Saturday, March 10, 2007

Claiming Responsibility

Thank you Juli Roxx for sharing your perspective on my recent article "Is She Friend or Foe?". I love it when different views are brought because it only stimulates my mind further. You've made a few points here which I'd like to comment on...

Juli: "The article suggests that all that counts is what you think about yourself and to ignore obvious facts that are genuine problems and most difficult to deal with."

I am not suggesting that "all that counts is what you think about yourself", I am saying "the most important opinion is the one you hold of yourself"... big difference. Other people's thoughts and opinions might count also, depending who they are to you and how you feel about them. Yet if you consider yourself in a horrible light, most likely everyone else will consider you in a horrible light as well. Whereas if you claim the responsibility for considering yourself in a positive light, still many will consider you badly, but at least some will be able to see and appreciate your worth.

Juli: "Is it really true that if you pretend everything is okay, you are happy with your life and love how you are being treated that it will come to be?"

Certainly "pretending to be ok" when you are not ok, would be living in denial. Yet there is a difference between responsible acknowledgement of challenges vs. catastropic dwelling in them. Indeed, if you can find ways to be happy with your life, as painful as it may be, and if you can find ways to appreciate those precious few who do treat you well, life will at least start to feel a bit better. By claiming responsibility for your own positive state of being, you will at least open the door for good things to happen for you. I'm not saying everything will be perfect, I am saying it would be a refreshing first step in a healthier direction.

Juli: "Unfortunately how other people feel about you is the most important part of one's self-esteem. A person operates and acts on feedback from other people."

This again depends on how you feel about yourself. It does not have to be true that your self-esteem is completely hinged on others opinions of you, although I know that many if not most people feel similarly. Yet be aware that you are choosing something completely beyond your control upon which to base your entire self-concept, so it is no wonder you are frustrated. By expecting others to give you self-esteem, you set yourself up for certain failure.

If you want anyone else to see anything of value in you, and give you positive feedback, you must first see that value in yourself. If you can see no value in yourself, no one else will either. As much as you seem to want to give away your power and responsibility, self-esteem does in fact begin and end inside of you, no one else can give or take it. Therefore you must be the first to see that value in yourself. Through times when it seems like you might be the only one who sees that value in you, when it is most challenging to keep your self-esteem intact, that's when it is most critical not to let yourself down.

Juli: "You know you are going to fail because it has been demonstrated to you time and time again."

If you go into any situation "knowing you are going to fail", then you will definitely fail. If you see yourself as a failure, then in this moment you are a failure. Sadly, it will not turn around for as long as you "know you are going to fail" and such attitude guarantees a long hard road built on failure after failure. Only if you can begin to perceive yourself as capable and deserving of success do you have any hope of achieving it, although I am not saying it would be instantaneous or easy, just a necessary first step to get off the path of failure.

Juli: "I'm sorry but when I really love myself and know that I am a wonderful and privileged person, I'm still very likely to encounter non-acceptance, difficulty finding and keeping my needs for employment, relationships, family, love, sex and other things a person really requires to live a happy fulfilled life."

Indeed, you are still very likely to encounter all of these injustices, hardships and prejudices. All of these exist in the world, and you have virtually no control over them. The only control you have is how you deal with them as they come along. Are you going to let challenges destroy you, or are you going to keep marching forward through life? Just as your expectancy of failure, if you anticipate crisis, hardship, pain and lack, this is all you will get time and again. With an attitude of positive expectancy and inner self-worth, you will at least be strong enough to get up off the ground every time someone knocks you down.

Thank you again Juli for your comments, and I wish you all the best.

Love & light,
Michele

1 comments:

Dr. Jillian Todd Weiss said...

Brava! While intolerance is a very real problem, trans people are starting to overcome barriers in the workplace, in religion, in the media, and in many other places. The more we together work on it, the more we will become a force for good, and the better it will be.