Self-Love vs. Self-Love

In the last year and a half or so, I’ve thought a good deal about the concept of ‘self-esteem’.  As a handwriting analyst, this is one of the easiest things to spot in someone’s personality on paper, and whether it’s low or high defines the writer in hugely significant ways.  High self-esteem means high goals, a certain fearlessness, confidence in one’s abilities, and it strengthens other personality traits.  Low self-esteem means a fear of failure, hesitation in taking risks, an irrational sense of one’s own limitations and imperfections, and it spreads insecurity throughout the whole personality.

Does the term ‘self-esteem’ strike you as one of those phrases thrown around by soft psychologists who try to fix everyone’s problems by telling them to “believe in themselves” or other such fluff?  It struck me this way to a certain degree before I began to study the differences between ‘ego’ and ‘self-esteem’.  Basically, what I want to demonstrate is that ‘ego’ is oneself as oneself, whereas ‘self-esteem’ is oneself as a human being.

I just recently finished reading through C.S. Lewis’ collection of essays, God in the Dock, and a few days ago, one of the shorter pieces really made an impact on me.  The title of the essay is Two Ways With the Self, and in it Lewis explains the contrast between two types of self-love.  He does this much better than I can, so I’m going to quote him a bit:

Now, the self can be regarded in two ways.  On the one hand, it is God’s creature, an occasion of love and rejoicing; now, indeed, hateful in condition, but to be pitied and healed.  On the other hand, it is that one self of all others which is called I and me, and which on that ground puts forward an irrational claim to preference.  This claim is to be not only hated, but simply killed…(p. 194)

We all know that we’re instructed to “love your neighbor as yourself”, and wouldn’t you agree that this would not mean much for our neighbor if we had an overall low and critical view of ourselves?  Yes, we are imperfect now and there are always many things to improve upon in our lives, personalities, etc.; but we also know that we’re supposed to love one another without judging, without nit-picking, but instead with compassion and encouragement.  If our neighbors are to receive kind and loving treatment from us, we must first deal with ourselves in the same way.

What Lewis calls “an irrational claim to preference” is the self-love completely opposite of this.  When we love ourselves primarily because we are ourselves and for no other reason, our main motivators become selfishness, greed, pride.  When we realize that this type of ‘high view’ of ourselves isn’t shared by others or we are let down by life in general, we fall apart and, failing to nurture and show compassion to ourselves, we become unable to be helpful to others as well.  In fact, being down on ourselves makes us more likely to wish misfortune on others.  Lewis describes this spreading of a low view or ourselves onto others:

The other kind of self-hatred, on the contrary hates selves as such.  It begins by accepting the special value of the particular self called me; then, wounded in its pride to find that such a darling object should be so disappointing, it seeks revenge, first upon that self, then on all.  Deeply egoistic, but now with an inverted egoism, it uses the revealing argument, ‘I don’t spare myself’…(p. 194-195)

In sum, when we love ourselves as God loves us, daily putting to death our many failings yet constantly forgiving and encouraging, we will have a sense of self-esteem which goes hand in hand with humility.  Then we will be equipped to love others as ourselves, with exhortation and consolation.  One last quote:

The wrong asceticism torments the self: the right kind kills the selfness.  We must die daily: but it is better to love the self than to love nothing, and to pity the self than to pity no one (p. 195).

All the best,



‘Very Thought-Provoking’

This is a testimonial form a friend whose handwriting I analyzed about a week and a half ago.  Thank you very much, Rachel!

I had a lot of fun listening to Allie tell me about my different personality traits based on what she saw in my handwriting.  Most of what she said was right on, and my roommate, standing next to us, nodded her head in agreement the whole time!  I found it rather helpful, hugely encouraging, and very thought-provoking to have someone else elaborate on characteristics (some of which I knew about, and others that sounded right, but I hadn’t thought about) that define me, and explain how they all are evident in the way I cross my T’s, slant my handwriting, lift my pen, sign my name, etc.  The part I appreciated most was that Allie didn’t leave me with just “these are things about you that you can think about,” but instead, she offered suggestions on how I could try changing certain details in my handwriting to affect different facets of how I live life.

Please get in touch with me if you’d like your handwriting analyzed by an expert!

All the best,


Rain, Rain Go Away Variations

The rain this evening reminds me that this morning yet another kindergartner mixed up words in a very humorous way during class.  You know, I never realize what certain students think the lyrics are to a song until I call them up and have them sing it as a solo…and I’m often very amused at what I hear.  I actually can’t even remember what today’s variation was today, but I know it was in Rain, Rain Go Away.  Here are some favorites from past classes that I do remember:


Original: Rain, Rain Go Away, Come again another day

A boy student’s version: Rain, Rain Go Away, Come again on Mother’s Day


Original: Hot Cross Buns

A girl student’s version: Cross Off Doug


Original: Bow wow wow, Who’s dog art thou?

A girl student’s version: Bow wow wow, Who’s god art thou?

There are many more, but these readily come to mind at the moment.

All the best,


Tracks of the Bulldog

More analysis of another interesting character: Winston Churchill!   Here are a few traits visible in this sample:

1. Steeple-shaped m’s and n’s – these indicate lightning-quick thinking ability and decision making.  This man was seriously intelligent.

2. I-dots that look like periods.  No slash, but firmly planted and round.  Churchill had a strong sense of loyalty to whatever group or idea to which he linked himself.

3. Notice how the y’s end or link up to the next letter by forming a v-shape to the right, rather than making their way left.  This reveals an aggressive nature.

4. Churchill enters his t’s and even l’s from above rather than from the baseline, which means that he prefers to be spoken to and dealt with in a direct manner.

5. The slant of Churchill’s writing leans toward the right.  He is expressive and highly motivated by his emotions and desires.

Thank you for reading!  Please respond with any comments or questions.

All the best,


Hitler’s Handwriting

I know this is super small, but check it out – the handwriting of Adolf Hitler.  Let me draw your attention to a few different traits you might extract from this small sample.

First, notice the tiny size of the writing, especially the middle zone letters (such as m’s and a’s, etc).  This is a sign of extreme concentration and ability to focus intently.

Second, look for the slashes above some of the words – these are either t-bars or i-dots, and they indicate temper, tension, and irritation.

Third, notice that the t-bars slant downward heavily, almost creating what look like x’s instead of t’s in some cases.  Very domineering and craves control (surprise!).

Fourth, the p’s, such as the in the second word in the last line, extend high and form a v-shape below the baseline.  Hitler enjoyed a good argument and would pick a fight sometimes just for itself, with nothing in particular to argue about.

Fifth, the take a look at the sharpness of the m- and n-tops.  This is a sign of incredibly quick thinking and high intelligence.

I’ll try to put up and analyze the handwriting of someone admirable next time. :)

All the best,


Surprises and Concertos

Holywell Music Room on Hollywell St. has been the focal point of classical music in Oxford since 1748.  Haydn and Mozart have both performed on its stage, and now well-known musicians from all over still congregate here.  In late July, Chelsea and I decided to attend a concert here on our last day of four in Oxford.  The Adderbury Ensemble and pianist Viv McLean were to perform.  We walked in to buy our tickets and as we were paying, a man in black concert dress to the right of the ticket counter looked at us and said, “Oh, and you’re going to be turning pages for us during the concerto too, right?”  He had a smirk on his face, so I played along, “Of course!”  “Really?” he asked.  Again, I jokingly assured him, “Sure! I can do that.”  “Great!” he exclaimed, “We’ve been looking for someone to turn pages all day!”  At this point, I began to realize that perhaps this wasn’t a joke.  A series of confused questions and answers took place between this man and I, and before I knew it, he was saying, “Can I take you backstage to meet the pianist?”  I was taken through the hall, across the stage and through a door into a room where I was introduced to Viv, a handsome man who took my hand and bowed slightly, making me feel as if I were in a Jane Austen movie.  Both men kept thanking me profusely for being willing to turn pages, like it was a matter of life and death, when really it was I who was so thrilled to even be there!  I went back, shaking slightly, to take my seat and enjoy the first half as an audience member.

The ensemble played Divertimento in D by Mozart excellently.  Though they had no conductor, they moved together  effortlessly.  Then Viv McLean played a favorite of mine, Chopin’s Nocturne in C sharp minor, followed by Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, one of the pieces I can’t imagine anyone being able to memorize, but he had.  After that was the “interval” in which I nervously made my way backstage to wait with the musicians.  Whereas the ensemble and the pianist had played separately during the first half, they were now to play Chopin’s Piano Concerto in F minor together, and I was to turn pages for Viv.  I chatted with them for a while, and they were so pleasant and enjoyable that I was sad to have only known them for one evening.  Eventually we were all out on stage and the concerto had begun.  The music was absolutely beautiful, though I could hardly concentrate on it because I was so concerned with turning the pages at the right time, my fingers digging into my thighs, keeping count like my life depended on it.  Each of the three movements had probably 15 page-turns, some of them easier to keep track of than others.  Thankfully I only lost my place right near the very end during a 4-page-or-so-long period of triplet after triplet after triplet in the piano part, and Viv seemed to have it all by memory at that point anyway.

I was so honored to have been of assistance in this concert that I didn’t feel I needed anything in return, but I was given my 15 pounds back and also a free copy of the Adderbury Ensemble’s recent cd of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which has been a favorite of mine since the time of doing “ballet” and “figure skating” in the living room when I was little.  Below is a picture of me with the ensemble members on the left (some of them had already changed from concert dress), and Viv nearest me on the right.  I miss Oxford already!

All the best,