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Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by M, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. M

    M New Member


    Growing up I was never very good at school, never thought I was particularly bright or capable. I worked in a dead end job. I then worked my way into graphics which I loved and did really well at. It gave me allot of confidence. I then went to university it was tough but I left with excellent grades. I've always definitely doubted myself and had a couple of jobs which ended with me crippled with rsi. The amount of pressure I put on myself and my perfectionistic attitude meant that when I did fail there were consequences i.e a chronic pain condition. I have since 100 percent beaten the rsi. I still have lots of tension behind my neck and upper body however. The thing I would like to explore by writing this is the ego side of things. You could insult me in a million ways and it would be like water off a ducks back. However if you were to call me a rubbish artist or suggest I was bad at my job it would definitely activate this tension and unhappiness. It's wierd how I seem to need this verifcation and I think I always will. A deep rooted lack of self worth perhaps?

    I also notice that if I struggle with something I can lose patience with it very quickly It's like I have no faith in myself to work out a problem unless it's something I already understand I generate this tension (inner rage)

    anyway it's very theraputic to type this! and hopefully some of you may have some wise insights!

    Ellen likes this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    HI, Matt.
    It always surprises me how many talented, successful people have a lack of confidence about their skills.
    I just read this quote by Angelina Jolie, one of today's top movie stars and the partner of Brad Pitt:

    "Oh, God, I struggle with low self-esteem all the time! I think everyone does. I have so much wrong with me, it’s unbelievable!"

    As for feeling low if someone criticizes your art, isn't appreciate of art in the eyes of the beholder?
    What does the beholder know, anyway? Just their opinion.
  3. The Fool

    The Fool Peer Supporter

    Hi Matt - this is a subject I can really relate to, and definitely need to explore.

    When I was a teenager (eons ago now), I had deep self-esteem issues. I was doing ok at school, but moved areas when I was 13. The school I ended up at was a failing school, with bad teachers and zero discipline. The upshot was, I failed too. I always try to be very honest with myself, and ok, the school was really bad, but maybe if I'd just put a little more effort into my studies, maybe I could have done a little better. But, I was distracted by relationships with boyfriends - these were my priority at the time. However, failing at school was a massive blow to my ego. My Dad was so disappointed with me, he could hardly look me in the eye, and I experienced rejection from him for the first time in my life. My parents enrolled me in secretarial college, and I was top of my class at every discipline - shorthand, typing, English and book-keeping. I found it all easy, plus I was out of that "bad school" environment. But in the eyes of my parents it was second rate to my brother's achievements at University.

    I got a job straight out of college, working as a secretary in Local Government. It paid a decent salary - enough to live on, and I concentrated on relationships again. I got married and had a son to a man who turned out to be an abusive and controlling husband and father, and after 12 years of really trying very hard to make it work, I'd had enough, and got out before he completely destroyed me. I was on my own, struggling financially to bring up my son, but relieved to be out of the relationship.

    During this phase of my life, I tried really hard to progress with my career - money was more of a priority, but my low self-esteem really held me back. I'd been a failure at school, and set myself up constantly to fail with my career. Nothing I did was good enough in my eyes. I progressed to a job administrating school inspections for a team of Inspectors in our Education Department. After about a year in this job, I had a complete melt down. I convinced myself that I wasn't doing the job justice, and even though my boss pleaded with me at the time to stay, because he said my work was good, I left to return to a secretarial role, which felt safer, but ultimately less fulfilling.

    I am my own worse critic - I really give myself a hard time. At 55, I'm married again to a loving and supportive husband. I am lucky enough not to have to work now, and have dabbled in art and writing in my spare time. I have very few pieces of art, as most of what I do ends up in the bin, and when I write, I'm constantly editing, and never get on with the story. Both of these things I love to do, but they cause me a lot of pain because I put too much pressure on myself to achieve perfection. I really don't know why it should even be so important to me anymore. I have temporarily suspended both these activities in favour of just reading - again fun, but ultimately not as rewarding in terms of achievement.

    Sorry, Matt, I dribbled on a bit there, but yeah, low self-worth causes inner tension and rage, causes pain. And, sorry, I'm not much help, just empathising - and catharsisising (think I just made up a new word).
    Tennis Tom and Ellen like this.
  4. PaulBlack

    PaulBlack Peer Supporter

    However if you were to call me a rubbish artist or suggest I was bad at my job it would definitely activate this tension and unhappiness. It's wierd how I seem to need this verifcation and I think I always will. A deep rooted lack of self worth perhaps?

    Hey Matt, I can relate totally, as my esteem comes from what I love doing and working hard on, or perhaps also the way I measure others by!?
    Do I need to believe that is the way I will always be...?
    Not necessarily. I think it is a reaction that we need validation from what we believe are our shortcomings, or what we feel esteem us or give us some security. But, I do feel by recognizing when we get upset if people think what we do is not so great, we have to notice it, or make ourselves aware we are doing it and ask at that point, why am I feeling this way? Can I use a better thought process than a reaction to someone not liking this/me? Can I then change the brain's reaction, or synapse that I have always reacted with? I think so. I think we can delete the energy in those lower self esteem reactions and thus make habits to react in a caring less what people think of us, type mode.
    I think that way, we take the power away from our outer thoughts of what we think people think of us and just consult the inner higher self, that knows we are all good people.
    Ellen likes this.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    As a fulltime self-employed freelance writer for more than 40 years, mainly of books, I have had a lot of rejection
    from editors and publishers. I've sold books but never made a lot of money. My self-esteem could have been sunk
    by all the rejection of manuscripts, but somehow I keep believing in myself. My theory is 100 percent perseverance.

    Finding things we enjoy doing, like art or writing, should build up our self-esteem. We should do it to please ourselves
    and not be concerned about how successful it makes us or who likes it or doesn't. It's like PaulBlack says, we just need to please our inner higher self. I like that.
  6. M

    M New Member

    thank you all! sorry only just got round to this
  7. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Hi Matt, things I have found really helpful are Alan Gordon' Recovery Program (on the main wiki) where he talks about self soothing vs self abuse, and the Ted talk by Kristin Neff on self compassion that Walt posted a link to recently. I'm not sure how to post links but it's easy to Google it.

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