The therapist said to love yourself and that my self-esteem is in the toilet. “You should write “I love Jill” on your arm so every time you see it you can remember to love yourself.” I figured writing on my own arm would end up looking like some primal hieroglyphics, so I had a friend do it. He wrote “I love Jill” in big ornate letters on my right forearm. It didn’t boost my self-esteem. I just looked like a narcissist with a sharpie addiction. Another therapist suggested that as I put lotion on I should say “I love my legs. I love my arms.” That was way to “Silence of the Lambs” for me. I need another solution. What is the trick to finding one’s positive self-regard?
The obvious answer is to keep your self-esteem as far up as your parents’ expectations for you in life, before you were born. Parents, at least the ones that wanted children, think their gestating child will be talented, smart, successful and bring peace to all humanity. But what if life with all its horrors brings your self-esteem way below sea level? How do you recoup?
The answer is. I don’t know. All I know is that for all my beauty, talent, intelligence and compassion (had a hard time writing that), I don’t really like myself most days. I feel unlovely and unworthy. I’m the wall flower and the tagalong. The third wheel and “single” on the ski lift. I am well aware that my friends and family do not view me this way at all. However, my opinion drowns out theirs. How can our perspectives be so out of sync with each other?
I’ve been taking a drawing class and we talk a lot about the vanishing point. The vanishing point is a place in drawing where the horizon meets the sky, where the receding parallel lines converge. I think if I were to put other’s opinions of me and my opinion of myself on parallel lines, somewhere far in the distance, at the vanishing point, there is a convergence. At that intersection I hope the blends of perception will leave me thinking more of myself than I do now.
Until I get there, I am determined to keep my focus on the thing that really fills my spirit, like air in a balloon, my faith. My faith informs me that I have value and substance, not because I have done anything, but just because I am. An elusive concept, to be sure, but an honorable goal.
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