In his 1943, “Hierarchy of Needs” paper, psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) theorized ultimate need of humans is to be truly Self-actualized”. Displayed here as a pyramid, the final need before “Self-actualization” is “Self-Esteem”. For my purposes, I refer to it as “Positive Self-Esteem.”
At the end of my first paper, I asked this question: “Why dad?” I doubt I will ever get an answer but as of now I no longer care. I took the childhood hours of isolation and turned them into learning about the world as I saw it. I took the pain of rejection and used it as a tool to mold myself into the extrovert I am now. I took the phrase I often heard: “You can’t do it!” and turned it into “I can’t do it if I don’t at the very least try.” I learned to face adversity with the only true weapons I had, my brain and my determination to overcome. Even when homeless, I never completely gave in. Yes, there were many obstacles in my path, some of my own making, others not, but all lessons I needed to learn.
My one fear was arrogance! For some reason I was, and still am terrified of being characterized as arrogant because I am not. I am confident of the knowledge I possess and the knowledge I want to learn. Maybe I do not have the academic credentials of my peers but then they don’t have the life credentials I do.
Do I have positive self-esteem? Yes! Have I realized Self-actualization? No, not yet but I’m still a work in progress. The day I stop trying will be the day my doctor says, “He’s gone.”