Self-ish

I don’t know if you follow me on instagram, or if you pay attention to my instagram “stories” if you do but every week day morning I read a passage from a book called “Daily Enlightenments” by Nathalie Hermann.


The reading typically precedes my morning meditation-and often gives my mind a thought to anchor to. The other day, this particular reading was about the things we hide.


The things we hide: you know those things we enjoy that we think we have to keep from other people. For example…I really love office supplies. 


A pack of pre-sharpened Ticonderoga pencils, a combo pack of post-it notes, notebooks, planners…it’s weird and I don’t usually brag about it, but I love them. 


Stuff like that…


So we aren’t even talking about hiding things like addictions or self destructive tendencies.


We’re talking…I still keep an emergency box of Kraft Mac and Cheese in the pantry type secrets. 


…this particular reading struck a chord with a lot of my viewers and I received several messages in response to it.


One exchange stood out to me:

 

JGAT: I think we feel self indulgence is always judged by others or measured by a standard of character. That’s truly the last chain to be broken for self liberation.


Me: I agree, the prefix “self” is misleading. Because we tend to look to others to determine whats good for self.


JGAT: EXACTLY

Self-esteem…


Self-confidence…


Are they really about our selves?


That exchange reminded me of a segment from stand up comedian Katt William’s special Pimp Chronicles Part 1 about self esteem….


In it he basically says (I’m summarizing) women need to stop accusing men of doing damage to their self esteem, after all it is called SELF esteem…


meaning…


esteem of your MUTHA EFFIN’ SELF.  


(his words—not mine)


He’s right it IS called self-esteem, and it IS how we feel about ourselves.


BUT…


I think, for me, it’s more accurate to say that self esteem is how we feel about ourselves in the face of how others feel about us.


That makes it self-ish… 


the ~ish suffix means “to have the characteristics of but isn’t quite exactly like” the word that precedes it.



A couple weeks ago when I was in Tampa, Florida I attended a workshop and one of the first journaling prompts we got was this:


Who would you be if no one told you who you are?



Think about that for a moment…


Technically, I am only “Tianna” because someone else named me that.


I sat there with my pen, entirely stumped on where to start.


Who would you be if no one told you who you are?


Today, I went back to find the Moleskine notebook that I used to journal and take notes during the workshop and unsurprisingly the page beneath the prompt is entirely blank.


I couldn’t answer the question.


Didn’t… 


Answer the question.


I don’t know how you spend your Sundays but typically I spend them alone, in my head writing, plotting, planning, preparing for the week, etc.


But yesterday, I spent the majority of my day off at the KMS Invitational in Birmingham at the Crossplex.


And after one of the Alabama State male sprinters ran well a teammate of his exclaimed, “this will be great for his self esteem!”

And I thought about that for a while…


Because I think with a lot of athletes this line of thinking may also be the case.


But that’s not self esteem is it?


That’s confidence.


Some people would call that self-confidence.

But really that’s self-ish confidence (because it had more to do with how you felt you stacked up against others).


So for now on I’m going to start calling it: job confidence


My ability to do a job well, and my belief level about that should actually have no bearing on how I feel about my self.


That distinction is important.


Because “self”…

that’s you.


The “you” that just IS.


The “you” that most people don’t even see because from the moment we wake we start putting on the layers of the labels we wear.


Ironically, we frequently judge ourselves based on how others judge the person we present to the world as ourselves..


Meaning…


does it really matter what other people think about a doctored, filtered, heavily edited version of ourselves?


Too often we move through the world with a manipulated persona and then internalize all too harshly how the world responds to that. 


Misperception about who we are and how we move through the world, interact and engage with the people around us breeds further misperception.


We move from misperception to misperception


and yet take most things that come of those tainted interactions as crystal clear truth.


So I ask you now, 


Who would you be if no one told you who you were?


Who are you without the layers and the labels?


Here’s the answer: YOU. ARE. ENOUGH.


And that’s all self-esteem should be.


The belief that your true self- is enough.


My book club (TB’s personal best book club) finished Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and one of the crucial themes is about scarcity…


and the phenomenon that we all experience about not being _________ enough.


But the opposite of scarcity is NOT abundance.


It’s enough-ness.

It’s being able to flicker your eyes open in the morning and affirm, “I am me, and I am okay”

And letting that self-belief give you the courage to present your true self to the world.

There’s no one else here like you.

So be you.


Tianna BartolettaComment