Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Self Esteem

Recently I have been going through a coaching exercise as a sort of trial for a friend-of-a-friend. J is learning to be a coach for a program in Montana, whereby people from the business world come in and learn about leadership during a work retreat, involving horses. What I am doing has nothing to do with horses, but in a way has a lot to do with the same concepts a person learns in leadership training. J needs to practice with her tools and techniques prior to being able to finish her training, and I'm a guinea pig for that. Since I'm already grossly introspective anyway, I probably make a really EASY candidate for this exercise... not much of a challenge for her, but probably give her the ability to use a lot of her tools!
It's been pretty enlightening for me also, in the way that counseling has been enlightening, the few times I have engaged in counseling in my lifetime. However, when I have gone through any counseling before, it was in response to some major issue going on in my life, and I don't feel I have any big pressing major issues right at the moment. Maybe that is a better time to sit back and reflect on oneself, though, because I'm not caught in the crossfire of the issue itself.
One big fat aha moment for me has been around the area of self esteem. As a child, when I lived in Iowa and befriended a girl with hearing aids, I was absolutely NOT a popular child. Like, dump-the-books unpopular, or turn-off-the-bathroom-light-on-her unpopular. I always figured it was because of my association with Erika, who was exponentially even more unpopular than I was, as she had the social skills of a rock (or one of those oddballs at a Star Trek convention). But even when I moved to Texas, I wasn't HUGELY popular. I had friends, quite good ones, and was well respected and never teased or tortured like I was in Iowa, but popular? Nope. And I grew to understand it was more a function of my looks than it was anything else. So, I became REALLY REALLY GOOD at a zillion things. Art. German. Other languages. Straight A's. And then eventually as I went to college and so on, the world broadened for me, and I met a wider range of people, once I was out of that microcosm where your looks and charm determine your likeablility. You know how it is in every high school in America - either you're gorgeous, you're a star athlete, or you're the class clown. The latter two not requiring the looks as much, but those sure help out.
So, I'm not what I'd consider grossly unattractive by any means. I'm just not a bombshell. I am well aware that I'm not pretty in the sense that the world finds people pretty. I'm also not interesting looking, in the way the world will still consider you attractive if you've got a quirky, funky look about you. I have the same nose all babies are born with - a pudgy little ball plopped on the middle of my face. I have no bridge to my nose, and my profile is just very flat. My smile is kinda funny, and my hair... well... let's just say it has never been my best feature. At age 37, it is amazing how much this STILL seems to play into my psyche and my self confidence. I know it shouldn't. At this point, it makes about zero difference in my world. I have tons of self confidence about a great many other areas of my life, but that one still remains a bit hamstrung. I didn't really even know it, because I have always considered myself a pretty confident, self-assured person. What I found out is that people will often overcompensate in one area, to make up for something they perceive themselves lacking. And that's me to a T. I just wasn't actively aware of it until recently. So my current self-project is to really focus on this area, and come to terms with exactly the way I look, and let it the fuck go. There's very little about it that I can change, and fundamentally, it doesn't matter. I don't need to overcompensate for it, I don't owe anyone anything extra because I'm not easy on the eyes and/or the funniest thing alive. It's a hair shirt, and I'm tired of having that feeling in the back of my mind. I'm not entirely sure how one goes about taking OFF said hairshirt, but I'm sure as hell going to try and figure it out.
Okay. That's all.

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