I have taken many courses in my quest to find my holy grail. (self esteem) I have achieved many great things. But at the end of the day - it has never been enough. I also know it does not matter what others think of me - if I do not feel good about who I am - in my mind what people say, truth or not, is simply flattery.
This year, however, I came to understand that self esteem grows when I accomplish things I never thought I could - when I have been pushed to the edge and instead of waiting for the white knight to appear - I have rescued myself.
(let me be clear here - as a former police officer - I am a problem solver and relish in rescuing others - so it not that I am incapable)
My first real personal accomplishment this year came when I drove 3,000 km across the country - all on my own in an older car. Before I left on the trip - I had been very concerned and wondered if I could do it. After 2 1/2 days - arriving at my destination - I chuckled at all the circumstances I imagined were going to happen - none of which did!
A week later I had a trailer hitch put on my car. (for reasons I will reveal at another time) 140 km, and 24 hours later, I discovered why driving home the car seemed to be getting a lot of rock noise under the car. And so I got on my hands and knees and looked under the car.
After being transferred to 4 departments and with still no commitment on WHO would attend to fix the issue - I decided to see if I could figure out what was going on. I lifted the hood and also looked in the trunk to see if I could find out where the wire came from and where it went to.
After about ten minutes and 2 band-aids later, the wire had been tightened, rolled up and secured and the car was now driveable. Imagine the self esteem boost when I realized I did not have to be rescued. (I am definitely not very knowledgeable about cars!)
Later the same day, my RV grey tank became too full to drain the dish water. I took a deep breath, and decided to learn how to empty the grey tank. Then I did it - oh boy - I pulled the wrong lever. I emptied the black tank instead by accident! What I wanted to do was berate myself and then sit down and cry until somebody who knew what to do next would rescue me. ( I mean really - how unproductive is that!)
Instead - I took a few minutes to breathe - began looking at levers - and figured things out. I did a full system flush and cleaned the whole system out - without any help from anyone. (anyone ho has seen the movie RV - will get a chuckle out of this story)
All of these tasks were likely close to 'last' on the things I wanted to learn how to do in my life. And definitely not items on my 'bucket list'.
However they all served as very valuable lessons to me. If problems I really did not want to deal with ( and would do ANYTHING at all to get someone else to do) could be solved with my own ingenuity - then truthfully I could do anything.
That knowledge and understanding helped me to understand how valuable I was. I really was the most important person in my own life. I came through when I needed me.
All the self esteem courses in the world could never replace the silent celebration I had after I realized that I really could do anything I set my mind to. More importantly I realized that although it is nice to have a white knight show up to rescue me from unpleasant situations, it is far more satisfying when I rescue myself.
Here are a few other lessons I learned:
- Just because it is not my job - it does not mean I won't have to do it.
- Self esteem is a gift we give ourselves. It cannot be given to us through courses or kind words. It is something we have to fashion to fit us - and only we know the dimensions!
- Waiting to be rescued is a waste of precious time and disempowering.
- White Knights can be high maintenance :) (And that is another, much longer story)