Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Paradox of Self-Esteem

I was contemplating yesterday evening how some of the most shy people I know also sometimes come across as being some of the most deeply prideful. I say this knowing that when I point a finger at someone else, I have 4 fingers pointed back at myself -- I *used* to be deeply, unabashedly and obliviously prideful and (oddly!) had great difficulty creating close relationships for much longer than I would care to admit. (I'm still deeply prideful, I'm just better at a) recognizing it in myself yea?), b) hiding it from others (boo), and c) hopefully growing in sanctification and concomitant humility.)

Thinking about these things, I was reminded of Ed Welch's comments on the fear of man, and how amazingly creative this issue can be in manifesting itself in our lives. As the back cover says, fear of man can control us in the form of "pride, oversensitivity, defensiveness, avoidance of others, easy embarrassment, people pleasing, needing approval..."

Which made me open up the ol' book this morning and find this quote:
That's the paradox of self-esteem: Low self-esteem usually means that I think too highly of myself. I'm too self-involved, I feel I deserve better than what I have. The reason I feel bad about myself is that I aspire to something more. I want just a few minutes of greatness. I am a peasant who wants to be king. When you are in the grips of low self-esteem, it's painful, and it certainly doesn't feel like pride. But I believe that this is the dark, quieter side of pride - thwarted pride. When People are Big and God is Small, 32.


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