I was saddened today to learn of the death of Ed Bradley of CBS. His interviewing style on 60 Minutes was appealing, informative and very human. Over the years, I cannot recall hearing or observing any sarcastic, mean-spirited expressions coming from him on the air. Sometimes his personal attitude about a subject came through during his interviews and his questions signaled that. But, I thought he was fair.
I just read a short bio of his life, which couldn't possibly cover the depth of it, but one statement I am quoting below is one we all need to remember.
It reminded me of how much power each of us has to be a positive influence in the lives of others, especially our children.
"Bradley grew up in a tough section of Philadelphia, where he once recalled that his parents worked 20-hour days at two jobs apiece. "I was told, `You can be anything you want, kid,'" he once told an interviewer. "When you hear that often enough, you believe it."
Key word is "want," assuming you know what you really are drawn to do. (I wonder how long it took Ed to realize his gifts.) I am just saying that he was fortunate to have open-hearted parents who instilled that kind of confidence in him.
I don't believe most people grow up hearing that kind of reassurance. Hearing "good job" isn't the same as imbuing a child with consistent unconditional feelings of being loved and valued. Misguided parents may think they will swell the heads of their children if they deliver such a positive message. Instead they shrink their hearts by instilling self-doubt.
I heard Maria Shriver say her father and her mother gave her that same kind of positive belief in herself. What a wonderful thing!
Parents with poor self esteem foster doubts of unloveableness in their children. They are so powerful. How could they do anything but that? Maybe the kids find their way to build it later because of some positive influence from someone else who believes in them. Often not.
Many times, I have analyzed several samples written by the same writer over decades. I find that the way the person sees himself stays pretty constant despite what he achieves.
Handwriting clearly shows the level of self-esteem. It is usually the first indicator I look for as the starting point of an analysis because so many fears and defenses loom when the writer's innermost feelings are bruised.
If you want some help on dealing with such feelings check out, "How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath. (You see it listed on the side bar.) I like it.