I was listening to a show on Spreaker today and it was about self-esteem. I am often reminded about the epidemic we have in this World with low self-esteem. In my opinion, it’s the culprit in many instances of strife among humanity, whether between two strangers, or entire populations and countries.
Self-esteem is important and a lot of us grow up without it. I was fortunate to have a mother that really drove home that I could do and be anything I wanted to do or be. She never limited my potential the way so many others did. She saw me for what I was and could become, not what I wasn’t and in the eyes of many could never be. Many teachers would look down on me because I was the “beige” boy (as I call myself) meaning the bi-racial boy and I attended school in, at the time, an upper middle class area of Dallas (now it’s lower middle class primarily – times are a changin’). Because I was one of the very few racial minorities (I remember TWO black kids in my elementary school, and one guy who was 1/2 Hispanic, and me 1/2 Black and 1/2 White). That was it for the first 6 years of school for me – from pre-school through 5th grade. I would occasionally see an Asian kid in my class or what have you but rarely.
So due to my differences, my teachers would often have low expectations from me – until they got to know me and understood I was sharp as a whip and extremely interested in knowledge. Even then, many of them would still treat me like the outcast I often was, but I was oblivious to it, for the most part, at the time. I wasn’t old enough to notice the nuances and the favoritism but I somehow internalized it anyway. So this, coupled with the fact that very few of the kids wanted to be friends outside of school and very few of them really actually got to know me very well, it could have been that I was to develop a very low self esteem. However, despite all of this, because of my mom and family, I know I was smart and I knew I was talented (playing Violin since I was 5 and piano since I was 8, a great artist and a great intellect for my age) and so I let that be my self-esteem – my knowledge that I knew what I was despite how the teachers and other kids would treat me simply because I was different than they were.
On the last week of 5th grade, about 2 weeks before my 10th birthday, I handed out invitations to a skating party that was all paid for, all the food and all the fun my mom was paying for. I probably handed out 20 invitations. On the day of my birthday party at the skating rink, I had my friends from outside of school that I was close with, about 5 or 6 people, and out of the 20 or so invites from my school that I handed out, only ONE kid showed up, Jackie Reese I believe was her name. I was humiliated and depressed over it but I went out and skating my butt off and had fun with the friends that DID show up and opened the gifts they gave me.
I guess my point is, we all go through things in life, and these are minor instances in my life, and all in the very early days of my youth, and I have gone through FAR FAR FAR worse then all of these examples as I grew into an adult and have suffered the “slings and arrows” of people’s hatred and bigotry and yet I am still here, stronger than ever, and pretty much immune to it unless it comes from someone I love. So I have to say my self-esteem is very high even though others may think it shouldn’t be. But the reality is, I like the way I look (most days and depending on the lighting ha), I am self-employed in my own business that I started almost 15 years ago now and it’s thriving, and I am able to do what I love for a living, many people cannot say that, I have a close knit group of friends and family that I would do anything for and I have a husband that I love very much. I have these things I have because I have worked for them (including the material things and the relationships I have both). I have every reason to have a great self-esteem because I’m fucking fabulous. And if you don’t agree – then you’re obviously a moron. 🙂
There’s a free online test where you can see if you have a healthy or low-self-esteem at http://getesteem.com/Files/Sorensen_Self-Esteem_Test.pdf.
Let me know what you score and we can talk about it on an upcoming show about self-esteem.