Self Esteem and the Craft

I started working on this post for my parenting blog, but I found so many over laps to things that we forget as adult pagans. Being comfortable in ourselves is just as important as any lesson you can learn about the Goddess and the theories behind the religion. So I’m going to do a little overlap here.

The book I’m reading is called Positive Pushing: How to Raise a Successful and Happy Child.  As I noted in the original post (which will post on my other blog Mama in they Wyrd Wednesday), I really found bits and pieces of myself in this first chapter so far. Things that I struggle with myself and it’s really interesting to see where some of those faults may come from.

Aspects of Self Esteem

  1. Security and Competence

All humans need to feel loved. We need to feel important and needed. It’s like a security blanket. We feel depressed when we don’t have a purpose or aren’t doing as well as we had hoped. My years since college have been rife with moments that made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough or I wasn’t good enough.

Second, we need to feel some sort of mastery over some part of our lives. When we are young this is learning and developing through milestones, but as we get older, it gets tougher to figure out where we can play master in our lives.  For some people it is doing well at their jobs while for others, they are the masters of their own home. Without a sense of mastery in our lives, we can feel a little lost.

I personally remember several times in my life when I had no control over what was going on. It was frustrating because I was an adult or near adult age and wanted that power. Back then I would have run for a spell or ritual, but you know what, it wasn’t always the best answer.

Often our poor choices are the results of insecurities, which are related to our self-esteem. Yes, we use magick, but should we always use it? Should we try to master that particular aspect of our lives, or is there a reason for what we are going through. These are all things that we need to look at as we think about performing rituals, spells, or even praying for things to get better. Always remember….be careful what you wish for. Sometimes it might not be what you need or even really want.

We all want to win, but sometimes we have to lose for the game to be worth playing. If everything came easily, life would be boring and lifeless. So we have to master ourselves and eventually muster our self-esteem so that we can be the best versions of ourselves and do what’s best in our lives.

I know…..easier said than done.

So how do we develop competency and security as adults? It’s much harder than when we were little and had our parents to do it for us.  We can’t always expect someone other than our parents to have unconditional love for us, and that is how those who have it, gained it as children.  So we have to love ourselves. We have to forgive ourselves and remember that at the end of the day we aren’t as bad off as we could be.

Now, I don’t know how to help you if you have issues with self-love. I have a BA in Psych, but that isn’t a Masters or a PHD. I’m not qualified. So if you feel that you have issues with self-love, it may be time to find some help. That’s not me trying to be mean, but if you can’t love yourself at the end of the day then you have to find something, someone, or help to find your way to loving you.  I know I have my off days and even I need a little professional help sometimes. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Now, that I’m off the mini soap box let’s get back to it. The second thing we have to do to foster security and competency within ourselves is to let loose. We have to let ourselves take some risks and make some mistakes.  We need to know that we can push past the boundaries that we have set for ourselves or that society has set. I’m not saying rob a bank or do something stupid, but push yourself out of your comfort zone.

It may be scary, but it might be freeing as well and the more you do it the more you may realize that making a minor mistake isn’t such a big deal. And please, take your risks on your own time, just as a precaution. You don’t want to mess up your job or your personal life trying to foster a component of self-esteem within yourself.  And remember, while boundaries are needed to keep the world from being too overwhelming, if you limit your ability to take risks, you limit and make your world smaller.

Belief is another important aspect of competence and security.  We have to believe in ourselves and our abilities.  Anyone who calls themselves pagan should understand the power in those words. Ever done a halfhearted spell that made you nervous? It didn’t work at best and came out muddled at worst. Why? Because you didn’t really believe in it or knew it shouldn’t come to pass.  Everything we do is about belief, particularly belief in ourselves.

Witches and pagans believe in all sorts of things that most of the world cannot see or even contemplate as real. We believe in spirits, powers, spells, magick, and if we look hard enough we can even make connections between our beliefs and science…but that’s a message for another day.  The point is that we are power and will to effect changes in our lives because of our belief….and part of that belief stems from a healthy dose of self-esteem.

I think Henry Ford said it best “If you do or don’t think you can do something….you’re right.”

And we have to remember that we get out of life what we put into it.  While our children are learning the consequences of their actions, we have to realize that sometimes the consequences are worth the actions. For example, to build ourselves up, we have to be able to do things that build self-esteem, even if they scare us.

Often we fear consequences that put us out of our comfort zone, but part of being an adult is doing things that we are uncomfortable with. It’s amazing that where kids have to learn nearly the exact opposite, we have to make sure that we retain some of their youthful knowledge. We cannot allow ourselves to become so indoctrinated with societal norms that we forget to take a little risk here and there even when we know the consequences.

Going back to what you put into life, you get back. Think of the rule of three.  All the good you do comes back to you. Maybe not three times more, but you get back what you put in at the very least. The same thing goes for when we fail to take a risk that might better us.  We see a door close on an opportunity to grow within ourselves.

If you put out positivity and hope, it comes back into your life. No one else can fix us for us. We have to do it ourselves and the first step is positivity. We have to believe that we can fix it and then start doing things that work towards that end. And what those actions are will be different for every individual because the God and Goddess made each of us unique.

Self Reflection

This is a hard thing to do, even if you have good self-esteem. None of us want to see the dark in us. I remember talking about this in my lessons with Lady G. She told us how important it was to recognize the dark along with the light.  I remember her telling us about someone who left the class because they did not want to see the “darkness” in the craft. They wanted to be what most hereditary witches would call “fluffy bunnies”, seeing nothing but the good that could come from the craft.

Ignoring the bad in something you love can come back to bite you and so can ignoring the bad aspects of yourself.  I know it’s hard. I struggle with it every day and some days I fail….miserably. But we have to remember that the big picture of who we want to be is more important than a few mistakes.  In the long run it will make us more successful in our personal endeavors.

If you struggle with self-reflection now is as good a time to work on it as any. If you have kids they will learn from your example and even if you don’t, it can affect you as a teacher, a mentor, a friend, and just as a person in general.  We have to be able to admit our mistakes to others and ourselves if we want to become our best selves.  It’s not only mature, but I think it’s what the God and Goddess hope for us. They don’t want us to hurt others and often, when we lie about our own imperfections, feelings get hurt even if they are our own and that’s just bad karma.

So here are a few words of advice for all of us who are struggling…..

  1. Let your attitude determine your achievement. Not the other way around.
  2. Never be afraid to be a kid….have fun (This goes for adults too).
  3. Don’t let self-esteem get mixed up in achievements. Achievements aren’t your life in a nutshell.
  4. Don’t run away from yourself, embrace the good, the bad, and the quirky.
  5. Don’t ignore obstacles, overcome them.
  6. Confidence is born of patience and experience
  7. Learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes (easier said than done).
  8. Get into the process, not the result.
  9. Doubt is the number one cause of poor achievement. (If you don’t believe me listen to the Ford quote above).
  10. Follow your dreams and enjoy the trip.

If you’d like to read this from a parenting perspective see my post Esteem and Weekly Reading in my pagan parenting blog, Mama in the Wyrd.

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