Monday, March 22, 2010

Poor Self-Esteem or Self-Loathing

Self-loathing is an extreme form of poor self-esteem. It is the sense of loathing one’s self – a common theme of people with poor self esteem. I was shaving this morning and while looking in the mirror I kept thinking, “For 53 years old you still got it together McMillan.” Poor self-esteem?

I went back and re-read my last post and the first comment from someone who made the observation I am in some way making an effort to “drag everyone down into your miserable world of self-loathing.” WOW. I always subscribed to the tenant; things in life work out better when you pay attention to and accept the way things are. But what creates tension with this philosophy is so many of these “things” can be changed and do not need to be accepted, if you are willing to say or do something.

Many of these “things” can be changed for the better if one is willing to take a chance. As an example; Paul does not like the grey creeping into his hair, making him look older, so he can have his hair colored to keep his appearance looking younger. But for the woman who is head over heels in love with the man she has been dating for the past year and friends begin to point out his not keeping promises; disrespecting her in front of her friends and family; bringing up seeing him with others and their belief he may be fooling around behind her back; she makes excuses for his actions and pretends their relationship is strong, when in reality she knows the truth and is hurting inside. Making a change does not come easily and pretending things are OK is not wise.

Some would say a helpful way of dealing with troubles is to accept the realities that must be accepted and change what you believe would be most practical and advantageous to change. Like the poker player sitting on a short stack; accept that you have to play the cards dealt. You need to weigh the odds, your position at the table and how much is riding on the hand. You may be able to strategize how you play your cards by bluffing all in, but reality is, sometimes you are going to get dealt some tough hands and no matter how much you hate the cards in your hand, they are your cards and you have to play them.

As police officers we are trained to see what is wrong with a given incident. Human nature is to look at things and see what is wrong. We are not adept or experienced at seeing what is right. There is a Buddhist parable I read a while back that tells of the blind men who came across an elephant in the jungle. One of the men describes his discovery at a tube, flexible and cylindrical and suspended in air; another described his discovery as a boulder suspended over the path while another insisted it is a pillar and not suspended at all. The reality is, like these men, we do not see the fullness of reality, we only see parts of it and from different perspectives, reality is different.

Self-Loathing? Miserable world? Embarrassing? “The sky is falling” and “The world is coming to an end” pessimism? I am asked to give it a rest.

Let’s try something and see where it leads. This may be asking a lot of some. First let us recognize there are different ways of looking at things. Accept that you tend to bump into elephants from a different perspective than me. Think about changing your perspective and view the elephant from the perspective of the person opposed to your perspective and remember this new perspective is just as real. You can even change your perspective again and therefore your reality. Your ability to remain comfortable with these different perspectives will no doubt result in fear, confusion, and an unsafe feeling as well as a feeling of anger. You will no doubt be more comfortable with the perspective that is shared by those closest to you. But don’t condemn me and others for having a differing perspective because we view reality from the shoes we fill, not those worn by you.

I need to lose some weight, my teeth could use a whitening and my hair is need of a trim. I should laugh more and read more than I have been writing. I should volunteer more at Abraxis High School mentoring children struggling to fit in. I should get my taxes done and finish the job of overhauling the front yard at my daughters house. While I am at it a remodel of the master bath is long overdue. Self-Loathing? Miserable World? Not even close.


wow said...

"Paul"? Obviously, he's a Kool-Aid drinker...and why? 'Cause he has a cush job opening his bosses door, getting him coffee and running interference...

Anonymous said...

I hate myself; I hate myself; I hate myself. How's that for self-loathing?
Actually I like myself. I tell the truth, not like the lansclown, and his cowardly staff. I actually can look at myself in the mirror and say you're an honest person, with high moral values, character and ethics. Unfortunately these are the traits that the police department's upper management lost, or never had; and that includes "spines."

Anonymous said...

"Cities all around the country are hurting" from these tough financial times... I can name a dozen cities that offer BETTER retirement benefits (employees contributing less to their pensions), serve a public that is more in tune with whats going on and actually cares, and are NOT cutting police salaries (maybe cutting back on budgets... but not salaries). You want examples? Montgomery County PD (Maryland), Tampa PD (FL), Arvada PD (CO), Denver PD, Fullerton PD (CA), Huntington Beach PD (CA), and the list goes on and on. So why am I still here? Mainly my friends, my coworkers. I'm not trying to complain here... just offering examples to those who think EVERYONE is in the SAME situation as us... we just have one of the worst city governments. Look at the history of our department... has it ever really been "great" here? A raise comes then it gets taken away. Even when finances were good!

Anonymous said...

Ok I have something to share......We are in bad times right now and things only seem to be getting worse. We took big cuts to our paycheck last year. We have recently lost our PSO's. And now Officers for SDPD have already learned to take more paper and work in unsafe conditions as minimum staffing has no real meaning. When is enough going to be enough? Fire has individuals stand up on TV and say it's brownouts are going to only put peoples life in jeopardy. Wish we had leadership in the department who would stand up for us.

Instead at Central Division there is a new thing to combat. They have the "Best" Captain in the Department. His new way of micro management is to waste the time of Sgt's and make them print off every officers daily journal.

Let me ask the question. Couldn't this time spent reviewing all these officers journals be better spent doing things to better the morale of the division and department? Not to mention the time wasted by Sgt's printing there squads journal off.

Maybe the time would be better spent cleaning a bathroom or two since they are way below sanitary conditions.

Is this just another way to make officers resent this department even more. What is it, the officers fault when crime is occurring. Speaking from the experience of working in Central Division under Captain Jones it sure feels like this. Every time a serious crime occurs there is a new command post at the location the crime occured.

I can't wait until the summer crime trends hit. The command will not have any officers in the field they will all be sitting at places like 32nd and Commercial around the clock.

I agree with Steve when he says the most dangerous time is yet to come this summer. It's amazing when some of the commanding officers care more about numbers then they do of the welfare of the officers working under them.

This is one reason that makes me along with several officers in this department disgruntled. I'm prepared to leave along with others. Why work for a city so mismanaged that your retirement is up in the air and not guaranteed. In talking to several recruiting officers from other department I have discovered several bits of information. One bit of information is recruiting departments from other agencies have told me we are still looked upon as being well trained and experienced officers. I have even been told from one recruiting officer that he knows many agencies who are going to start a recruiting push here in San Diego do to the large cuts and mismanaged city and police department.

Its only began.....rumor is the city is in such a whole that even if we don't lose anything this year that we wont gain for several years do to the large deficit. With the cost of living and the economy possibly starting upward this will leave SDPD officers at the bottom of the barrel.

Remember the bumper stickers "Above average Cops for below average pay." Its upon us again.

Be safe

Mad Jack said...

I read the whole business including the links, and I do not see your writing as pessimistic or tragic. I think you're a realist and it's possible that some of your readers are out there.

Back in the bad old days, President Jimmy Carter was faced with a hostage crises. President Carter wanted the hostages rescued and he commanded (literally, he's the commander in chief) the personnel who could get the job done. Instead of going to his special forces leaders and telling them to 1) Handle it without anyone's approval or worry about fallout and 2) if you need anything, tell me and I'll get it to you, the good President got involved along with a few elected officials, some of whom had never held a gun in their lives. We all know the resulting debacle.

In the case of the Fire Department, city management could have faith in professionals and say much the same thing. We've got fires as need putting out. You get your men together and put out the fire, and if you need anything let me know and I'll get it for you.

That's not happening here, and that's something no city can afford.

Obviously this is a two way street. Fire personnel cannot become greedy and request things they don't really need. However, I'm willing to pay a little extra, especially when it will save my home.

I think a large part of the problem is that the people who are managing the city, that is the city government, are qualified for that position by winning a popularity contest. So, if I'm attractive and well-spoken, and have minimal skeletons buried under the floorboards, I might get elected. Give me a great staff, and I'm likely a shoo-in.

Keep writing. You're doing good.