The Color of Self-Esteem

The New Age movement has informed us of a wonderful metaphysical development: the Indigo Child.  For anyone who has missed this phenomenon, Indigo Children are reported to be a group of humans incarnating into this world with a greater knowledge of their own inherent spiritual nature and power.  They are said to embody a higher consciousness, which is free from the limitations and pettiness of modern society.  This progressive generation, which sources place from anywhere between thirty and eight years of age, are the ones who will bring a cosmic change to the societies of Earth, allowing us to complete our transition into the New Age.

Indigo Children are said to exhibit peculiar traits.  They resist conventional modes of behaviors, and are commonly identified through recognition of 10 behavioral indicators:

*  They come into the world with a feeling of royalty (and often act like it)

*  They have a feeling of “deserving to be here,” and are surprised when others don’t share that.

*  Self-worth is not a big issue. They often tell the parents “who they are.”

*  They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).

*  They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.

*  They get frustrated with systems that are ritually oriented and don’t require creative thought.

*  They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like “system busters” (nonconforming to any system).

*  They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward, feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.

*  They will not respond to “guilt” discipline (“Wait till your father gets home and finds out what you did”).

*  They are not shy in letting you know what they need.[1]

These children are also said to have a greater psychic awareness, clear memories of past lives, and the ability to communicate with spirits and angels. Some sources cite telekinetic abilities and connection to extraterrestrial entities.

Countless books and websites speak of how to deal with Indigo Children.  Parents are encouraged to allow their children to define themselves and establish their own boundaries, if they are so inclined.  Undue restrictions or disciplinary actions can stifle the development of an Indigo Child and lead to his dysfunction.  Particular care is given to differentiating between an Indigo Child and a child with autism or ADHD, for the structure necessary to deal with these behavioral disorders can damage an Indigo.  In a New Age homage to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, parents are to allow their children to develop as naturally as possible, allowing society to impose as little of its limitations and restrictions upon Indigo Children as possible.  After all, these children are our future, and are heralding the New Age!

Well, instead generation of enlightened beings at the forefront of spirituality, the Indigo generation has proven to exhibit qualities more akin to narcissism.[2]  The Indigo phenomenon has shown itself to be nothing more than a New Age version of the increased permissiveness and lack of responsibility that is fast becoming the hallmark of our culture.  Instead of teaching children the importance of discipline and accountability, we have engrained them with self-importance, fearful that any restriction upon them will damage their self-esteem and leave them psychologically crippled.

The Indigo Movement has more problems than that, of course.  Any half-aware parent can tell you that the signs of special-ness that Indigo children supposedly display are not that unusual, especially in children denied the benefit of regular discipline.  Survivals from the racism of Theosophy have shown up in claims of the Indigos embodying a new “root race.”[3]  Many parents identifying their children as Indigos appear to be in denial that their children suffer from autism, ADHD, or other disorders[4]  — leaving the question of how self-important they are that they can’t admit there is something wrong with their children.  And then there is the question that plagues the rest of the New Age movement: why are we undergoing immediate preparations for the Age of Aquarius when any amateur astrologer with a computer can see that the progressing equinox won’t enter Aquarius for another 300 years?

But I’m digressing a bit.  My own self-importance must be getting the best of me.

Phil Hine describes confidence as the skill of being relaxed in the immediate present, and asserts this skill as essential to the practice of magic.[5]  Such a skill requires an individual to feel prepared to handle situations that may arise, as well as awareness of the individual’s immediate surroundings and situation.  It can be overdone, however, and over-confidence can prove just as detrimental to he magician as a lack of confidence, especially if it goes so far as to develop into full-blown magus-itis.[6]

Self esteem and positive self-image are important, but our contemporary obsession with them has greatly over-exaggerated their importance.  Studies have shown that not only does high self-esteem not lead to higher accomplishment and self-actualization, but it can actually inhibit it.[7]  Studies have also shown that unearned self-esteem can be a causative factor in bullying and other violent behaviors, as well as inherent feelings of superiority and aggression.[8]

So, a point begins to emerge.

It does a disservice to anyone to constantly reassure him of his greatness and his entitlement to glory, especially in the absence of worthy achievements.  Raising an entire generation to expect  This does little to further society. others to recognize their inherent wonderfulness and ignore their self-absorption does not help society progress to an age of enlightenment — it gives rise to millions of people who are reluctant to work to accomplish anything, who feel entitled to recognition, and who are self-obsessed and shallow.

It does little to further he metaphysical community, either.  The New Age Movement doesn’t need any more self-importance or pretension, and quite honestly neither do the Neopagan or occult communities.  Raising a child to believe in his destiny of greatness — whether earned or not — and then putting him in an environment where others are attempting to manipulate reality is asking for trouble.  At best he would become an annoyance, attempting to impress or intimidate others with tales of power that have never been demonstrated[9]; at worst he could manage to cultivate his magical power, and could use it to compel and manipulate others into satisfying his need for attention and reverence.  Neither situation depicts a person that many magicians actually want to deal with.

So what is the solution?  Chaos Magic has several techniques developed for ego deconstruction that will surely be of use[10], but I’d like to be so bold as to propose a few suggestions.  Recognize the importance of discipline, and accountability, especially in magical practice.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and having the discipline to stick with something will only benefit your competency in whatever it is you are doing.  Develop your confidence, but do so through study and practice.  Know your limitations, especially while seeking to expand them.  Do not expect or demand praise, even when it is due.  Don’t be afraid to hurt someone’s self-esteem with honest criticism, especially when analyzing yourself.  Acknowledge your mistakes when you make them, and learn from them if you can.  And try to avoid overstating and exaggerating your achievements … too much.

Remember, you are special.  So is everyone else.  Performing magic or having psychic ability does not necessarily make you more special than anyone else, and it certainly doesn’t entitle you to be held up above others.  Let your actions speak louder than your words, and don’t demand special recognition for either.

[1] http://www.indigochild.com/

[2] http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,254904,00.html

[3] http://www.halexandria.org/dward035.htm

[4] http://www.skepticreport.com/newage/twyman.htm

[5] Hine, Phil. Condensed Chaos. Tempe; New Falcon Publications, 1995., pp. 48-9

[6] Hine 49, 46; I also refer the reader back to my previous work, “Know Thy Ego.”

[7] Baumeister, Roy F., et. al. (2005). “Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth” Scientific American, January 2005. Available Online at http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000CB565-F330-11BE-AD0683414B7F0000

[8] Baumeister, Roy F. (2001). “Violent Pride”, in Scientific American, 284, No. 4, pages 96-101; April 2001.

[9] As is the case with certain acquaintances of mine.

[10] Hine’s Condensed Chaos features an entire chapter addressing the subject.  I recommend it.
© 2007 Chirotus Infinitum

Published on The Witches’ Voice July 2007

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