Tuesday, September 2, 2008

....after the new desk

I was sitting at my new desk on Sunday, still organizing some things (ok, many things), and feeling like the chair I was sitting in was not quite the right height. So I called the other Pastor in, to see if we could figure out how to change the height.

He sat down in the chair, and took a look at the left arm, which was frayed and actually coming off.

"I think you need a new chair," he said.

I am getting a new chair soon.

I think I had the oldest chair in the office. When I mentioned this to our treasurer, she said, "Well, you never say anything."

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure that I noticed that the arm was coming off the chair. Probably, as well, it never occurred to me that I deserved anything better.

This is one of the things I have just been learning lately.

To believe that I do deserve some things.

And it's not just about desks.

Recently, I got a startling insight about self-esteem, or lack thereof: someone told me that, in a sense, low self-esteem was really a selfish position, because it focuses on "me", and whether or not I can speak up, or what I deserve.

"Instead," the person said, "Think of it another way. Other people deserve to hear your voice, need you to share your gifts, and to speak up. It's actually selfish to hold back."

I'm still thinking about that one.


Presbyterian Gal said...

I find selfishness in the expectation of a payoff. It doesn't matter which side of the esteem issue you sit on, if your intention is solely a personal vindication or attention of some sort, then that's the payoff. And IMO, selfish.

If you're honestly not noticing these things that's not at all selfish. That's usually attached to genius.

I found it helpful with the "deserving" issue to view getting and having stuff and such as illusion management.

Diane said...

it's not about expecting a payoff for me, PG, but being brave enough to say what I think.

Mrs. M said...

I think there's truth to that, and I find it totally unnerving.

ProclaimingSoftly (PSanafter-thought) said...

Interesting thoughts on self-esteem. I think that point of view depends on the person having enough self-esteem in the first place to have some original thoughts.

I've seen a "shy" child use the shyness as an attention getter. My niece didn't get out much and mix with other children. When she did, she was "shy." My sister said she could see her daughter using this to get attention and get some power, as in, "Oh C___, you're so shy. Come on over here. Yes, come on, I'll help you meet some kids."

Jan said...

Diane, good insights. I've been struggling for years about that--wondering what "humility" is and coming to see more and more it's not low-self-esteem. This is something women wrestle with more than men on the spiritual path, I think. I was helped by a book by Carol Flinders--"The Root of this Longing." She's the author of "Enduring Grace," and one of the authors of that long-ago natural cookbook, "Laurel's Kitchen."

Border Explorer said...

Most thought-provoking!

I always have a problem deciding what I "deserve" of material things when I know that half of humanity is living on less than $2/day. I know I'm already using way more than my share.

But this concept of not speaking up being selfish is interesting. I know sometimes I'm not generous enough to undertake the risk of voicing my opinion.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Self-esteem, humility, etc. are all tricky balancing acts. My issue growing up and as a young woman was believing that I didn't deserve to have needs. Which is basically the same as saying I don't deserve to have life. My negation of need was simply a huge neediness, if you see what I mean. And yet . . . we live in a culture that is constantly saying "You need this" because "you've earned it." And I do get caught by the advertising siren song. How to find the place of meeting true needs instead of using consumerism to fill holes? I expect that's something to struggle with for a whole life.

I'm glad you're getting a new chair.

Diane said...

Ruth, as always, you capture both sides of the dilemma.

Border Explorer, good point. But rather than just obsessing about poverty, I like that you are working for change.

My counselor was especially trying to get me to think, "just what is it you are accomplishing by staying silent?" (and not just, or even primarily, about chairs!)

FranIAm said...

Your words here move me Diane. Beautiful.

You reveal the glory of God every day.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

ah yes... finding our voice and using it very key. i'm sining in that new choir of self-actualization diane... so come on over!

Presbyterian Gal said...

Sorry, wrong impression.
Didn't at all mean you were. Gonna go chew on my toes now that they're accessible.


beth said...

Oh this is so, so good for me to read.

I'm starting to feel very convicted about this silent martyrdom game I've been playing in my head, thinking "I don't deserve any better...."

Still sorting through it. This post was timely and excellent for me to read today.