These 4 letters will safe your life and keep you out of trouble for the rest of your life. Oh really Colin how’s that then?
Well the letters actually is one of those acronym things and stands for ‘Low Self-Esteem Means Friction and Trouble’. Isn't that exciting?
Well you never guess how these words have save my life when I remembered them and done the opposite when I forget them. I actually came across it from a book that I read a while back "How to have Confidence and Power when Dealing with People" by Les Giblin. Here’s how it works and if the analogy is a bit weird, bear with me. The way it was explained to me is that having low self-esteem was like being hungry. Often when we are hungry or have the feeling of serious lack of food in our stomach all our thoughts go to that hunger. That hunger becomes an all-consuming thought. You mind is filled with the pain that being hungry gives you. You can't entertain another thought for anything else. You don't have time for niceties or pleasantries. You might even be downright rude or angry. Contrast that with after a decent meal or have sufficient food inside you. Very different feeling, yes? Now you are content and the world is wonderful again. Now you have time to talk and give out nice words to loved ones and are a together a much nicer guy.
Think for a moment about that. What actually changed? Now there is no one answer especially if you go down to the deeper stuff but my understanding is that once the feeling of lack or hunger is fixed your mind is able to take its focus off the problem with lack of food and so you become open again. You are more willing to share the biscuits or cookies.
How that works with reference to LSMFT is that when you self-esteem is low you become territorial for what you have. All you can think about is what you don’t have. You are irritable. Small things set you off. Arguments are more likely to flair as people’s opinions or ideas different to your own are like they’re taking food off your plate and you're like no you don't I'm bloody hungry mate Grrrrowl.
Many moons ago just days after finishing school I moved out of the parents’ home in Suffolk, England and shared a house with my oldest brother in South London. Now, I was a just a pup. I was really very like a fish out of water at the time. Here I was in a huge city after moving from a tiny village. I was feeling very insignificant indeed. So here I am feeling like a nobody sharing a house with my older brother. He had a job, a nice motorcycle and more importantly he was my older brother. I had no proper job, I had a crappy 50cc moped, no friends, nothing.
We would have arguments about absolute crap. How to cook boil in the bag rice, who’s turn to put the bins out, who should make the decisions. I remember once we had an argument about something or other and I had a pair of scissors and we where fighting like something from a movie where I was bearing down on him with these scissors in my hand and (thankfully) he was stronger than I was holding it away me burying it in his head. The only thing that stopped it was a double glazing salesman ringing the front doorbell!!!!
Awareness is the key
To cut a long story short after every “ding-dong” which actually were rarely that physical, it was usually me shouting louder than my brother, I would go back to my room, think about what happened realized that I didn’t need to argue like that. I could have at some point stopped myself and controlled myself. Quite clever from a 16 year old I think. I would often come out of my room find my brother and apologies and say sorry about that I was weak, I could see it happening but I was too weak to stop myself.
What this actually did was it actually boosted my self-esteem as it wasn't easy to admit you were wrong but after I was able to rationalize what happened I could figure out what it meant and what I could do.
So really, to start with remember LSMFT. Keep that in mind if you can. Think is this an act of high self-esteem or am I looking for this battle to protect my feeling of lack. Think back to when your self-esteem was good, would this thing I’m about to get steamed up about seem that important then?
They say that when your self-esteem is smaller than you problem you go trouble but when your self-esteem is bigger than your problem you only have challenges that you can overcome, see over or step straight over. You also become a better listener too because you’re not trying to talk over people with your opinion which believe is right in an attempt to get your ego/self-esteem fed. You can choose which things you need to comment on based on their importance. i.e. if I tell this person my opinion is it to try and boost my ego or is this really important. In other words if this person's opinion going to cause a serious life ending disaster or is just an opinion that’s different to your own? If it’s the latter then you can feel there really esteem boost in that you were able to hold your tongue and let the baby have its bottle, as they say. You'll also find that nodding your head and going “Hmmm…that’s interesting” will score you brownie points as he or she has for once been able to express their opinion for a change. Conversely if it is life ending serious than feel free to stop him and correct him before he there is a major disaster.
So there you have it. Be aware of where you are and what those next sentence in a possible sentence says about you and what could happen next.