The Org taught me that my worth and value as a human being was dependent on whether I continued to be a member, and how valuable a member I could prove myself to be. My parents also instilled in me the "loyal love" concept you speak of daniel-p. So I felt self-esteem when I was inside as a hard working slave, but I would call it more "other-esteem" because it wasn't based on any inherent value of myself alone independent of obedience. Which was why I initially felt utterly worthless after leaving because I had learned the intended lessons very well. I'm glad for all of you who didn't buy into it as much.
SELF ESTEEM in the organization
I ahd no self esteem as a dub, so mine increased manyfold
It steadily decreased as time went on. As a male in the org, I felt constantly not good enough. I do not like attention, I suffered from panic attacks and didn't give talks or read or say prayer. That in itself destroyed my self image, because I was constantly berated for the things I was not doing. Plus, I watched guys who I remembered as tiny kids progressing to the point of elder-hood, then looking down at me like I was some kind of loser or slacker.
I recently told my dad that I feel I was never allowed to have a shred of dignity in the organization, and now that I am not attending meetings, the org seems determined that I can never have dignity even if I am gone.
That to me seems like enough to prove that it is not the truth.
I'm not sure to be honest, I was looked down on a lot as a witness because I refused to be a 'good girl', I was happy kicking a football around with my worldly boy mates, and so to counteract the attitude my witness peers had towards me I was a cocky little bitch really, but this was just hiding my true feelings I think.
These days I do have low self esteem but at the same time I'm very assertive and demand respect from those around me.
If that makes any sense at all.
Self esteem within the organization? what's that??? I gained self esteem once I left the borg.
SELF ESTEEM in the organization
Didn't you know you can't mix oil with water?
I had to escape to preserve a little bit of self-esteem left in me, which didn't let me to become a complete idiot.
Growing up a Witness and going to public school brought on so much humiliation that I became a painfully shy and overweight child. To add insult to injury certain relatives would "encourage" me or shall I say make me feel like crap because I couldn't comment at the meetings or give talks. So as the years in the organization progressed, my self esteem plummeted. I have done a complete 180 since those days but my aunt still can not figure out why I am happier away from the borg
definitely decreased, as I was slowly getting a bit older and life wasn't panning out how I instinctively know it should, but I always felt I had some kind of higher purpose and calling as long as I stayed in the org. And then I discovered all the falsehoods and hypocrisy and rotten fruitage in the org and the WTS leadership. So I faded right out of it. My self-esteem is now still rather low compared to the average person around me but in a kind of perverse twist I now feel superior to dubs and actually feel sorry for them. I do, however, feel a lot lighter and more free to do my own thing, so that makes up for the low self-esteem as a result of having been a life-long dub and then awakening to it. Your self-esteem is basically a reflection of the degree to which your reasonable expectations in life have been fulfilled. The less those natural expectations are realised, the less your self-esteem. So the answer for me has been to change my expectations. I'm trying to slowly eliminate the perfectionism, judgmentalism, negativism, that is endemic of JW thinking. Instead I try to have a lighter, Epicurian outlook on life and remember that nothing really is worth taking too seriously in the end, except enjoying simple pleasures in moderation, friends and family, and basically just living myr life in accordance with the divine law of love.
EPICURUS: PHILOSOPHY AS PAIN AVOIDANCE
by Gordon L. Ziniewicz
1. The purpose of philosophy is not to pursue knowledge for its own sake, but to bring about peace of mind and body.
2. Happiness is peace of mind and body. It is tranquillity or undisturbedness (ataraxia), the quiet of a mind free from fear and a body content with natural satisfactions.
8. Bad opinions cause mental disturbance, and bad (imprudent) conduct causes mental and bodily disturbance. True philosophy replaces false and disturbing opinions with true and pacifying ones and it teaches prudence -- the practical wisdom of calculating what pleasures ought to be pursued, when they ought to be pursued, and how much of them. Bodily and mental peace result from the enjoyment of simple pleasures in moderation. Lacking what we naturally need causes pain. Having or seeking what we do not really need or more than we really need also causes pain.
9. Two bad opinions that cause suffering of the mind (fear and anxiety) are:
(1) Superstitious belief that the gods meddle in human affairs, hurl thunderbolts, punish after death, etc. This fear is unreasonable. It is impious to believe that the gods would lower themselves and diminish their happiness with involvement in human affairs. (2) Belief that death is painful. Life is sensation and feeling. Since we stop feeling when we die, death is nothing except the release of soul atoms from the body. Death is the end of sensation, the absence of life. It is not painful and not to be feared. It may even be welcomed as the end of bodily pain. Good = pleasure and bad = pain. Both come to an end with death. Contemplation of our mortality brings peace -- as the irrational craving for immortality causes pain. The anticipation of death is painful; the reality is not.
Peace of the mind requires that one possess true opinions about the gods and death, and be free from fear of them.
10. Calm acceptance and simple living are the way of the Epicurean -- who prudently manages those affairs over which he has some control and resigns himself to those things beyond his control.
11. Pleasure is the absence of pain; it is undisturbance in body and mind. Pleasure is the calming down of atomic collisions; pain is the speeding up of such movements of the atoms. The faster atoms move, the more they tend to break away. Happiness is pleasure (the chief good) which means bodily and mental calm.
12. Things we desire fall into three categories:
(1) natural and necessary -- such as food, clothing, shelter, friendship, reason. (2) natural and unnecessary -- more than we need. (3) vain (artificial and unnecessary) -- things we think we need and that others have fooled us into believing we need, but do not really need.
13. The enjoyment of the natural and unnecessary or the vain may itself result in pain. But, more often than not, the difficulty of pursuing and obtaining unnecessary pleasures can be extremely painful, even deadly. For example, the pursuit of political power is accompanied by all kinds of hazards and tribulations. It is just not worth it. We cause ourselves great pain and disturbance by seeking things we have no business seeking in the first place. For one thing, we compete with others who seek the same goods. Much pain is self-created because we value the wrong things. Philosophy teaches us to value what is natural and necessary.
14. Among vain pursuits is the pursuit of extravagant philosophical opinions. True philosophy is Epicurean philosophy, not Platonism or Aristotelianism.
15. Prudence is even more precious than philosophy; in fact, prudence is philosophy, for prudence rids the mind of anxiety and the body of needless suffering.
16. The pleasures of the mind are superior to pleasures of the body. If one has mental peace and friendship, one can be happy despite illness or other physical suffering. (Epicurus was physically ill for much of his life.)
17. Quality of pleasure is more important than quantity. The enjoyment of simple pleasure, such as conversation with a friend, is much more tranquilizing than continuous "drinkings and revelling." Self-control and moderation, not endless satisfaction without moderation, is the key. The word satisfaction comes from the Latin word satis which means "enough." For the true Epicurean, enough is enough. For the profligate, enough is never enough.
18. In order to be free from pain in the body and trouble in the mind, one must be safe from one's neighbors. There are three ways to obtain this safety:
(1) Withdrawal from others (forming a community apart from the city, such as Epicurus' "Garden"). (2) Making laws or social contracts with others not to harm or be harmed by them. Justice is not "natural." It is not a structure of the universe, etc. Justice is their prudent agreement to leave each other alone. See XXXI-XXXVI (Principal Doctrines). (3) Having friends. Every friend we have is one less enemy. Besides that, friendship has positive benefits. Life in community with friends imitates the blessed life of the gods. See XXVII, XXVIII
I remember thinking that everybody outside the Org was worthless and was going to die anyway.Regarding myself I felt that I was a sinner and was constantly emotionally battling this sinful state I thought I was in - It didn't leave much space to feel good about oneself.
Interesting question. I think in some ways being raised a JW helped me with certain aspects of self-esteem. I read well, speak in public well, and as I was giving #4 talks at a very early age, received much positive reinforcement from those in the cong.
However, overall being raised a JW really takes it's toll on you. You are absolutely destroyed in school for being different. And in the congregation, your supposed "haven" from the pressure of the world, you're constantly being told that you're not doing enough - can't you pioneer, can't you give more $$, or more time, or whatever. You never feel that you're good enough. You feel bad for every 'sinful' impulse you have, like no one else in the cong has them. If you're not given privileges, then you are obviously doing something wrong, or just plain not good enough.
Jesus said that his 'yoke was light' - obviously he was NOT raised as a JW........