Understanding and appreciating your own value in life is of utmost importance on the journey of life. But, what makes some people able to see their own value, and others almost blind to theirs? I heard once that lack of self-esteem is a form of arrogance, false humility; as believing you are the worst person in the world is just as arrogant as believing you are the best. Both of these understandings of the self give you a place that you cannot possibly earn. But what does that mean? How can self-loathing translate into arrogance?
First, what gives you the right to judge yourself that harshly?
Many people reading may not be religious; some may describe themselves as spiritual, others as a humanist. One popular religion, Christianity, tells us that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made beings created in the image of the Almighty. If you believe that, then it is impossible to think of yourself as anything but awesome. If you don’t believe in God, and you believe in evolution or some other aspect of the divine, then scientifically speaking, the fact that you are here means you are by definition badass. Think of how many sperm cells you beat out for your conception to occur. A lot! You were a gold medal Olympian before even setting foot on this planet. That is amazing! And everyone you encounter triumphed in the same way to get here. Therefore, we are all born winners. What you do with that is inevitably up to you. Lack of self-esteem and an over inflated sense of self are both delusions that most of us must work to overcome at some point in our lives.
I like jigsaw puzzles, and I like them because they put things in perspective. You pick up a box with the picture that appeals to you, open it, and scatter hundreds of pieces on the surface. At first, it looks daunting – what’s your first course of action? Finding the most valuable piece? Hmm, which could it be? Well, when you discover it please give me a call, because the only time I can recall a puzzle having a crucial piece is when one is missing. Then you have to move heaven and earth to find that part. Why? Because without it, you will never have a complete picture.
Well, my view of the world is this: we are all pieces of a puzzle and until we find where we fit into that puzzle the world is incomplete. We will never see the big picture. We all fit in somewhere, we all are a piece of this great puzzle called life, and you can never achieve wholeness without finding your place; it will always feel like something is missing. We have become so busy looking at the other puzzle pieces, comparing ourselves to the other pieces – that one has more yellow than me, or I like this shape or that piece. Accept that you are as you need to be, and everything will fall into place. In a way, you can say you owe it to the world and everyone else to find your place in the puzzle.
I grew up with this knowledge, but only recently did it resonate with me. I always felt a deep chasm inside, wasting precious time, wondering why I wasn’t more outgoing. I’m the type of person that would rather spend time one-on-one with a close friend than be with a group of 10 friends. It took me a very long time to accept that this is my nature. This is who I am, because the world needs people like me just as much as they need people who love being in a large group of friends. It doesn’t make them wrong and me awesome or vice versa, we are just who we are naturally meant to be because that is life.
Know thyself, and be true to that self. Honor yourself. This means exploring what you like and don’t like, and owning it. Don’t explain it, excuse it or dismiss it. Light cannot exist without the dark. Therefore, we must accept our shadow side as where we go, it goes also.
Remember: comparisons are futile; they only kill your purpose. If you were free from comparison, what would you do? Who would you be? Where would you be, if you were dancing to your song?