Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Public Service Announcement

I have a friend who has a very bad habit. He puts himself down. On a regular basis. For some reason he thinks he's not smart when, in fact, he clearly is quite bright. He also gets anxious about work, even though, by all appearances, he's rather successful and good at his job. Regardless of reality, however, a self-deprecation habit has taken residence in his psyche and seems quite comfortable there.

I might become impatient with how frequently this friend puts himself down were it not for one tiny detail: I do the same thing. Sometimes without even realizing I'm doing it. Overall, I have pretty high self-esteem and a good amount of confidence, but there are a few chinks in my armor. Often when I put myself down it's because I don't want brag or appear arrogant (I've heard talk that this is common behavior among women and girls). Other times, however, it's just a manifestation of good old fashioned insecurity and ruptures in that generally high self-esteem.

The last time I saw my friend a couple of weeks ago, I offered him a small challenge. I tasked him with taking a minute... the next time he was tempted to demean himself... to forget his own self image. Instead I suggested that he try to see himself as I see him. As his other friends see him. As his kids see him. I suggested he do this just for a minute or even twenty seconds. As an experiment.

I have no idea if my friend took my unsolicited advice, but our conversation got me thinking. What if I were to do the same thing? What if I untangled myself from my own insecurities for a just a few seconds a day or even a few seconds a week and saw myself as my friends see me? I bet if I did that I wouldn't feel any need to put myself down, not even as a way to dilute the appearance of arrogance. Hell, if I took twenty seconds to see myself through they eyes of the men who regularly hit on me on the street, I'd probably feel pretty darn good.

Imagine if we all did that. Imagine if we all got out of our heads and saw ourselves through the eyes of people who like, admire and love us. Maybe we should give it a collective try. For a few seconds. As an experiment.

Image courtesy of the blog Solution Focused Politics.

2 comments:

carlos de la parra said...

This has plenty of facets.
You target a group of low self esteemers apparently, or perhaps more commonly of people who accept the standards planted by the media, where they turn the world into a perpetual competetion.
I think a person , any person, can value themselves from their own realities, and these need not be of successful nature necessarily.
If you consider that we are part of a species that lives on a gigantic sphere floating in space and at the same time traveling at tremendous speed, and a world culture of art you are free to delve into, or marvelous places to get you away from whatever little hell on paradise you may find yourself stuck into.
If all you can manage is to stay healthy and sane, you did great.
On top of that , love, the marvelous company of dogs, and infinite possibilities that life has.

Around the Bay Gal said...

Great post!