The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So how do you cultivate self esteem?

On the Pat Morrison radio show yesterday, Rabbi Harold Kushner said "I would make a distinction between curing, making a problem go away, and healing, which is giving a person the emotional, spiritual resources to cope with a problem that isn't going away."

I think this is an insightful way to describe the process I've been going through since I discovered Husband's sex addiction.

There is no making my past go away. But I've been gaining the emotional, spiritual,and psychological resources to cope with the reality of life. I've been healing.

One area that remains unclear for me is building my self esteem. In June 2008 I declared a Year of Self Definition and yet 16 months later I still feel a bit stumped about how to cultivate a strong relationship with myself.

I have glimmers of it. I've gained a lot of tools and insight from therapy, support groups and reading. But I also have a lot of persistent patterns that originate in self-loathing.

I felt a flash of clarity in the reading I did today in Pema Chodron's The Wisdom of No Escape. In the chapter called Satisfaction she said that "one of the major obstacles to what is traditionally called enlightenment is resentment, feeling cheated, holding a grudge about who you are, where you are, what you are."

This passage really caught my eye because I recognized myself in it, and I began to start thinking about how I could re-orient my thinking and feeling about what I lack and focus instead on everything I have, everything I am. Gratitude for my life, and loving-kindness toward myself.

How would I treat myself, regard myself, be with myself if I were someone I loved? Certainly much different than I do now. I think exploring this question is on the path of developing / creating a relationship with myself that supports health and peace.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Thanks for giving me so many things to ponder this morning! :)

kberman said...

Self-esteem is robbed by these emotions: anger, fear, and anxiety. remember you can't feel 2 thoughts or feelings at the same time.

I think the best way to develop better self esteem is through our relationships. You may have emotional draining people around you.

You need healthy giving and taking friends to feel good about yourself. Love, Kathy