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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Meditations While Mowing- On Low Self Esteem

Today, once again, I contemplated playing golf. I have taken it up again a year and a few months since my cervical spinal fusion. I feel so much better and hadn't been able to do outside yard work for the last three years either. My friend "Janet" from college is an excellent golfer and on the state ladies' golf association board. She plays in tournaments around the state and I admire that she has continued to play at a competitive level after having become a recent survivor from breast cancer.

Girls, get your mammogram. Do it for the people you love even if you don't want to do it for yourself. It might be embarrasing the first time, but you will be treated respectfully and while it is uncomfortable, I can think of other medical tests that are less pleasant. If you are without insurance or have low income, your local health department and community hospital can help! For many, there are no costs involved.

One of the benefits of feeling better is being able to mow again. Mowing is something I have enjoyed in my adult life. Plenty of sunshine makes me feel wonderful! I also have time to think about a lot of things and it is a wonderful time to nourish my spiritual condition. This is a very important thing to do at this time in my life with many major changes in process. Being able to mow gives me time to be reflective and mindful of what needs to be done, not only for myself, but for others as well.

I am trying to be a good daughter as we go through my father's final illness. I'm learning many lessons about myself and about taking care of myself. One of the things I have been learning is to take much better care of myself. Today I was sore, decided I shouldn't play golf because of being sore, and I still had a lot of mowing to do. I have a lot to mow to begin with, and I have begun doing Mother and Dad's home so there is one less thing my mama has to worry about.

While I was out there mowing my Mother's huge yard, once again I had my "fingers forcibly pressed upon that firey braile alphabet (Tennessee Williams, Glass Menagarie)" and experienced a uniquely female experience that is uncomfortable. Too much bounce to the ounce.  I wasn't wearing a bra and I need to when I mow. I had my diamond ring on as I usually do but neglected to put it away because of being in a hurry to get their place done and finish up mine. It takes almost five and half hours to do it all.
As I mentioned this gives me plenty of time to meditate and contemplate things that I often don't have the time to think about otherwise. I'm soaking up the sunshine and thinking about things personal and things impersonal.  Sometimes it is a spiritual discipline and I think of the matters that are greater than myself. I spent some time on this today. I thought about those who need help and asked for help for them. I think about the many things I'm grateful for. I think about what I need to do and take responsibility for in order to improve my overall wellbeing.

I spent some time thinking about why so many of us in our community experience low self esteem. I think it develops as a result of our realization that we are different from others, even before we know what that difference is. So we are speaking of people at a very young age when this begins. We know we are different from other boys and girls and we intuitively recognize that most often being different equals bad, especially when the differences are pointed out frequently in something said by the ones important in our lives such as "Why can't you be more like.....??" If you hear that a lot, especially the younger you are, it's going to create feelings that you aren't ok to begin with and then soon after you discover what that difference is. You aren't like the other boys who you are supposed to be like, and you aren't like the other girls who you feel you are like. Quite the internal conflict for a very young person, isn't it?
After a while, it becomes more and more apparent to others and is pointed out to the young person. "You need to act like this because boys...... or don't do that, you are acting like a girl...." Generally, people in this situation are often physically and emotionally abused and sometimes even sexually abused. It creates very low self esteem if it is allowed to go on. It will have life long consequences for that person if it is not prevented from happening or stopped as soon  as it becomes known.

We know that people with low self esteem are much more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, substance abuse, poor academic and career performance, problems with forming positive and healthy relationships with others, poor self care and increased mortality rates due to suicide and accidents (because people who don't care about themselves aren't careful about their activities). Even when these people are relatively successful in various areas of their life such as career or a sport or with a good relationship, they often have difficulty in seeing themselves as being successful in these endeavors.

Low self esteem is often difficult to treat because it presents in so many different ways as I have pointed out. We professionals tend to treat the symptoms and often don't address the low self esteem that creates the problems. That happens because individuals with low self esteem frequently are unable to identify why they have low self esteem. They know they have it, they need help identifying the lies that were told to them about themselves as well as the ones they told themselves and bought in to so much  that it has become their reality and their "truth" about themselves.

The hard part is being vigilent in identifying these negative beliefs and especially being comitted to replace the self deception with more objective and healthy beliefs about oneself. Yes, we all have things we do poorly, never did well at, and most likely never will. And, that's ok. We have to be objective enough to be ok with that. For example, I will never get to be a medical doctor because of my inability to be able to perform math well enough to have that career, but I have a wonderful career as a therapist, I have been able to help untold numbers of people directly and indirectly. I know I have saved peoples' lives. It's been a very satisfying career for me. I don't dwell on the failure of not becoming a doctor. I am also a very caring person and I go out of my way to help others if at all possible.

The failure is in not also recognizing that we are amazing women in other ways than what we are not good at and being able to celebrate ourselves for those wonderful things that make us good people. Its our responsibility to recognize these wonderful things and to take joy in these qualities. We need to recognize there is nothing wrong with being a transsexual. That took me awhile until I took the responsibility to change how I felt about myself. How about you?

1 comment:

  1. Sherri Lynne, do you have access to my notepad? Your last two blogs have touched on subjects that I am writing about in my book. Only where I am in my book is the reaction of family and especially the reaction of a wife to the revelation that her husband is a trans woman.

    Some of this deals with the issues caused by the wives' low self-confidence / esteem / worth. I believe that this is an issue with many wives, not just the wives of trans women.

    A unique problem for the wives of trans women is that many times those wives let their husband's "issue" overshadow their own issues resulting in even more complications for the couple.