A College Professor writes of his experience in getting students to submit a profile of themselves, at the beginning of each semester, by asking: Who am I? The question is believed easy to answer but many find it's not as easy as they thought. The question not only tends to bring up troubling negative self images, as well as positive ones, but tends to reveal how much we identify with our superficial personality traits. Not content with most of the answers, many students had difficulty in meeting the deadline for the report.
In these difficult times, there are students, fortunately, who are able to have positive self images, but also, unexpectedly, many who see their existence negatively and pessimistically. The professor mentions that he repeatedly tells students to have a positive view of life. However, they are not able to do it. Some constantly belittle themselves, can't forgive themselves for being dropouts or for their inferiority complex, for feeling guilty of something and being alienated from family and neighbors, for worrying about jobs and the future. These are some of the negative profiles received by the professor. .
He uses the moral writings of Hans Rotter, a German theologian, to stress that most of the problems that determine how we react with others and God result from a poor self image. The remedy is to forgive and to love oneself and to realize our dignity. One cannot do this by oneself; help is needed.
He recounts his own difficulty with achieving a positive self image: poverty of his family, problem meeting registration fees, frustrations in not doing well in studies, facing puberty, feeling out of place, no self-confidence with women--all leading to low self esteem and a period of drifting. About 30 years ago, thanks to his wife, he went to church and found himself. It brought confidence into his life, his negativity disappeared, and he now lives with a grateful heart.
A proper self image is necessary to understand our relationship with God and others. The students who saw life positively and had a correct image of themselves were, for the most part, those who had a relationship with God.
The professor stresses that even Catholics may not have the proper understanding of who they are. The love of God and others must start with oneself by acknowledging our dignity and being able to forgive ourselves. Our movement towards the other and to God will then follow.