Is the acknowledgement of one’s flaws a reflection of self-esteem, self-image, and wanting to be someone you are 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 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 don’t 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.) But 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. And 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 knowing their “order”). But 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 strove 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 you give up wanting to be acceptable you instantly get to belong.
Remember, children 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 just 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 create an identity to be proud of or offended for. 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 you keep thinking them you are literally propelling yourself through a well-worn pattern in your mind and it will be much more difficult to fit the mental/emotional stick into the spokes of your narratives, if you get my cycling metaphor. And then if you really get spinning, you’re on a form of track in your brain and you’ll have to get really conscious to nudge yourself back to awareness of the present moment, rather than on your accelerating commentary about your present moment.
Be who you 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. And so we stop analyzing situations relative to Scott, or Henry, or Sherry or Gurtap. Instead we just wonder if our skills apply 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 you’re doing that, then you’re primarily functioning where and when you make sense. It makes life much simpler.
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. Just think of some of the cruel people you’ve seen. A lot of them have kids. So if a kid hears that all day, they think that’s how you act, just like you walk a lot like one of your parents. And so this innocent but terrible behaviour is all we’re running into. It’s got nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with them. Everyone sees their own reality. Trying to reconcile them is futile. Surrender. Your anger isn’t with them. It’s the monotony of constantly asking an unanswerable question. There’s no value in asking why people do things any more than there is in asking something like, what does the letter F taste like? We would have to witness every moment of their life to hope to know.
You want to stop failing? You want people to like you? 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 wrong direction to go in life. And do that because it makes sense. Because everyone only sees their thoughts about you anyway, and there’s no way for you to manage that. You have no idea what other people might have said about you behind your back or how people might have misinterpreted this or that. But that is the bliss of enlightenment. Just Be yourself. Because no matter what, things are always okay just the way they are. Even if they aren’t 😉
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.