Friday, January 11, 2008

Self Acceptance Self Esteem - Hand in Hand for Our Recovery

This was written this morning before work . . .

Today's blog post is derived from Dr. Robert Anthony’s book Total Self Confidence. I bought this book and multiple copies years ago as part of my recovery in trying to be more successful in my career. The book was helpful then, because I had no training or education on how my mind worked, and how my thinking was affecting my success or lack of success.

Now I read this book and see it needs to be reread from the point of view, how do I become more of myself – in order to stay a successful person - a successful adult in work and at life. I was fortunate. I was not successful, then became successful and I am not drifting (or being sucked into) toward the vortex of self-destruction through the disease of alcoholism. [Note to self; interesting that I wrote “self-destruction.” Is this true? It is interesting that I wrote this – it seems accurate – I am reacting and getting into a negative habit pattern of reacting badly.]

~~~~~~~ We pause here for a brief interlude ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My wife came downstairs just a second ago. I engaged in a conversation about her “not feeling well" the past two days, where she had a fever, but the temperature was down when I asked her about it. I don’t trust her. I don't believe her when she says something now. So I am sure I asked her this with the tone of not scepticism. But even here I am looking back for this second at how I got sucked into the vortex. I should never have engaged and asked. It was too tempting. I feel angst in the lower part of my abdomen and my shoulders are achy all of a sudden.

Why did I engage? I wanted acceptance from her? Why wouldn’t I? I do care for her. I want acceptance because she is the one I married and the one I want to share my feelings with. I know I cannot do this any longer – because she uses this against me as a tool to push my hot-buttons, and make me feel bad. I know this intellectually. I know not to do this. But I am still “emotionally” wanting that acceptance and feeling of “she cares for me.” I need to work on this. This seems to me, to be crazy. Avoid your wife? Don't show your weaknesses? Don't describe how you are feeling? This is insane. It defies trust and the relationship.

And this is – the exact reason as to why I am typing the next couple of paragraphs.

In his book, page 31 – (Dr Robert Anthony’s book Total Self Confidence), he writes,
“It is a demonstrated fact of life that YOU CAN NEVER BE “BETTER” THAN YOUR OWN SELF-ESTEEM; that is, how you feel about yourself in relation to others, based on your sense of self-acceptance.

And then he writes a little later:
"Positive self-esteem is not the intellectual acceptance of one’s talents or accomplishments. It is personal self-acceptance. Developing positive self-esteem is not an ego trip. You are not in love with yourself in an egotistical sense. You simply realize that you are a truly unique and worthy individual; one who does not need to impress others with your achievements or material possessions."

Here are two statements I pulled out of the above the resonated with me:

  • It is the personal self-acceptance . . . of your talents or accomplishments.
  • You simply realize you are a truly unique and worthy individual.
REVISED - (Previously, it may have read to be self-centered, which it was not intended to be)
We do not need any ones acceptance of how we are as human beings. It is our acceptance of ourselves that really matters. This is not an "ego thing" or arrogance in any shape or form. It is really accepting yourself - ourselves and respecting what and who we are. We are not perfect. What I do is not perfect. But if we look at ourselves, we aren't half bad! Like the old ad, "We've come a long way baby!"

While it would be nice to have an occasional pat on the back, we should try not to become "needing" of that recognition for us to feel good about ourselves. When we begin to "need" that recognition, we place control in the hands of others and the control we give them is about whether we "like ourselves." We don't need to be "approved" of by others. No one has that "seal of approval" and no one has that kind of power.

When someone says, "Nice job," say "Thank you." Simple and sweet and short. Accept the compliment for the project or piece of work. And remember that the project you are working on is not you. Because the project may not work or may fail or it may have defects. What we do is not who we are. If we are evaluated it should be for our actions, or performance at work, but never as a human being.

When someone evaluates you or me, on a personal level, say "Thank you, I am a work in process" with no sarcasm or tone to your voice. Just, ahhhhh (releasing any tension), smiling and in a loving voice, "Thank you, I am a work in process." It will stun people and stop the evaluation. And we can depart without

So, my word to all of us is this; Love yourself unconditionally. Accept who you are. Work from where you are with what you have by working on getting better and better, every day. And last, if you slip, like we all occasionally do, don't beat yourself up about it. Learn the lesson and throw away the experience.

These quotes and statements hit me this morning. I need reminding of this point of self-acceptance every day.
Good Luck - And I hope you are well.

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