In my email, I receive a lot of press releases. Every day, I get between 5 and 10. 99% of them I delete – but last week, one of them stuck with me. In fact, it still remains in my inbox, and every time I check my email, I see it.
"The lies low self-esteem will tell you". That's the title, with the subtitle,"Latest research indicates that battling self – esteem issues is a mind game".
Which brought me back to something that happened on my trip to San Francisco.
And it sounds really stupid, really vain and self-centered and stupid, and, dare I say, somewhat arrogant to even admit this, but I was actually genuinely astonished anytime anyone said they were happy to see me, that they'd remembered me from another trip, that they had hoped I would be on this trip because they wanted to see me again. Every time, I was blown away. Why would someone be happy to see me? Why would they care if I was on the trip?
I know that when I was planning for the trip, there were many people that I wanted to see again. Ruth, Eddie, Robyn, Walt, Rick, Kathy, Lexie, Jeff - They were all names that were on the foremost of my mind, people that I'd had fun with before and couldn't wait to see again. But the thought that one of those people actually thought that about me was a shock.
And, with God as my witness, I'm not telling you this so that I can get a pat on the back, an "oh you're so special", or any kind of adulation whatsoever. I was honestly very shocked. It's that old bugaboo, the low self-esteem, the character flaw from which I try to distance myself but with which I've never quite been successful.
I have long struggled with that internal voice, the put down - the "Oh, I'm so stupid, can you believe anyone would make such a mistake, hahahaha - that's me, right there!" - that constant, low running background noise, the chatter that is constant and insistent and ever prevalent. That internal muttering that says You took a great picture? It's a total fluke. You wrote something well received? THAT will never happen again! She's happy to see you? There must not be anyone better to hang out with. You made them laugh? They were laughing AT you, not with you!
There's a conundrum, I think, for women especially. If we think we are worthy, think we are good and decent people - well, then, we must be bragging and self centered and boasty. And no one wants that, and so we develop this constant running self put down.
In the press release, it was suggested that everyone who deals with this - even if it's a joking, let me put myself down before anyone else can do it! - make a conscious effort to notice each and every time you put yourself down - and then cover it immediately with a positive thought. I've been trying to do this, and it feels weird, awkward and self centered.
What about you? Do you have that internal dialogue running? Do you squelch it? Do you listen to it? How do you handle it?