Ex Sectum Nos Victum
I have always viewed myself as having a somewhat high self-esteem, but taking the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory, I learned that my previous assumption was inaccurate. Scoring a 33 on the inventory, which places me significantly below average, was a true eye-opener. I suppose that I have always associated attitude and emotions as the key elements of self-esteem, but as the inventory unearthed other aspects, such as self-concept and self-perception, the true interpretation of my self-esteem was revealed.
I have always made it a point in to take things lightly. I use humor to repress the realities of life. When faced with a negative and inevitable event or outcome, I have made it a habit to smile and search for the needle of optimism in the haystack of burden. I believe that this is what has contributed to my misguided view of self-esteem.
I am admittedly guilty of displaying little confidence in myself in terms of physical and behavioral standards. More often than not, I will succumb to the pressure to withhold my thoughts or ideas in order to please someone, or to let that person shine. I often do this for fear of ridicule or to be completely unheard or misunderstood. This often results missed opportunities or unpleasant outcomes that could have been avoided had it not been for my withheld thoughts.
I, too, am guilty of having little confidence in myself in terms of physical characteristics. Having gained thirty pounds in the past few years, and losing my high school physique as result, I often find myself down-heartened and upset that I have let myself get to this point. At the end of a stressful day, I find it more compelling to surf my DVR as opposed to running a mile. This dormancy in my exercise routine has affected my self-esteem in the past few years.
There are two mantras that narrate my life. My first mantra is a personal saying that I hold so dear that I have had it inscribed into my skin. My other mantra is a song that has become track one on my life’s playlist.
Ex sectum nos victum, roughly translated is ‘from pain, we conquer.’ I hold this saying close because it reminds me that no matter what life throws at you, overcoming it will inevitably make you stronger. Over the years I have fallen back on this phrase in times of personal turbulence and hardship because of the knowledge that no matter what the situation, I will be a better person for having experienced it. I have such an admiration to this ideal that the Latin phrase is permanently tattooed to my shoulder.
The Dashboard Confessional song, ‘Don’t Wait’ describes my view on life, and the things I should work on in order to enhance my experience in life. There are two specific lines in this song that speak to me and encourage me more-so than any word or song can describe:
1) ‘…don’t wait, the lights will flash and fade away, the days will pass you by, don’t wait,’ (Carrabba, 2006) which I interpret to mean that life is short and you have to take risks to take life for all it’s worth.
2) ‘…don’t wait, the road becomes a sudden sea, and suddenly you’re deep enough to lay your armor down,’ (Carrabba, 2006) which tells me that if you put up walls of suspicion and distrust, you will miss out on many great things.
These two mantras have helped me grasp the realities of life. They have enhanced my self-esteem in terms of having less fear when it comes to taking chances and having confidence in pursuing the things I want in life.