08 April 2011

Promises to an extreme

The Second Promise of Adult Children of Alcoholics states, "Our self-esteem will increase as we give ourselves approval on a daily basis."

To me, a person can take this promise to an extreme. Some can take the first part of this promise that says “Self-esteem,” and run wild with it. They will use self-esteem to justify their “me-me-me” attitude and will be heard at all costs.

Their self-esteem will tell them that whatever someone else thinks doesn’t matter because it is after all “me-me-me.” I’ve seen this at face-to-face meetings. Someone can chair at meeting and make some valid points, but to that one person no matter what is said, they will change it to fit their own needs. I’ve also seen it on message boards. Someone can start a thread and get some great responses. A day later a new thread is started with the same subject. It is a need to validate ones own feelings without concern to others. This is a self-esteem I don’t want, because in the long run I seek others validation to approve mine.

The self-esteem I like to look at is more about self-worth. If I can honestly give myself approval on a daily basis – that is all that matters. My validation comes from my own worth, which was something I never experienced as a child.

Recently, I separated from my wife and am now living in a small cozy apartment. The self-esteem I would seek from others would say that I have taken a major step backwards. The self-worth that I seek shows me this is where I need to be.

My self-esteem (or self-worth) now tells me that I don’t need a fancy car to be successful, or a fancy home, or any luxury that somehow changes my worth to conceit.

The promise to me means that I am OK just the way I am. The promise shows me that self-esteem comes from within not from without.

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