Yesterday’s Harp worried about your opinion of him.
He didn’t just consider it or think about it, he actually worried about it. He couldn’t help it. He grew up in a household where the opinion of others was important. He realized years ago, that he had not been given the tools to build self-esteem, independent of Her opinion of him.
In fact, independent thinking was not encouraged, because it might yield uncertain results. If others confirmed these results as acceptable, then problems could be avoided. Without such confirmation, She was ill equipped to decide for herself and therefore chose to condemn that particular thought process until further notice.
Yesterday’s Harp reacted very badly to any attempt at manipulation. He grew up in a household where the primary currency was applied to produce desired behaviors. Mommy doesn’t love you when you’re bad.
His reaction to this attempt at manipulation was to deny its existence. She doesn’t mean that.
It would only become an active topic of discussion when the sibling, a younger adult Harp, expressed his own reaction to Her exact same pattern of withholding affection in return for behavioral conformity. You don’t love me???
Held up for critical scrutiny, Yesterday’s Harp began to understand his own powerful aversion to attempts at manipulation, and while it may have been suppressed as a child, it has come out as ‘a Pet Peeve for the ages’ as an adult.
Yesterday’s Harp was the last to count.
Everyone else always came first. The needs of parents, friends, girl-friends, wives, sibling, children… and at times, even associates, co-workers and neighbors where almost always the priority. Where does the tendency to put one’s own self-interests last come from? Perhaps, once again this was a priority that was adopted within the household, where his needs and wants really did not count. Certainly they were never more important than what She wanted. I imagine that this is an easy pattern to fall into, yes?
Yesterday’s Harp was hard on himself. Even his children would remark at how angry he would become when he made a mistake… when he was less than perfect. The younger adult Harp Sibling somehow escaped this pattern of self-flagellation and has learned how to forgive himself for not being perfect. He is fond of seeking to identify and curtail the feelings that cause Yesterday’s Harp to feel bad about himself, simply because he displays a weakness or needs help. Those feelings are not your friend.
He says that fairly often.
Yesterday’s Harp achieved success and recognition in a wide variety of arenas, and yet he still lacks the self-image that anyone else would say he deserves. Perhaps that’s because he really doesn’t know how to acknowledge someone else’s opinion of his success and recognition. He grew up in a household where the opinion of others was already too important. He realized years ago that he had not been given the tools to develop his own self-esteem… so he withholds affection from himself unless he achieves perfection. Self-manipulation?
And besides, such self-recognition is really not that important. There is so much that is more important. Frankly, I feel like Yesterday’s Harp, somehow managed to make it through the deep end of the pool … even though the son-of-a-bitch never learned how to swim.
Am I being too hard on myself?
Well shit, Tomorrow’s Harp is a toss-up! He doesn’t exist yet. I don’t have to answer to him… although I hope to hell he’s paying attention, but right now Yesterday’s Harp is the guy with seniority… warts and all.
Nevertheless, I feel like Tomorrow’s Harp should greet each morning with a sigh of relief and a new appreciation for the air in his lungs. I feel like he should look forward to a whole new spectrum of clarity that he didn’t have before… but I have to be careful.
Sometimes my feelings are not my friend.