February 1, 2013

                                                    Where do we find self-esteem?

     The nurse delivered my newborn freshly scrubbed and wrapped in a pink receiving blanket like a little hors d’oeuvre. Her breath came in quick huffs through tiny puckered lips delivering a scent of innocence that filled my airways. Lifting her to my face, I ushered hushed and reverent promise’s that only she could hear.

     “I promise,” I whispered, “I will love you so much that you’ll never feel worthless. I will tell you every day how smart, beautiful and capable you are. I’m going to give you self-esteem so you’ll be strong and never feel bad about yourself, so you can love yourself.”

    Her sweet lips parted lifting on one side like a smile of acknowledgment. We were both naïve enough to believe in my assurances.

     When I was young, I thought that boys didn’t struggle from low self-esteem. I don’t know why I believed this myth. Maybe it was because males seemed more powerful and in my ignorance, I falsely perceived aggression and power as self-confidence or worth.

     What I couldn’t know then was that you can’t love someone enough to give them self-esteem. No matter how much we’d like it to be true, it just isn’t. Self-worth or self-esteem is a gift we must each unwrap within ourselves.

     Don’t get me wrong, love helps. Love buoy’s, love heals, love transforms, but we must discover this love within ourselves, about ourselves and for ourselves. Even though our parents, siblings, lovers, friends and others proclaim their love for us, somehow, it’s not enough to build our self-esteem.

     Lack of self-worth does not discriminate. It can be found lacking in the rich, poor, educated, ignorant, CEOs, maids, males, females, old folks, and young people, in every culture and on and on. Perhaps, it’s a soul thing. You know, a lesson we all agree we must learn together and alone.

      For some, it remains elusive from beginning to end. Others discover the gift within themselves along the journey of life. The really lucky find it early and some commit to helping others find their own. I found mine in stages. First, I stopped judging myself and others, made room for forgiveness and began to let a little love and compassion in each day. Slowly I saw my own worth and I learned to love and I held on with everything I had.

     There are no shortages of teachers who want to show us a path to ourselves. Tony Robbins, Louise  Hay, Marianna Williamson, Debbie Ford, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Jack Canfield  just to name a few. There are countless churches with varied religions who promise a path to self-discovery and love through God.  And you know, I think “all the roads lead to Paris,” the question is which road will you take to discover yours?