Monday, September 12, 2011

Self-esteem manifesto: real-life examples

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:
Self-Esteem Issue #1: Work.

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:

Pride in:
- 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

More pride:
- 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.

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