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Looking at too many mirrors!

October 5, 2011

The Pioneer Woman doesn’t usualy provoke much deeper thought form me than ‘ooo, fun” or “ooo, yummy” but recently she had a guest post that was reflecting on self-esteem and where does it come from and do we need the notion at all?

One thought in particular has stuck with me and I have been ruminating not just on how to pass it along to my children but also on where I am with this myself. The statement has taken the form of a question in my mind and it goes like this: should we be developing our self esteem by looking in a mirror and reflecting on ourselves or should it come more from looking through windows at the rest of the world?

I think overall I have a pretty healthy self-esteem. I don’t think I am perfect, don’t feel that I am narcissistic but it has been a long time since I have been in a room with anyone that makes me uncomfortable and am comfortable in a room all by myself. There are things I need to work on, phycically, emotionally, spiritually. I recognize that and I dedicate time to that but not to the exclusion of other things that are equally important.

I have tried to define how this was established by my parents and I am a little lost. I can’t really define it but I assume that is where it started and I wonder how I pass it along. Chris and I both recognize that those things will be different for our son and our daughter but how does it work?

I did not realize that the concept of “self esteem” is so recent. It is only about 50 years old. Children of the 60’s were the first to be reared with this idea even in play, but it has become such an important “quality” for us to instill. So how?

I am definitely torn. I like the idea of it not being just about me, that it doesn’t just come from reflection on myself but how I fit into the world around me: family, community, globally. But I also,have a very strong internal locus of control that defies anyone to tell me who I am or what I can do/be/accomplish.

Once again, I find myself leaning toward balance.

How do I figure out who I am, what I contribute, what I need and what I can give without looking at the mirror and seeing what I am made of and value myself not just on the sum of my parts without spending some quality time in self-reflection? At the same time, it is difficult to reflect on myself without images and expectations from the outside creeping in and influencing the standard by which I measure myself. I must look outward to establish the goal, set the bar. Mirrors, windows.

Ruminations that turn into ramblings can be dangerous. All work and no play…

So, I would like some outside perspective. What do you think? How do you teach this to girls and to boys? How does this impact your adult life? Go ahead, be my window!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Melissa permalink
    October 6, 2011 12:59 am

    I think loving your kids unconditionally is important. They need to know that you will love them even when they are unlovable. At our house, we are all probably the “ugliest” at home. I think it is because it is where we feel the safest. We know we are a family and love each other no matter what. Ultimately, the only one that always loves me unconditionally is God. He knows all about me and still chose to love me and that always makes me feel better about myself.

  2. October 6, 2011 2:15 am

    Melissa, that is Chris’s perspective, too. We love them and let them know there is nothing they can do to change that, but still hold them to certain expectations and make sure they also see that we can be disappointed in an action or a behavior. He also says it is as much about what you don’t do as a parent: make them feel like a chore, give them reason to think they are not important or a priority.

  3. Melissa permalink
    October 7, 2011 8:34 pm

    I wrote this quote from a blog I read and put it by my computer. “Remember you are not managing an inconvenience. You are raising a human being.” I have to remind myself of this when I hear “mom” for the two hundredth time on any given day. It is even good to remember this about any human being we are dealing with. They are not an inconvenience maybe just a divine appointment. Hope you will be enjoying your sweet little boy soon. Nothing like a newborn.

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