Social Certainty

Veronica has been telling me lately that her school is full of enemies.

Apparently she takes it quite personally when people tell her to stop it. Or that she is wrong.

“They are my enemies when they don’t let me be who I am.”

I see her point. Choking back the laughter, I try to find a way to tell her that other people opinions are not as important as her own opinion of herself. And she doesn’t have to take other people’s words so seriously.

“Veronica, you tell the kitty to stop it sometimes, and the doesn’t mean you don’t love him…”

She does not look convinced.

“…the most important thing for you to remember is that you don’t have to agree with everyone. If someone doesn’t like your joke, you can know inside your heart that you don’t agree. But you can also know inside your heart that you are a lovable wonderful person.”

This is a tricky conversation. It is only rather recently that I’ve started to understand this concept. I can have a solid sense of self and have a bulwark against other’s opinions of me.

Self-esteem, self-compassion, self-love: these are some names for this idea. There are a lot of TED talks about it. Certainly I am not alone in my tendency to let other people’s remarks dictate my opinion of myself.

So, yeah. Cast off this burden of caring what other people think! Be satisfied, be glorious in my own self approval!

Except…

We humans are social animals. We suffer if we are entirely alone.

What can we do then? Is it possible to cloister ourselves with only the dearest friends and avoid all the rejection that “enemies” push on us?

Even the dearest friends will sometimes be in a bad mood.

And..

sometimes we SHOULD stop it.

Here’s one metaphor I find helpful. Think of a kitten’s social certitude.

My kitten is sure of his right to my attention at any moment he demands it.

Such confidence. Such unrelenting self-esteem from my little cat! When we yell at him, it rolls off as if it never happened.

Nothing shakes his belief in his right to be played with or given treats.

For me, he is a magnificent example of unrelenting focus on his desires.

What if I could be that sure of my needs and my desires? What if any rejection or setback were such an abberation, that I almost couldn’t see it?

I could ask like that.

I have greater nuance than a cat, which would help. But the confidence is worth emulating.

So much self-esteem, confidence and persistence. And I love him for it.

As I give this a try, asking for what I want, I realize I want something from you.

Yes, you, dear reader.

Help me out. As I am growing my audience I would like to understand what my present readers appreciate about me.

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I love sharing my thoughts with you, and being part of this adventure together. Thanks for your help!

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