Are you part of the cult of appearances?
What happens when external circumstances and inner fears confront our sense of self-esteem?
As I said in my last post, self-esteem is over-rated in our western culture society. Believing in ourselves is healthy, but what if it comes at a cost to others?
I see "self-esteem" as often built on promotion of one's image that tends to be artificial and even fragile.
When my self-esteem depended mostly on what I did for work and how I was perceived, my mood fluctuated. External circumstances can change and did change.
The truth is that what I do...can build my self-confidence, but, it can never give or take from my humanity or what I am.
What matters at any given moment is how I am being in the world.
And how others perceive me will always vary. Taking in others perceptions of me is not wise because those perceptions are not necessarily objective truth.
The messages focus on images of achievement, success and fun that emphasize individualism and de-emphasize concern for others, or altruism.
These messages and images are interwoven in our social-cultural world thanks to publicity and media.
Like cults they brain wash us to believe what self-confidence and success look like and how to achieve it. But, I am not what I wear, how much I have in my bank account, drive or don't drive...!
Outer appearances are just that, they do not necessarily speak of our heart and soul. Confidence with an over-emphasis on self-esteem weakens our ability to empathize and bond socially.
Being focused on appearances, isn't vulnerable so we cannot truly connect at the heart. Overtime, the cult of appearances erodes our natural strength and inclination toward concern for others well-being or altruism and ultimately our happiness.
Humility is knowing we are imperfect and have our own limitations as human beings. That allows us to be more supportive and forgiving of ourselves and others.
When our self-esteem is too high, we expect more of ourselves and can be more aggressive in pursuit of achieving goals and success. If we are aggressive with ourselves, we won't be gentle with others and that is unkind.
I've been told I am quite humble and my thought is, what is there for me not to be humble about?
If I achieve success by most standards, it will be because others helped me along the way. I believe I will remember vividly the challenges that forged the foundation of any of my achievements.
My inner fears allow me to be vulnerable with myself and to grow through kind bravery.
Kindness allows me to be more easy-going about what is challenging for me and smile when I "goof."
I rather confront my inner fears with courage and compassion than to live as if "I'm so- together" that I no longer think I have anything to learn or forget to be a kind human being.
It makes my life more simple to go anywhere as I am without pretenses knowing that there is substance to me. I do my best to honor what is alive in me while respecting what is alive and true in others.
The foundation of self-confidence may be different on your journey as our journeys are unique.
What is common to all human beings is that we are fallible and all began as bundles of love. Imagine if we could just honor that vulnerability and purity in everyone.
What inner fears keep you humble or enslaved to a cult of appearances?
Can you show up as you are, without a need to uphold images or appearances?