Self-esteem isn’t who you think

Self-esteem is often misunderstood to mean a sense of self-importance, of being special.

The misunderstanding stems from not understanding who your “self” is in the first place.

It isn’t the one who hit the home run or the one who won just by participating.

The self as I understand it is the ever changing awareness of the humanity you live and breathe in this moment.

Just when you think you have a handle on it, it changes.

The moment you think you’re special the special changes to ordinary human being.

This is crazy making when you want it to work some other way.

Every thing you want to stay the same, even your self, is always changing.

Finding a way to accept that can give you the esteem you’re looking for.

Our greatest gift to one another…

I am my father’s son. My Dad was a firefighter before starting his own business in the early 80’s.

Fast forward to today. I was on the highway after picking up my oldest son Zach for a weekend visit.

I overshot the exit and took a later exit to double back. Shortly after we exited we approached a four way stop just as a car slammed into a pickup a few car lengths in front of us and drove it into a ditch.

I quickly pulled over and grabbed my cane informing Zach we were going to make sure everyone was ok.

A few others stopped as well and seemed confused as to what to do.

I asked one to make a call to 911 and another to make sure the ignition in the pickup was turned off.

The driver of the pickup was laying in the wet grass next to his truck. His head was bleeding and the windshield damaged from where his head hit it.

I leaned into my cane for balance and bent over to place my hand on his shoulder.

He kept closing his eyes and turning his head to the side. Each time he did I encouraged him to keep his eyes open and look at me.

I did this until the ambulance arrived.

As I walked back to my car I noticed multiple people pulled over taking pictures of the aftermath with their phones instead of trying to help.

What’s this world coming to.

Now I’m laying in bed with a headache. Not sure if’s due to the weather or adrenaline. Maybe both.

I want to add that our greatest gift to one another is to be fully present. I hope that’s what I gave to this man.

My disability has a lot to do with you too. . .

Able bodied people don’t have a friggin clue how difficult it is for us to do the little things, let alone the complicated, multistep things.

“It’s all mind over matter,” they say.

“You have to let go of those limiting beliefs, you can do anything you set your mind too,” they claim.

Each person has their own unique talents and skillset. Talents can be refined and become skill. Skill can be learned, talent cannot.

It’s the epitome of arrogance to suggest your skills, rooted in your talents are easy to acquire and anyone who doesn’t work to develop them has a mindset defect as the primary reason they don’t.

Part of my struggle in this world results from those who keep telling me to learn to do myself, the things I have no talent or energy for.

I eat healthy, I take supplements to make sure my body has what it needs and yet I remain disabled.

Too many people can’t get their minds beyond the belief that if other people’s bodies or minds don’t work as theirs do, then a fix must be implemented so those poor, broken souls can be like me.

This can make for a lonely life. Especially when you think you finally found people who get it, just to find out they’re as committed to their ignorance as everyone else.

Mindset doesn’t cure disability, though it can help you endure it.
If you want to help people like me, offer your talents, don’t criticize us for not being able to do what comes naturally to you.

At least develop enough self-awareness to realize the only experience you can relate to is your own.

Then trust us when we tell you we are unable to do something the way you do, if at all.

This isn’t scarcity thinking, it’s accepting that our parameters for engaging the world are more restricted.

We bust our assess working to accomplish what we can with what we have. Only to have you think it isn’t enough because it isn’t like you do it. As much as I enjoy your company, your ignorance is too painful to endure.

As is your lack of respect for the reality of my situation.

Many of us end up on disability because instead of helping us we’re blamed for not trying harder.

I wish I could help people understand. Perhaps then we’d get the help we need from members of the community we thought we belonged to.

All lives don’t matter … yet!

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, under a rock or have been in a coma for some reason, you know about what happened to George Floyd.

And why the country is rioting, outraged and up in arms.

I see two competing narratives happening on social media. One is that black lives matter. And the other is that all lives matter.

What I’ve been taking away from this conversation is that all lives matter is pretty tone deaf. And the reason that is, is it’s very idealistic.

It’s ideal that all lives matter that all lives are treated equally, but we’re not there yet. And I hate to say but it’s a lot of whites that are pushing the all lives matter narrative.

All lives matter is being  perpetuated by a bunch of whites. And I think in some way, it’s to relieve some guilt for not doing more all these years.

It’s a way for them to say, “Hey, I value life too. In fact, I value mine and yours. So all lives matter.”

It’s trying to give the perception of equality where equality does not yet exist.

So when they say Black Lives Matter, what they’re bringing to the forefront is the fact that presently, Black Lives are not treated as though they matter.

They’re not treated as having equal worth to the white population. And that’s what the dialogue is all about here.

That a black man is so indiscriminately, killed on camera by a white police officer, as though he meant nothing.

Historically, blacks as you know, are treated as inferior to the whites, which is one of the biggest outrages, and crimes that humanity has ever perpetrated against itself.

So the focus here needs to be on figuring out how to create that sense of equality with our black brothers and sisters, our Latino brothers and sisters, Asian and so on.

The work now is unpacking and unlearning the biases, the prejudice, all of the learned hate, all of the othering, all of the distance we create between one another, the division, the time is now get rid of all of it, and replace it with understanding, listening, compassion, cooperation, collaboration, so that we are one people with some obvious complexion differences.

But hey, if you look at a garden of flowers, they’re all different. colors. And there’s absolutely no point in saying one color is better than another. They all contribute to the garden. They’re all beautiful. That’s what we’re working towards.

So please, your word usage isn’t us just word usage. There’s power in the words, the words not only mean a lot in present times, but they also have a lot of historical resonance. Black Lives Matter. And we must remember that and in fact, keep it as a mantra in your mind.

So that when you go out into society, you are remembering black lives matter when you see your black brothers and sisters. You can reach out to them you can say hi, you can tell give them a compliment, even though they’re a stranger, see them, acknowledge them.

See an equal, don’t see a color, or at least don’t see the color first. And don’t make any assumptions about what that color means because it doesn’t mean jack on the surface.

Bottom line is, you don’t know anything about a person until you’ve heard their story. So remember that.