Monday, April 02, 2007

Know Thyself

For as long as David has known me, he's heard me ramble on about "self-esteem" and the ways in which I attribute most individual, societal and even world-wide problems to a lack of self-esteem. It sounds simplistic, but I don't think I'm too far off base. The reason a former employee whom I supervised (one who was morbidly obese and has since died from heart failure) exhibited major passive aggression towards me for over two years? Low self esteem. The reason a local municipal figure manipulated and basically sabotaged a multi-agency effort to establish an after-school kids' program in a low-income neighborhood? Low self-esteem. Dare I say that self-esteem (whether low, or inflated to a pathological state of narcissism) had anything to do with the operations of Hitler, Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden? But, frankly, I'm tired of the term "self-esteem" because it's really hard to define and it's one of those over-used terms that tend to lose their meaning (just like hormones, thyroid, and sensory integration disorder in my particular case).

So, I've moved on to a self-awareness kick. My yoga instructor recently said, "We all want the same things. We just don't all know how to get there." I think that to live the life you want, truly knowing yourself is half the battle. And knowing yourself means acknowledging what you're really good at, what you really love, what you hate, and what you're not good at and you'll never be good at. So here's a little about what I know about me:

  • I can't be trusted with electronics. When I borrow David's camera, I usually return it with finger grease on the lens cap. He hates that. I've washed two iPods in the washing machine. Yes, two!! Luck is on my side, because they both still work, even after the spin cycle.
  • I can get a grad school application in on time, but I'm not so good at meeting other deadlines. I drove around for a solid year with an expired driver's license. And I knew it. I let prescription medications run out without refills left and then suffer for my lack of planning. The last time I did that, the side effects were so bad I experienced brain zaps and even got to the state in which I could literally hear my eyeballs moving back and forth. I am NOT kidding about that.
  • I will avoid housework until the last possible moment, which is usually when someone is coming over, which doesn't happen that often.
  • I am physically incapable of NOT talking to strangers and I am quite nosy when I do.
  • I don't really enjoy shopping. I like new clothes and all that, but crowded malls and department stores make me want to vomit.
  • I hate reading manuals. I figure things out while I go along, right or wrong.
  • One of my favorite stores is A.C. Moore. I don't have much patience for complicated arts and crafts, but give me a glue gun, some feathers, a lamp shade, and ten minutes, and I'll produce something worthy of putting in my daughter's room.
  • My taste in music is as diverse as my taste in friends.
  • I'm as insecure as the next person, but I am certain in my uncertainties.
  • I've let go of most of my personal fears but have transferred that energy in what I fear for my children.
  • Group interaction energizes me, which makes me an extrovert, but I was painfully shy growing up. As late as the college years, I was so uncomfortable in one particular social situation that I literally sat at a brunch for over two hours listening to others talk while I couldn't bring myself to utter a word.
  • I'm as comfortable talking to the CEO of a company as I am the custodian.
  • If I had to choose between going to a 5-star restaurant verses my favorite barbeque joint, I pick the barbeque.

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