One of the inner demons I have battled for much of my life has been my self-esteem. That may seem a bit surprising to some since I feel I come off as being fairly confident and content when around others. But probably like many of us, I get confronted with situations which really test my metal. Typically, it used to make me depressed…and I would just keep it all bundled in. Eventually, I’d take a long walk and just work it out myself…and life would go on.
I feel a lot of my issues stem from a feeling of “not being good enough”. There are times I wish I had a better job, could be better at sports, be a bit more dominant or extroverted around friends and family, or being better at my craft.. Sounds like a stereotypical nerd complex. But in some ways, it is this feeling that has compelled me to try to excel…to break out of my shell.
Now that I’m older (and a bit wiser), I don’t let things get to me like I used to.
Over the past week, I have had several compliments thrown my way (more so than normal) which really is the reason why I’m now taking the time to reflect on this…and share it with you all.
I contacted an old colleague from my previous job to organize an informal lunch to catch up with one another. We agreed on a lunch date and location…but as the conversation came to a close, she said “we SO need you back :-). Not the same without you! Our expert is GONE.” I was very touched…especially considering one of the reasons I left was because I felt I was undervalued. Yet, there was a part of me that felt bad…felt guilty for leaving. And then I say to myself, geez why can I take a compliment?
Early last week, my wife, several friends and I, went into dinner as a going-away party for a friend who is traveling overseas as well as to celebrate the return of my best friend and his bride from their honeymoon. Back story: while they were on their honeymoon, we decorated their house and front lawn quite extensively. SO, having a wonderful time as always and the newlywed bride makes an announcement to the group and says “I just want you to know that I talked to my mother about all the decorating you guys did and she said you know, you have some great friends. Not like regular friends..more like tv friends.” Once again, I felt quite touched at the compliment. Yet, i pondered. I guess to me, we weren’t doing anything extraordinary. We were doing something in good fun…we were doing what good friends do. 🙂
I recently friended someone on Facebook who I met at a trivia contest. Soon after, I responded to a post she made about needing help transferring a website from one host to another. It was souring I hadn’t really done before but considering my background, I figure I had a good shot at it. So I agreed to take the freelance job. Things have been going ok so far…and she has been quite appreciative of the help. Before I agreed to the job, I sent the URL to my website (just to assure I was legitimate). The response I got was “as a nerd/geek, I’m highly jealous. As someone looking to hire you on for web page help, I like what I see.” Of course, as an artist/designer, it is always nice to receive praise of your work (for me especially since I just revamped my website). To be honest though, I felt a little embarrassed (like a young schoolboy). I am constantly seeing other artists’ work and it amazes me how much talent is out there. But from time to time, I wonder what I might be able to accomplish if I were truly able to focus my craft. In the meantime, I tend to undervalue my own work. Call it humility…call it modesty.
In the end, I thank everyone for all your kind words…and I hope in time I can learn to put my esteem issues behind me and enjoy the fruits of my friendship and labor.