored my texts and calls for practical help when I needed to move from the crisis centre to new accommodation. This says to my subconscious: ‘You’re not loved, you’re unlovable, there’s something wrong with you, you’re not good enough’ etc. Add to this the already embodied programmes and patterns conditioned from childhood and it’s a lot to cope with. Add also to this the affirmative treatment in the crisis centre, from both service users and staff: ‘You’re doing so well, and you’ve done it all by yourself’ ‘You’ve got balls to ask for help’ ‘You’re very wise’ ‘You’ve blossomed in here’ etc and this actually confuses the subconscious resulting in – frustration. Yes, it’s a bummer and I wish it weren’t that way but it is. So back to the note from my Teacher – now do you see why perhaps I reacted in the way that I did? It went against the mountains of programmed low self-esteem. Thank goodness I spotted it and thank goodness that I am now being gentle with myself over this realisation.

We all have esteem – sometimes it is low (or in my fucking boots) and sometimes it is high, other times it is somewhere in the middle. Whilst we are processing ‘stuff’ and sifting the wheat from the chaff in our subconscious minds, it is important to realise that it’s OK to feel whatever we are feeling. It is OK to be angry, confused, bitter and desperate. The chances are, the feelings you are experiencing in this moment are simply echoes of feelings you had back then, when things were really grey, when life was hopeless, when you couldn’t see your way through the fog. I’m really pleased that I saw my way through the fog.

When the fog lifts, self esteem feels just a little lighter, somewhat higher and slightly more real. The fog lifts when I am honest with myself. I wonder if it’s the same for you.

 

Until Next Time,

 

Matt xx

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