Self-esteem: How’s yours?
Low self-esteem can ruin one’s life.
The norm is to downplay a healthy outlook on self-esteem. We’re lead to believe the second definition in the dictionary for self-esteem, “self-conceit”, as opposed to the first, “self-respect.”
Institutions and people in power would like us to believe that seeing oneself as worthy of the good things in life (not material objects, they want us to buy, buy, buy) is a form of narcissism. They know if others have the ability to make beneficial decisions concerning their personal well being, the power will shift to the individual. Power is an addiction.
We can blame our parents throughout our lives If we choose to carry childhood problems into our adult life. We can’t love our life until we learn to love our self.
When I was eight years old my parents moved from South Gate, a suburb of Los Angeles, to Glen Avon outside of Riverside, CA. My father had been the head pilot for a large commercial freight carrier. Do to a couple of bad decisions in his personal life, we went from the top, to raising chickens and egg farming. Self-esteem was very low.
I went to school with the same kids from the 2nd grade until the second semester of high school. We were catalysts for each other. None of us got into trouble unless the another was there but then we got into more than our share.
My self-esteem was in the cellar and I continued to live in that cellar, not choosing to take the steps that could have taken me to a better life. When my parents moved from Riverside to north of Sacramento, I thought my life was ruined. “How could they do this to me? Taking me away from all my friends? Didn’t they know they were ruining my life? Didn’t they care?”
My first 1/2 year of high school was spent with 4000+ other students. The next school was smaller but still had about 2000 and a deeply entrenched caste system. The monied didn’t associate with the poor folks and the anglos didn’t mix with the Mexicans. My dad had gone to work for an old Army pilot friend and it didn’t work out. We moved again and I was in another school. That school was small with no room for clicks and caste systems. Everyone had to treat others as equals. If you didn’t, you’d find you had no friends at all. My graduating class consisted of 28 kids.
In two years my life changed. What I’d thought was my ruination, was actually a major turning point and the best thing that could have happened, if I chose to see it that way.
We’re judged by the company we keep and the actions of others. We also have a tendency to take the traits of those we associate with. I’ve seen scenarios similar to mine being played out in other people’s lives.
We all have blind spots. Some just can’t see how their associates are dragging them down, sucking up their life energies and making their life less than it can be.
When we allow ourselves to be directed through life by addicts or our own addictions, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, junk food or power, we’ll never be able to see the beauty that surrounds us. We know inside what’s the best path but some choose not to see or listen to the information that’s always out there, for all of us. It’s like driving through thick fog, watching taillights in front, choosing to believe the other person knows where they’re going and what’s best for us. Someday, sooner or later, using that system of guidance through life, we’re bound to end up in the ditch, in a wreck or ruin our life.
I was even given the chance for a second look. When I graduated from high school I joined the Marines. San Diego for boot camp, Camp Pendleton for infantry training and back to San Diego for communications school. Boot camp and infantry training allowed no time to go anywhere. COM school wasn’t much different. My permanent duty station was 29 Palms and Riverside was within weekend liberty distance.
I gravitated back to my old friends but realized they were going nowhere; unless it was jail. I still keep in loose contact with some of them. One is an alcoholic, another has a majority of all the degenerative diseases. I haven’t heard from him since he told me he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Another sent me an e-mail with sketchy details about how he’d ruined his life.
I’m thankful my life was “ruined” when I was young and that I was given the opportunity to change and not just follow the taillights ahead. Lifelong patterns are easier to change when you haven’t had a long life.
We can only give others information, we can’t walk their path through life. Some will choose to take our information and use it immediately, others may use it at some future point in time and many will disregard it completely But, we can’t let how others choose to run their lives, ruin ours. We all have to learn our own lessons, that’s what we’re here for.