Blogpost, self-reliance

Dollar Store Self-Esteem

It’s everywhere right now and it’s a real problem! I’m speaking from personal experience because I’ve been using this product for years. Dollar Store Self-Esteem! One of the biggest issues with Dollar Store Self-Esteem is that it’s not just sold in Dollar Stores. It’s sold everywhere! You can get it at Gucci, Walmart or even Tiffany’s. You don’t even have to get it at a store. It’s basically everywhere you look. Sometimes you have to pay more but the product is basically the same. It’s a cheap (or expensive) knock-off that tries to act like the real thing but it’s nothing of the sort. If we just look at the label then we can see that we’ve been sold crap but usually we just stick with it because it’s easier. The people who sell it are everywhere too. The ad campaigns are hitting us in the face all the time. It’s gotten to the point where I’m not 100% positive if most people can tell the difference anymore. Now is the time to figure it out!

If you break it down, self-esteem should be a pretty simple concept. It’s confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. Unfortunately many of us (including me) have mangled this definition. Notice that the definition of self-esteem has nothing to do with other people, things or ideas. It is all about the confidence that the individual has in themselves. At the moment, it is so much easier to extract the “self” from the equation. Rather than accomplish something or move toward a personal goal, the order of the day seems to be finding the fault in everyone and everything else in the world. That’s Dollar Store Self-Esteem! It’s nothing more than a sugar coated air bubble. It may feel good for a moment but it’s empty and unsatisfying. No matter how many you eat, it will not sustain you.

So if you notice yourself about to buy another dose of Dollar Store Self-Esteem, STOP! Take a moment and do something that might actually make you feel better about yourself. Rather than attacking that stranger whose opinion is different to yours on Facebook, send a message to someone you love. When you see the latest picture of Karen, Tom, Dick or Harry; acting in a way that you think is abhorrent. Don’t comment, go do something that you’ve been putting off for a long time. It’s not as easy I know and that comment, Tweet or like was probably going to change something (tongue in cheek).

The world is in a pretty messed up place at the moment. If you want to, there are plenty of people and situations that you can blame. More blame isn’t the way out of this situation. More action is. Each and every one of us has the ability to impact the world that we touch everyday. As we are seeing with the present Pandemic, we are all connected. So doing good things in your own little world is not futile. It will do two things! 1) It will make you feel good about you. 2) It will ripple outward. Spiral out, keep going!

Have a great day people!

Pete

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The Path Is Broken

Appalachian TrailEach year my brother and I go for a hike on the Appalachian Trail.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.  It’s an awe-inspiring thing.  The trail is only a few feet wide but it is over two thousand miles long.  The path is usually easy enough to follow because lots of people hike it each year.  This past spring we hiked our normal section in reverse.  Due to an overflowing stream, we ended up on the wrong trail for a while.  Eventually we were able to get back to the AT but first we had to get our bearings and hiked some new ground with new sites.  Hiking the AT is a great experience that I’ve enjoyed a lot.  It’s not the only path and it’s not the path for everyone.

While hiking the AT is great, it is a horrible path to be on if you’re trying to get to Ohio.  As I prepare for another year in the classroom, I wonder how many of our paths are broken.  We have constructed so many procedures, social norms and belief systems.  It seems as though many of them are broken or breaking.  The 20th Century American Human had a pretty clear cut set of guidelines for his or her “success”.  Money, fame, power, and possessions were indicators of “success”.  Perhaps they still are but I don’t know that the old paths still lead to those desired ends.  The fact that we have been going down these paths for generations will be little consolation to the young people who end up lost on “the right path”.

Perhaps what we need now is a compass and a machete rather than a path.  The future is an uncertain thing.  Following the well-worn path may still get you to its historical end but it may help more to question the path.  Is this the right path for you?  At bare minimum the question and the decision to follow or not puts your life into your own hands.  In the end that’s where it should be anyway.  If you follow in everyone else’s footsteps and don’t like where you end up, then you made the mistake, not the path.

Find your True North and follow it this week.

Pete