Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Struggling with Self Esteem

It was cold--really cold--outside yesterday. Although this time of year I'd rather be running outside, it just didn't seem realistic that I would actually get my body outside in the frigid temperatures, so to the indoor track I went. I musta looked might goofy giggling to myself as I ran around on my own around the track...the latest story about Dave going to the dentist on the Vinyl Cafe podcast made it difficult to run in a straight line at a few points.

The story was over before my run was, so I then chose to listen to a podcast of an interview Mary Hynes did with Anne Lamott. It was quite interesting...Anne is an accomplished author of a dozen or so best selling books. She has some interesting insights (e.g. "The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty") which she talks about in refreshingly candid ways.

She is open about her low self esteem and the struggle, despite repeatedly writing best sellers, that she has when she sits down to write. She has trouble believing that she can possibly write anything that anybody might want to read--she doesn't believe in herself. She talked about the little stickie she has on her computer that tells her to just get something down. It's a small way of comforting herself that it doesn't have to be great, or even good--an initial draft just has to start somewhere. That releases her from the endless excuses that can arise (e.g. I must call the periodontist for an appointment next month before I sit down to write a word) that alleviates the anxiety that comes along with not believing in oneself.

I'm not sure how someone who doesn't believe in herself dares to be so open with others about that fact (most people who struggle with self-esteem hide that fact, often quite effectively--leaving another to feel that this is a uniquely awful and lonely position to be in), but it is an interesting listen to hear her talk about her struggle so candidly.

One last strategy she is familiar with using to cope with who she is and her place in the world: three prayers, very simple ones.
One in the morning that says, "Whatever", releasing her expections and opening herself up to possibilities.
One at the end of the day that consists of "Oh well", confessing the shortcomings of herself and others, and releasing them.
One to be used periodically during the day: "Oh, WOW!" as one looks and finds moments of beauty and wonder.

She is an advocate of simple...this holds promise for us all.

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