I would like to take this life/experiment metaphor in a more focused direction. Many authors tell stories of a person going on a journey, which is a metaphor for their life. They liken life to a walk on an unknown path where there is no turning around and there is no map. On this walk there will be times where the trail is rough, steep, muddy, dangerous, while other times it will be a smooth, gentle walk downhill on a perfect sunny day. As my supervisor pointed out, the walk can get easier as long as you are willing to learn from the decisions of the past. But there has to be more than just learning. This is where self-esteem can prove to be valuable. People with low self-esteem tend to be shy and fearful of their decisions. They dread taking chances and standing out from the crowd. They are more likely to do what others tell them in fear of being responsible for their actions. People with low self-esteem may walk along this metaphorical path and get passed by others because of their overly cautious pace. They might allow someone else to take the lead despite knowing the paths not chosen are better. They might not enjoy this beautiful walk because they are too busy second guessing past mistakes or worrying about the potential rough terrain ahead or an impending storm. Low self-esteem is plagued with guilt and shame. Guilt arises when you do something bad. Shame arises when you feel you are a bad person. Low self-esteem, guilt, and shame make for a harsh walk regardless of the terrain, weather, and situation. So why do some struggle with low self-esteem despite being smart, attractive, and capable?
We live in a culture that promotes perpetual happiness. This is very dangerous and clearly false because happiness is not permanent.
Beer, tobacco, and soda companies suggest their products will make us feel younger, act cooler, and appear more attractive. Beauty and health magazines offer the cures for a growing waistline, small biceps, poor social/sex life, a dated wardrobe, and wrinkles under around the eyes.
Pharmaceutical and medical companies convince us that our sadness, anxiety, anger, tiredness, restless legs, and erectile dysfunction are terrible things to be feared and embarrassed about. Good thing they have a cure and if we take what they offer, we will immediately be happy. (I need to say there is nothing wrong with medicine itself. It is amazing and improves life. What is wrong is the unnecessary prescribing of these medications to people who might not need it.; people who never worried about these ailments until now.) All of the messages from pharmaceutical, beer, tobacco, soda companies, and, magazines when taken at face value can prove fairly harmless. However the danger lies within hidden, underlying message. The message is that you are not smart, good looking, stylish, or fit enough. You are not emotionally stable, physically healthy, nor sexually capable. These messages are not obvious, they are below the surface. But now that you’ve done a little digging and are armed with a little knowledge, you might be able to build some sort of defense against the fear and low self-esteem that accompanies these cultural messages. When you buy into these hidden messages, the walk on this unknown path is going and it is bound to arduous. Understand that these companies just want your money and they will distract you with fear to reach into your pocket. Maybe the walk on this path will become a little easier k