Looking at Self Esteem from a Different Angle
Sunday’s sermon I gave was less a talk about the idea of God and more an experience of connecting directly with The Presence. The congregation’s response was lively and hugs were generously flowing as I left the building. In the direct heat of a 100 degree plus morning I was met by an older, stunningly beautiful woman standing next to my car in tears. “I have prayed for thirty years”, she said, “to meet you.” She continued saying she had actively prayed for three decades to see the vitality of God in someone’s eyes and today was the day and my eyes were the eyes.
Flattered and humbled simultaneously, I listened to her story. Partway through it she said, “like everyone else, I have problems with self esteem.” I have taken to seeing the world and listening to people talk much like reading a good college textbook. I begin to see and hear some things as though nuggets of wisdom and insight are flying off the page requiring a yellow pen and the corner turned down. This comment was one of those. So throughout the next three days I pondered this comment.
“Like everyone else … I have problems with self esteem.”
I began by questioning this statement. Is it true that everyone has this problem? Which led to the next inquiry … is this really a problem? Followed by another …. is there truly a thing as self esteem and if so, who defines it?
I have long had an ongoing conversation with people about depression and dark emotional states. I have experienced bouts of depression in my life,
but so too has every person I have met that hosts any level or character and compassion. I stopped a long time ago seeing it only as a psychological disorder, and more as part of the creative process and a gift of polarity. In an interview with Oprah several years ago Lady Gaga spoke of a very dark place she enters out of which she creates her music. Biographies of notable public figures speak of extreme loneliness, being misunderstood, standing against convention, and often bouts of depression. I have worked with hundreds of clients walking them through dark nights of the Soul and the deepening that happens when allowing the presence of the dank void to be a part of our life experience.
So when the self esteem comment was made, I placed it somewhat into this same cultural mystery. When energy shifts often and always and moods come and go, why do we as a collective people insist in making some right and wrong, some good and bad, some holy and mundane and not simply embrace it all? And, why would any one of us beautiful God creatures identify ourselves as someone with a self-esteem problem? This definition sounds like a definition of doom.
So today I invite you into a few questions to ponder … when did you have an emotion that lasted longer than a few minutes and an emotional trend line of more than a day or two? Not one you fanned and fueled with a story, but one that genuinely rose and then fell without interference? When have you observed this emotion and stopped yourself to define yourself by it in any part of its natural rising up and falling down? And, how did you apply this to defining yourself or another?
Krishnamurti said it is our identity, not our Real Self, that interprets hurt and pain. Who would we be without the identity we’ve created and assigning it pain? What if from this moment forward we decided there was no such thing as self esteem that we have or don’t have and instead allowed energy to rise and fall and identified ourselves, if at all, with the Only One that Is?
It is my intention to live my life as free as I can, unencumbered by my ideas about myself; especially heavy ones.
Today I see you as the Whole Person you are and always were and I bow to the Holy Presence within you.