Is the acknowledgement of our flaws a reflection of self-esteem, is it just another self-image, or is it wanting to be someone we’re not? I need clarity on this Scott. Thanks and have a great day.
Thank you thank you thank you. This is a subject which can be beneficial to so many people. I really do appreciate it. And these are such fun, but complex, subjects to write about.
Okay, first I would like to evaporate the word ‘flaws.’ People don’t really have flaws, they have aspects of themselves that may not suit the situation they are in. It’s not a flaw to not know violin, or be bad at math, or struggle with anger issues. We are polyhedrons, and these are just some of our many sides, all of which emerge from our experiences in becoming who we believe we are today. (See: The Truman Show.)
Certainly, there are times where one shape is required, and other times when other shapes work better. This is why someone can fail in one realm and be a huge success in another. Colin Munn was supposedly a ‘failure’ at school. But it turns out that as Colin James, he’s a genius at the audible mathematics that make up a guitar. He wasn’t flawed in the first instance, he was just out of his natural context.
Secondly, I would like to discuss this idea of a ‘self.’ As Ram Dass says, “The game isn’t about becoming somebody, it’s about becoming nobody.” For you to have a ‘self’ you need to judge the world and create separating language between you and others. And you will use comparison to rank yourself and others–yet that is such a weird idea when you see the world from an impersonal, open perspective.
Even wolves don’t rank each other. They’re not all huddled together thinking, ‘Okay, Jerry’s definitely above Steve. But I think Sara would rip Jerry’s throat out for a morsel of squirrel.’ The wolves don’t ruminate and create egos. They simply are themselves (and yes, sometimes that “areness” demands fighting in regards to discovering their ‘order’).
The important point being: they aren’t striving to climb the ladder to pack CEO–they are just authentically living out who they truly are and their pack order is simply how they naturally shake out. The dominance chain isn’t decided, or striven for; it naturally exists much like different weights of oils will layer naturally in a bottle. That’s not one oil being better than another. That’s just where it belongs. Do you see? If we give up wanting to be acceptable, we instantly get to belong.
When thinking about confidence, it’s important to remember that uninterrupted children will naturally feel self esteem. We don’t need to think some positive or strong narrative to have self esteem. Kids prove that, because they act that way before they know the words to tell themselves any egocentric narratives.
Except in the most tragic situations, with mitigating circumstances, kids never doubt the fact that they belong. And in doing so they don’t need self esteem because, until they can speak fairly fluently, they don’t yet have the ability to create an identity to be proud of, or offended for. Prior to ego there is just the experiences–not a memory-storing ego replaying and judging those experiences like an armchair quarterback operating from an assumed perspective.
What I’m saying is, any thoughts about a ‘you’ are ego-based. If we keep thinking them, we are literally propelling ourselves through well-worn patterns in our minds. Those habits will make things much more difficult, when it comes to jamming a silent stick into the spokes of your narratives–if you get my cycling metaphor. If you really get spinning, you’ll enter a course of thought in your brain, and you’ll have to get really conscious to nudge yourself back to awareness of the present moment.
To achieve self esteem, rather than struggle and strive against an outside world, we are better to just be who we are. As I’ve written before, humility isn’t the opposite of hubris. Insecurity is the opposite of hubris. Humility is the fulcrum in the middle. It is where we know what we are not good at, and we know what we are good at. That’s why it’s important to stop analyzing situations relative to Scott, or Henry, or Sherry or Gurtap.
Rather than compare, we can simply ask ourselves if our skills apply to the context, and should they be expressed? Or is this a weak area for us, where we’re better to try not to do too much without quite a bit of consultation with trusted sources? If we’re doing that, then we’re primarily functioning where and when we make sense. That makes life much simpler.
Again: You don’t need to gain confidence. Confidence is natural. You just get in its way with your weak talk. (You might want to read How Strong Do You Think You Are? ) And what others think of you is largely irrelevant to you enjoying your own life. People will always have opinions. Everyone sees their own reality. Trying to reconcile them is futile.
Do you want to stop failing? Do you want people to like you? Do you want to develop differently than you have? Easy: stop thinking a ‘you’ into existence. Then there is no one to fail, no one to like, and no one to take the wrong direction in life. And if you don’t put effort into a narrative about how you’re wrong for being you, then your self esteem will naturally be present.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.