A couple of months ago, I wrote this post about the theme song to the show Arthur and the value I found in it’s message. A new comment arrived this week on that post addressing the issue of believing in yourself. After a couple of exchanges with the commenter, I realized that it would be easier for me to share my thoughts in a whole new post. This post is to address my thoughts on self-esteem and the message that I take from that Arthur song.
When I say that I want my daughters to believe in themselves it means I want them to connect with and follow their Higher Selves. I believe we all have souls (or are souls) and that that part of us is innately good. I believe it is there that we find our connection to Divinity (aka God or The Universe). At the core of us is an internal guidance system. It is the way God speaks to us. It leads us to our true path and away from the things that will harm us. When we trust our gut and our instincts, the results are almost always good (though sometimes it is a long-term good that we don’t see immediately). This part of us has the best for humanity in mind. If we are in touch with it, we will find that we feel compassion and empathy for others. When people around us are happy or hurting we feel it. When we pass a homeless person on the street it is this part of us that compels us to offer money or send a blessing their way. It is our higher self that urges us to reach out to the kid that doesn’t fit into the crowd. It urges us to stop and move a turtle out of the middle of the road or help a stranded driver on the highway. Our higher selves signal us when we have an inspired idea. We engage with our higher selves when we enter “the zone” while doing something that we are talented at.
This is what I think of when I hear the opening song to Arthur. I want my girls to believe in their Higher Selves.
What I am not talking about is EGO. There are a lot of kids that have been taught to believe in themselves and in turn have become ego-maniacs. The measure of success becomes material rewards at all costs. I am currently watching the show “Breaking Bad” and there was a minor character on it who was the perfect example of someone with this kind of high self-esteem. The guy pulls into a parking lot driving a BMW convertible. He cuts in front of “Walt” and steals a parking spot. He gets out of the car speaking very loudly on his cell phone. During his conversation he talks about how great he is and how he will definitely get the promotion at work. Then he sees a pretty woman and makes a shameful comment about her appearance and proceeds to announce what he’d like to do to her. This was a fictional character who represents a great many people in society. I’m sure they believe in themselves and are very confident, but also cut off from their Higher Selves.
I hope that through my example, I can teach my daughters to take the time to connect with their inner guidance system. I want them to uncover their talents and find success. I want them to have enough faith and self-respect to walk away if their peers ever encourage them to do something harmful. I want them to feel love without needing the constant approval of the people around them. I want them to be wise, discerning and brave…not selfish!
The following is written by a dear friend, Ray. I met Ray at Unity Eastside where we were co-teachers of the Uniteens. Like others I have mentioned before, I consider Ray one of my spiritual companions! He has also been a dedicated reader of this blog from the very beginning!
It was a Friday and I had just returned from a conference in Palm Beach where I had been part of a team that had facilitated a workshop for those with developmental disabilities. I was full of myself and couldn’t wait to share my successful experiences with my wife of two years and my newborn son as well as her two boys. Imagine my shock when I walked into an empty, newly purchased home. She had left me. I walked around in a daze for that weekend and felt that on Monday my life would again reflect some kind of normalcy when I returned to work. Upon arriving Monday, the Program Director called me into his office and told me that the program was going in another direction and my position was being eliminated. My world was turned upside down. Suddenly all the things that I thought provided meaning in my life were gone. I had no savings, no means of support, and no future prospects. What was I to do? Life has a way of providing solace and opportunities to grow if we listen to our indwelling spirit. But then I knew nothing of an indwelling spirit. I lived totally from my ego self which I defined as the sum of all the learning and experiences that had occurred in my life. There was no other source that defined who I was. In an alone and depressed state, messages or guideposts started appearing in my life. I had no idea where they came from but there were suggestions that I was to act on certain impulses. I learned to trust and follow those impulses. This was, I learned, the inner higher self that we are all created to be but which is smothered by the conditioning (or programming) that has occurred since birth. Slowly, and I mean over a period of years, I began to change. In retrospect, this is what I’ve learned. I must pay attention to the higher consciousness in my life. That higher consciousness has only one request. I must express love. To do so, I must overcome the lower self judgments that I’ve learned here in earth school. I must guard my thoughts and discern events in my life through a filter consisting of “is this an expression of my higher self or predicated upon conditioned programming?”. So where am I right now? Well, I’m still here and learning lessons every day. My purpose is to express joy and happiness to all that I meet and to live passionately in service to others. I’m sure there will be other changes in my life and I look forward to them with a positive expectancy.
One thing I have learned to do over the past few years is trust my instincts. I have figured out that there is something directing me from within and it always seems to know what’s best for me. Sometimes it leads me to people and places that don’t make a lot of sense, like when it woke me up at 3am insisting that I write a letter to a friend (whose mother was dying) and reveal all of my deepest held beliefs about God and death. I wrote the letter and emailed it the next day. My friend lost his mother a week later. I don’t know what affect my letter had on his grieving process, but I do know I was meant to write it.
In particular, it is important to follow your instincts when it comes to your body and health. When something is physically wrong with you (like my strep throat incident I wrote about) and you need to see a doctor I think your body lets you know, you sense it. Today(7-30) I experienced the effects of not trusting my instincts in relation to my body. On Monday, I had a doctor appointment and scheduled a procedure to take place today. The procedure is best done when a particular window is open. For me, the window of opportunity was there but closing quickly. Everything in me SCREAMED to wait and schedule the procedure later. But no, no, no…I wanted it done and wanted it done NOW. Surely they wouldn’t have suggested it if it couldn’t be done. My gut wouldn’t leave me alone though. When I got home I emailed a doctor friend and asked whether or not I should cancel the appointment. She told me it was doable and that it might hurt, but would be OK. So against every cell in my body, I kept the appointment.
Today I went back for the procedure and HOLY CRAP!!!!!! Let me just say that the window must be OPEN…slightly open does NOT work. Until today, the worst pain I had ever experienced was a tie between the pitocin-induced back labor I went through with Bella and the getting out of bed for the first time after my c-sections. Today I suffered a pain that made me cry AND pass out (well almost). It was so painful that the procedure was not even completed. All I can say now is: Dear sweet intuition/higher self, I am so very sorry for ignoring your pleas. I promise from now on I will listen to you. I will not let my impatience interfere with the messages you send me. I totally get what you were trying to tell me, I thank you and desperately wish I’d have listened.