Overcoming poor self-esteem Part II – Stable mindset

I had separated from my wife and I was living in a caravan at my parent’s house. It was my wife’s decision to separate and I was at a loss. I was very low. But this would be the catalyst for my growth and would put an end to my cycle of ego inflation.

The term used for growth caused by a traumatic event or situation is ‘Post Traumatic Growth’ or ‘PTG’. I’d experienced PTG four years earlier from a psychotic episode (I have schizophrenia). I had grown tremendously from the process but was still a very flawed individual.

The processes that caused my growth this second time was fourfold. One thing was that I’d been watching a lot of Jordan Peterson speak in his lectures on YouTube and took on the idea of incorporating my shadow (This deserves a post of its own so I’ll do a part III).

Another big lesson was that I started recording myself, talking about all my beliefs and ideas about what I’d come to realise were delusions. Talking about these things made me recognise I didn’t have a good grasp on what I thought and knew. And a lot of my ideas and beliefs were flawed. Low-resolution concepts that didn’t add up but bolstered my sense of self and what I thought was genius-level thinking.

This was hard to stomach, but it set me more firmly in reality and helped me to recognise my own limitations and faulty frameworks of thought. This would be the start of my journey into doing and expressing, rather than thinking and obsessing because I didn’t have to live up to the expectations of my own delusions which made me free to be more creative and honest.

A big part of my growth was just spending time with my parents and creating a better perspective on our relationship. I started seeing them as flawed human beings like everyone else and recognised they weren’t going to change. It made me accept and love them for who they are instead of wanting something from them to fill my esteem void.

I now have a great relationship with my parents and I don’t need for them to give me anything to feel strong in myself because I have given that to myself.

The final thing which brought it all together was a notion I’d call the Trinity which I’ll do a Part IV about. Incorporating my shadow, humanising my parents, recognising my own limitations, and adopting the trinity has made me a far better person.

The result was that while I used to be full of doubt and always questioning myself, needing others to affirm that I’m ok. I am now sure of myself, my bubble doesn’t burst and rather than it inflating to the point of delusion, I am now stable. Able to execute every day, and while I still have low periods I am far more functional, less reactive and not at war with those who challenge my self-belief.

I don’t need to win an ideological argument to feel strong, because now I am a winner despite the situation, because my sense of self doesn’t bottom out or inflate based on external circumstances. I know who I am and I know my limitations. I’ll explain what it means to incorporate your shadow in part III. Coming soon.

Overcoming poor self-esteem. Part 1: Inflating ego

There was a time when if somebody slighted me I would go on the defence and my ego would puff up, I would become arrogant and smug. I would go to war with them in my head. Not to destroy or undermine my attacker, but to prove them wrong on an intellectual level. Bolstering all my reasoning on attacking the opponents POV and affirming my own. I’d have arguments in my head. My mind was at war with those who saw me as less than I was willing to see myself.

The cause of this was low self-esteem. I wanted people to see me as I saw myself. There were two problems with this, how I saw myself was not based on reality. And I was looking for external affirmation on who I was, my standing, my values and what I was about.

As I puffed up I’d become more insular and isolated and in a state of internal and external struggle, until my ego would pop either because I realised my internal narrative was incongruent with reality or the weight of my delusion got too heavy. I’m not 100% sure why my bubble would burst but it always did after weeks or even months of self-righteousness.

The aftermath was that I’d collapse in a heap and spend the next week or so in a rut feeling weak, sorry, silly, wrong, and humbled, not being able to function. I’d slowly get back to normal but before too long something or someone would trigger me and I’d start to puff up again, creating a new cycle.

This was my reality for a long time. Now things are different and while I’m not sure about what part of my recovery changed me. The fact is I am changed. Part 2 coming soon.