Just realized this recently - as a JW, I never "owned" any of my accomplishments or talents & abilities....
Muddy Waters wrote: All our talents and abilities are OURS. We are gifted (whether by a god or a universe, or heritage of genetics, or pairings of various particles and quantum things, who the heck knows...) and we stand on our OWN.
From my perspective, the PRIDE comes in how how I choose to utilize and develop those God(???)-given talents.
When we develop our gifts and utilize them to better our lives, the lives of our families and our community at large, we demonstrate respect and appreciation for those gifts by putting them to good use *now*. Not setting them in a symbolic box, 'safely & quietly' placed in the back corner of a symbolic dark closet while waiting on some future, fantasy event or time that very likely will never come.
We show appreciation by using our talents DAILY to help both ourselves and others.
I think it also makes us more appreciate the talents of OTHERS as they help us to achieve our goals and/or we can learn by their examples (and mistakes). Yes, we are humbled to the point of wanting to learn more, grow more, share more, receive more, and do more. The stimulation comes from within. Not from being brow-beaten by domineering overseers for whom nothing is ever 'enough'.
To me, that internal drive and stimulation to contribute to the human experience is spirituality. I think it is different than most people's view, but it works for me.
Outward displays of 'task completion' (ie: field service hours, meeting attendance and participation, etc), these are just short-cuts to actual, true spirituality. They can be faked with relative ease and are not honorable in their drive. The goal with JWs is often more focused on the appearance of spirituality than the actual spirituality itself.
But that is probably best left as a topic for a separate thread. (Sorry to detract from current OP Focus Topic~!!)
Yes, Self-worth and Self-esteem are squashed within the society. Any "accomplishment" needs to be downplayed, or trivialised or one risks being classed as "arrogant" or "self-willed" or "proud".
As a result, most witnesses are guilt ridden, and lack self-esteem.
It is the old FOG methodology in play *(Fear, Obligation, Guilt)
This thing of 'honoring' our natural gifts and talents is a huge point to make! Thank you MUddy Waters for posting this. As a born in JW I had a love for music ever since I can remember. When I was 9 years old I fell in love with the violin and although Teachers noticed I had a gift for it; almost perfect pitch, it was just a side thing and 'hobby' as far as JWs went. Even when I tried to just offer my playing at a 'get together' as a gift or just a nice offering to the occasion, it was almost as if I was discouraged from it...when I played there was generally no comment or if there was it was a 'won't it be nice in the new system to persue your musical interest?' I kept my music in my life private pretty literally 'in the closet' and all through marriage and motherhood that's where it stayed. Later I finally started finding outlets to play (worldly) as my kids got older. It was then that I started to hear encouraging comments and people actually wanting me to play. Then I started teaching and the rest is...well, getting to know all these 'wordly' people in their homes and in the community The break from the cult was inevitable for me. I was 41 when I finally came out of the closet...years lost where I could have been working with other musicians and honing my skills. I know my story is not at all unique in the ex JW experience. I try not to be bitter and am glad I got out when I did but every now and then, when I'm with my fellow music teachers and such, I still find the low self esteem and a feeling of being a fake creep in.
I read your post while reading the following in a book:
High self-esteem provides the power to know what and who we are. It gives us the courage to live out that very personal knowledge in our daily actions, choices and way of interacting with the world. Conversely, low self-esteem cripples the ability to "make waves" on behalf of what we know is right and truthful for ourselves. In extreme cases, it hides what the individual wants. In striving to achieve emotional security, acceptance and a sense of belonging, people who don't think well of themselves violate their own life and its directives in favor of the wishes and expectations of others.
WT crushes self-esteem for their exploitative purpose.