I AM WHO MY FEELINGS TELL ME I AM
More than ever, it seems that our self-image is at risk of becoming whatever our emotions tell us it is. We are prone to subject our self-concept to the emotions we experience when we use others as a mirror of ourselves, and so often see ourselves to be what we THINK others see us to be. When we doubt the ability of our mind to tell us what is true and right, independent of what others say or what we think they think, our tendency is to surrender our minds to our emotions, since they seem to have authority that our intellect lacks. Social interaction, particularly and more recently social media, has made it even more likely we will surrender our minds to our emotions. Social media permits all users to “manage” their image, to permit others to see only what they want them to see. You place high value on the number of “likes”. It becomes social capital. And if you don’t have enough of it, you think poorly of yourself. In our day and age, our need to be “as good as” or “better than”, whether we experience those emotions face to face or virtually, has trapped us into feeling anxious and stressed about what we think of ourselves.
THE TRAP: I’M NOT “WHATEVER” ENOUGH!
We have convinced ourselves that we can never be good enough, thin enough, successful enough, rich enough, pretty or good-looking enough, smart enough, and so many other “not-something-enoughs”. In our desire for social acceptance, we are enslaved and trapped by our emotions as we make irrational comparisons of what we selectively believe ourselves to be, based on what we think others believe us to be, to what we selectively choose to believe others are. Self-confidence, self-identity, self-worth, self-discipline, and self-esteem can only be discovered and strengthened when we escape the trap.
The ability to like yourself, and to be confident about yourself, is so very dependent on you knowing what your core values are. How do you know what your core values are. Read the following statements, and decide if you agree or disagree. Your agreement or disagreement is determined by your core values.
• It’s okay to go to bed without having brushed your teeth.
• Same sex marriages should be legal in every country worldwide.
• It’s totally acceptable to pick your nose in a public place.
• Life should mean life in a prison sentence.
• An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth.
• Eye contact must be made at all times.
• Money doesn’t buy happiness.
• All politicians are liars.
• All religions cause wars.
• It’s survival of the fittest.
Core values – they are the unspoken rules, regulations, terms, and conditions you have agreed to live by. They act like an internal navigation system. They guide and even determine the choices you make, how you behave, how you live your life. Some will serve you, others will hinder you. Some will be rigid and unalterable, others will be more pliable. Some you inherited, others you learned as you went. Some have changed or will change over time, others will have grown stronger. Core value work is the core work of liking yourself.
Core value work is the core work of building self-esteem: the ability to like yourself, be confident in yourself, respect yourself – from the inside.