Here are two real-life issues holding my self-esteem to a slither. First, a look at my Pyramid of Esther's Esteem (PEE) from my first self-esteem post:
Example A: I have a coworker who has a drool problem. She violates level 3, "others not spitting on me," in response to which I flail my ego around and want to die. I can't imagine a bathing technique that could clean me of her spit. Then I remember my pyramid -- kudos to historical Esther for drawing it -- and realize I've been thrown back to level 2, "observing basic self-care." So I "protect mental state" and "avoid evil people" by walking away.
Her spit fades with time, but the venom leaves a streak, and every time I have to work with her I wonder if it's Heart Healthy.
Solution: Metaphorical rain poncho with built-in (maybe metaphorical) defibrillator?
Example B: Complaining. All of the servers complain about all of the other servers to me, so I don't need a flowchart to know that they're complaining about me to everyone else.
Try as I might, I regularly succumb to the complaining. I don't want to be voted off the island, so I humor everyone's complaining and join in: "If I affirm what you're saying, will you not vote me off the island?" My most basic fear at work is that I will suffer the equivalent of death -- which, in this case, is not getting fired, but being gossiped about incessantly without my knowing. (As Drooler wasn't fired after arguing with a customer in front of the owner, job security is not my primary worry).
1. Say "I'm not gossiping anymore." Drawback: I'm seen as arrogant and suffer (secret) verbal obliteration.
2. Keep gossiping. Drawback: I want to incinerate myself when I do.
3. Nod, smile, and walk away. There are no drawbacks here. Everyone just wants to vent. They don't care what your response is as long as it's vaguely affirming.
4. Make it a game. I do this sometimes, feeding them and figuring out how fast the pipelines travel. Drawback: it might make me evil.
Self-Esteem Issue #2: I no longer get a self-esteem boost from comparing myself to others. At some point I realized I didn't want to be that way anymore. But I haven't found anything to replace it yet.
Example A: We like to think that brains are an ACHIEVEMENT and beauty isn't. No. They are both accidents. We are born with what we have.
Example B: My ecological footprint is small. Who cares? I've been exposed to cubic tons of green thinking, and many other people haven't.
Example C: I know lots of big words. See Example B, subbing in cubic pages.
Example D: The music I listen to/TV shows I watch/stuff I read/things I do/place I live are REAL, man. Everyone else is a joke. This one is one notch above...
Example E: Anything anyone has ever said in middle school.
Solution: Replace "compare oneself to others" with another way to derive self-esteem. I'm not sure what it is yet, but I think it might be pride. Not deadly-sins pride. This kind:
- Ignoring evil people
- Not being an asshole at work
- Using your design, talents, skills, and knowledge to do things that make you shine
- Not pretending that the niche you occupy that's given you everything you have, including your likes and dislikes, is the BEST NICHE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, MAN
- Withdrawing from an argument when you know it's time
- Showing others you care about and support them
- Defining your personal ethos and following through on it
- Being brave
Pride is a new concept for me. I always thought it was bad, but bad pride -- the seven-deadly-sins kind -- is actually vanity. This kind of pride is standing-up-straight pride, and it won't float away when the apocalypse happens and everyone else on Earth has died and you have to find a way to preserve your self-esteem but there's no one around to compare yourself to.