The Random Writings of Rachel: Unconditional Personal Regard

Unconditional Personal Regard

"You're awesome, just like Akka!" - What my 4 year olds told me the other day.


"Akka" is Rebekah, my 16 year old sister. The reason why the little ones might tell me I'm "awesome" just like her is because Rebekah says, "I'm so awesome!" about 6 times a day, always with a gleeful smirk on her face, and usually in the context of some accomplishment she's proud of--it could be anything from a lunchtime recipe invention to a 100% on a test to a prank she pulled on her baby sister. No one else quite understands Rebekah's awesomeness scale except for her, and I think that's cool.

You see, Rebekah suffers from a condition we've come to call Unconditional Personal Regard. It could also be termed Overwhelming Self-Confidence. Basically, no matter the condition of the world around her, she remains completely convinced of one eternal truth: she is awesome. And she's not alone in this condition--it's a gene that runs strong through several generations of my family.

It dawned on me recently that most human beings probably don't have the experience of growing up in a large family full of people who happily consider themselves the smartest and funniest and coolest and awesome-est people on earth. Empirical proof doesn't matter, not really. It's nice to have, occasionally. But for us, graduating from college with a 4.0 GPA doesn't prove your brilliance, it just happens as a natural result of being unbelievably brilliant.

As I've grown older, I've realized all the more how bizarre it is that when I look in the mirror, I think I'm gorgeous. From a purely objective standpoint, I realize that others might see a too-short, too-scrawny girl with too-frizzy hair--a cosmetologist who never learned to do her own makeup properly. In some sense, there is a logical part of me that recognizes I'm no Miss USA...but most of the time, I find that hard to believe, because I think I'm stunning. And a genius. And a really, really good cook and party planner. I'm an awesome blogger, too. And if there were prizes for knowing English grammar, I'd win them all.

Suffice to say, I suffer from the same thing Rebekah does, even if age has somewhat tempered me and I don't announce that I'm awesome 6 times a day. Maybe once or twice.

I do a lot of editing for family members--once, in desperation, I asked my mom to re-read something she wrote, but this time from the viewpoint of an objective reader, not from the viewpoint of an author who loves her own work because it's what she created. She did, and she told me that after reading her work from the viewpoint of an objective reader with no vested interest in the work, she came to the objective conclusion that the written word was utterly brilliant and she had a new favorite author. Herself.

Unconditional Personal Regard strikes again.

I'm not entirely sure this is the best way to live, though it's the only way I've ever lived. I hear a lot about combating low-self-esteem and the importance of avoiding negative self-talk, and I'm grateful that those aren't a struggle for me or for my family. But at the same time, I sometimes wonder if a little more balance--a little more recognition that there's always room for improvement--would be a good thing...

And how do I respond when my little ones tell me I'm "awesome just like Akka"? Graciously, of course.

"Honey, I've been being awesome since before Akka was born."

18 comments:

  1. This is hilarious! I love everything about this! Thanks for giving me some great laughs tonight!

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  2. I love that your sister is so confident! I could use more of this in my life. Thank you for sharing!

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  3. I don't see any reason why we all shouldn't fancy ourselves awesome!

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  4. Ha ha. I need a bit of this in my life : )

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  5. I love your response to your little ones! Healthy self esteem is a good thing!

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  6. You have a very healthy sense of self!! I think we are taught too often to be "humble" and not believe that we are awesome. I always want to be able to look in the mirror and think I'm gorgeous without feeling bad about it. (Yesterday I wore no makeup and felt the hottest I've felt in a VERY long time! So much so I had to take a selfie.) Pai says, "I'm awesome" alllll the time and even though I know he's being funny, he really does think he's awesome and he has a great sense of self. I love this about you people :)

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  7. Your family is beyond fortunate to have such a wealth of self-esteem and ability to view yourselves as the awesome people that you are. I can't even fathom how different my life would have been if I'd been raised with this mindset. Goodness knows I'd have battled a lot less self-esteem, self confidence, and self love issues over the years, that's for sure. Thankfully I've been very consciously working on these points throughout my adult years and have made strides on all those fronts. I think at this point that I could even say that I think I'm awesome, too. :)

    Big hugs & many thanks for this fantastic post,
    ♥ Jessica

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  8. Great post. I love everything about it!

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  9. I love this. Self-Confidence is always reason to celebrate! :)

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  10. Ha ha ha!!! I read this on my phone in the middle of the night last night and laughed hard. I had to dust off my computer and turn it on so that I could leave you a comment and let you know that this post is awesome. However, I am willing to bet that you already knew this post was awesome, so my attention was unnecessary! Ha!!

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  11. I think that's a wonderful way to be!! No self esteem issues for your family; my family all have issues. We never had much praise, if any, growing up.

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  12. One of our children has this same condition. She thinks that she is infinitely smart, talented, and likable. She hasn't hit the rough middle school/high school years so I hope her massive self-confidence will get her through. I guess it sounds like she is self-absorbed, but she really isn't. She genuinely admires others and gives them praise, probably more than any of my other children combined! She even makes me feel a little more awesome because she is so darn nice and thinks I'm good at stuff. (Again, we'll see what happens to that when she hits high school...)

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  13. Rachel this is probably the greatest thing I have ever heard. Seriously. This is what I want each of my girls to feel. I struggle with self-confidence immensely and while it's not entirely because of my upbringing, I watched my own mother struggle with her insecurities my entire life. With no father to add that male value, my sister and I grew up worrying about out weight and our inherent awkwardness. I've worked so, so hard to hide these tenancies from my kiddos and give them confidence in themselves above all. But I would love to hear what your mom's magic tricks were. I'm sure she is a wealth of information on how to raise beautiful, smart, confident girls.

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  14. I'll give you a run for your money on those English grammar quizzes! ;) I, too, have been known to suffer from this on occasion. Because we're cool. Obviously.

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  15. :). We're all pretty awesome--God doesn't make junk!

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  16. This is hilarious. Thank you for this right now. ;-)

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  17. Loved this! I believe that more people should seek to have this kind of confidence and God is smiling upon you for loving what He created. I sure do wish I could ignore all the negative self-talk I have in my head. Thanks for making more aware of it! Beautiful writing! Blessings!

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  18. I like this too. It sure beats thinking "we're lousy or we're just ordinary or we can't do anything right." With age, comes balance - it will all balance it out. But you know? God thinks you're way awesome too!!!

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