Guest Post: Self Esteem
Guest Post by Two of Three
“My dog ate my homework”. “I only date ninjas.” “I do all my own stunts.” Cute t-shirts with funny quotes abound at the elementary school where I work. I saw one in the halls one day that read “I am the best person I know”. Either the little guy wearing it had a mom with a great sense of humor or he was a kid with a great self esteem. I hope it was the latter. I can relate. Before you think I’m full of myself, let me explain.
As long as I can remember, I have liked me. I like who I am. I like what I do. I like what I think. Excluding a couple of awkward years in junior high, I have been very satisfied with me. Not to say that everything I do is good. It’s not. I stumble along the way. But I pick myself up. I do dumb things. But I forgive myself. I fail at my endeavors pretty regularly. But tomorrow is a new day.
I totally and completely have taken this for granted. It wasn’t until I was asked to write this post that I even considered why that is. This is what I have come up with.
I grew up with a mom who saw her children through rose colored glasses. She loved us unconditionally; when we broke stuff, when we failed, even when we hurt her. She never asked us to be anything we weren’t already. She only truly wanted one thing. For her children to be happy. This is the greatest gift she ever gave me. If I was good enough for my mother, I am good enough for me.
Another idea that has occurred to me is that I am very satisfied with the mediocre. I have noticed that perfectionists put a lot of effort into projects that they are never fully pleased with. My bar is low enough that it is fairly easy to reach! My quilt squares are not the most accurate in class, but I like them. My home is not the fanciest, but I am comfortable. I am not the most spiritual person I know, but I try to find a relationship with Deity that meets my needs. I am easy to please and that bleeds over into being content with myself.
It has also not escaped me that this may be a blessing from God. When I think of spiritual gifts, I think of the standard issue gifts: healing, interpretation, an understanding of scripture and doctrine, revelation etc. But what about this. What if, instead of being handed the “Craving Light and Knowledge” card, I got the “Self Esteem” card? Perhaps I came with it. If that is the case, I think I made out like a bandit.
If I had a dime for every person who has said, ”You are the happiest/most content person I know”, I would have…well, a lot of dimes. My Mormon friends and relations chalk this up to the fact that I am a member of the Church, as in “Of course you are happy because there is just something special about Mormons!” But as I was a happy person before I was a member, and also now that I am having doubts about where I stand in relation to the church, I don’t think it has anything to do with Mormonism at all.
I can’t honestly comment on the “what if I had grown up in the church” because I don’t know what my experiences would have been in that alternate plane. Perhaps, I would have felt more of the weight and responsibility until it burdened my outlook. Perhaps, I would have been twice as happy. Who knows? I can say that my adult experience in the church has only reaffirmed what I already know. God likes me just the way I am.
Life hasn’t been golden for me. It is not a piece of cake for anyone. I have survived tragedy, experienced pain, and suffered all of life’s bumps in the road. Yet, I see life as my mother saw me- good enough. Everyday, I find something to laugh about. My healthy self esteem certainly influences how I feel about the world around me. It’s a nice place and I’m glad I’m here. At the risk of sounding like a children’s book: I may not be the best person I know, but I like me.
How does your upbringing affect your sense of self? What about Mormonism?