Low self-esteem revisited

There is no way around it: Upgrading-Morten’s-knowledge-about-Alcohol-and-Alcoholism-Course will be a bit fragmented. Things come up that I need to write about and, at those days, the otherwise tightly run course will be put on hold.

Two thing happened today, which, once again, made me think about the effects of having a low self-esteem. Let’s call these two incidences ‘The Calendar Mix-up’ and ‘The Review’. First I will introduce the two incidences as vignettes and then I move towards the finale with an emotional crescendo.

‘The Calendar Mix-up’: Yesterday I texted a colleague to tell him that I had to cancel the meeting we had planned for today at 9 am. He responded that he didn’t have anything in his calendar and that we should just find another time to meet up. Fine. Today at around 10:30 I got a text message from him saying that they had already held the meeting and that he would have appreciated a head’s up that I wouldn't be attending. I immediately freaked out and called him up. He said that in yesterday’s text, I had asked about a meeting ‘today’, that is, yesterday. I quickly apologised and we agreed to continue the meeting right away via skype. Before opening the computer, I got a chance to re-read my text message and I realised that I had been correct all along: I did not write the word ‘today’ but did, in fact, refer to a meeting the following day, that is, today. So I was right, he was wrong. And, still, during our skype chat, I kept feeling guilty. As if there was something for which I had to apologise.

‘The review’: I am writing a research article together with a colleague and today we got the review report from the editors. Our article was accepted for the publication but the editors also wanted us to change almost everything we had written. The article is quite experimental and does not fully respect the precise requirements of the publication so, in that sense, it is perfectly fair that the response was somewhat reserved. Still, editors often try to accommodate the authors and give them some leeway in terms of the format of the article. That was certainly not the case here. While I know that we had written a solid article that could find publication elsewhere as well, I was immediately worried that we hadn’t fulfilled the editors’ expectations; that we had submitted a product that was below standard. And, still, even though I was a bit stressed out about it, I immediately called up my friend and colleague and strongly suggested that we withdraw our article from the publication.

So, twice in one day, I was reminded about the effects of a low self-esteem. Or, that is at least how I interpret my own reaction to these two occurrences. There was no reason for me to feel apologetic during the skype chat because I hadn’t done anything wrong. Even if I had missed the meeting, I probably shouldn’t consider my forgetfulness as a complete moral collapse. And there was also no reason for me to stress out about the response from the editors. The article was great! And they basically did their job.

In those situations I do get anxious and worry about the world falling apart, But I also often do stick to my guns. And I really don’t know why that is. It’s quite contradictory to me.  

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