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Posts Tagged ‘self hatred’

We will be meeting on Monday 5/23/11, 7:30-9:30pm

Our topic will be

dis·es·teem
– verb (used with object) 1. to hold in low regard; think unfavorably of.
– noun 2. lack of esteem;  disfavor; low regard.
Origin: 1585–95; dis + esteem

I came across this term in Guilt, Anger & God: The Patterns of Our Discontents, C. FitzSimons Allison, 2003:

Another characteristic of the civilized person is disesteem, the lack of self-esteem, or even self-hatred.  Civilization must not only restrain, it must give ideals . . . and the higher the ideals, the greater the judgment. . . Under such arduous demands, I look in the mirror and do not like what I see . . . Disesteem is the easiest of all personal factors to underestimate, and there is no one who does not suffer in some acute way from its pervasive ache.

Many point to childhood experiences, which is were we first learn our civilization culture, as the potential building blocks of low self-esteem. Were you validated as a child?  Were there expectations you felt were unreasonable or impossible to reach?  Was there a lack of discipline in your household?  Were you compared unfavorably to others?  How were your mistakes or failures handled by your parents?  Your achievements?  What feelings did any/all of these situations create in you?

Parents/elders are just people, just like us, with strengths and weaknesses – anyone raising children of their own learn this lesson.  But children can place their caregivers on tall pedestals.  To obtain ‘love’ from a parent, some of us learn some rather peculiar behavior and thinking.  Even after a parent is gone or out of our lives, we internalize the ‘lessons learned’ and they inform our behavior today.  Often this is buried very deeply in our unconscious and hard to access.

To explore your personal self-esteem issues:

  • Identify the critical voice within you?  What is its repeated message to you?
  • How do you feel in response to this voice?  What reactions does it trigger in you?
  • From whom does this voice come?  Who does it represent to you?
  • What does it mean to keep this criticism inside of you? (e.g. does this possibly represent an emotional connection with your antagonist?)
  • Do you see a ‘closed loop’ created in this type of thinking, fulfilling the very thing addressed by the critical voice?
  • Can you differentiate the critical voice from yourself?  Would it be possible to have a conversation with the voice to understand it better?
  • You developed your critical voice for a reason – to help you survive in the world.  What is it trying to protect you from?
  • The disesteem within you is not your enemy, but your protector.  Unless it is satisfied that you are safe, it will exert a forceful control over your decisions.  How can you reassure it that you are safe as you enter areas IT feels are too dangerous to explore?

I look forward to meeting with you on this topic!

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