Posts Tagged ‘self-esteem’

Don’t Be You

Posted: November 28, 2019 in Self-esteem, self-respect
Tags: , ,

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I was really surprised when my friend Amy invited me over to meet someone, a blind date. I dreaded that more than getting poked in the eye with a hot poker. But I acquiesced because I hadn’t seen her in a long time and I was also out of food. I didn’t have money to go food shopping and I was hungry. I wasn’t going to get paid for another three days. I had enough money in my account for gas to get to and from work, so I agreed to come over even though I knew it was to meet some guy that was recently widowed.

“You know it’s not a good idea to set him up with anyone right?” I asked her. “It’s probably too soon for him.”

She is the first person to tell you how happily married she is whether you asked or not. She’s even more assertive about this point if you’re single. She must have some sort of an odd genetic need to make sure all her single friends got married. It didn’t matter that I had been divorced a couple of times and wasn’t interested in dating, let alone marriage. She had made up her mind that this needed to happen.

I figured it would be fine and she was a great cook and I really liked her husband. He’s a very sweet and someone I respected as someone who had overcome great obstacles growing up. He was a successful business owner and obviously adored Amy. This was each their third marriage so they seemed to be a good match. I figured since she had threaten to kill him rather than divorce him, he went along with whatever she said. It wasn’t any of my business but I found her threat of death something I had never considered as a foundation for a relationship.

Maybe she was onto something.

She told me to dress very casually, which is sort of pointless since that’s the only way I dress. Having given up high heels recently because I could no longer wear them, all I wore was flats and in my mind and my fashion sense, anything that goes with flats is casual. That to me was the hardest part of growing older. It wasn’t the menopause or the hot flashes or the sudden belly I had when I always had a flat one. No it was an inability to wear high heels without wanting to scream 30 minutes later. I had ruined my feet after decades of wearing them and I miss them. I did agree to wear clean clothes and put on some makeup and maybe run a comb through my hair. I vowed I would put a bra on even though it was Saturday night which I usually spent with my dog, in my pajamas while watching Netflix and drinking Amaretto.

She gave a nervous laugh as if she wasn’t sure if I was kidding or not and I actually wasn’t sure if I was either.

I did put on a bra with blouse, clean jeans and a pair of my black flats. I did run a comb through my hair and managed to put on some mascara and lipstick.

I was as ready as I would ever be to forage out of my house on a weekend.

I wasn’t particularly nervous that night as I drove over. My biggest concern was where to park because they lived on a street that was packed with cars for several blocks. I knew if the husband’s truck wasn’t parked in the driveway I could pull up behind him.

But if the driveway was open it had to stay that way for when he got home. I understood. A man puts in his 18 hours a day and the least he can ask for is to park his own damn driveway and not have to park blocks away where his truck could get broken into and his tools stolen.

I pulled up and saw the bright red truck in the driveway and for a moment my life was happy and made sense. The planets had aligned and I arrived on time with a place to park and not having to walk six blocks and then forgetting where I parked my car.

I rang the doorbell and Amy answered. She gave me a great big hug. I brought a bottle of wine even though they didn’t drink. I had no idea what kind of wine I got but it was expensive so I figured it would taste good and I would drink most of it. A bit selfish on my part, but I had gotten dressed and driven across town, so I felt fine about paying for it. It had been a long week and I was about to be fed and maybe meet someone who didn’t annoy me.

Mike, the man I was to meet, wasn’t there yet. I almost felt sorry for him even before meeting him because I felt this could be the scenario of a lamb being led to the slaughter.

Amy pulled me into the kitchen after putting my coat and purse away and we chatted a bit. Then she said “There’s something I have to tell you and since we’re good friends I’m sure it will be okay.”

I didn’t like the sound of her voice and all of a sudden there’s a very serious vibe in the kitchen and it was making me nervous.

“What?” I asked. “Is there something in my teeth? Is there snot coming out of my nose…”

“No it’s just a little thing that I wanted to say and I’m sure you’ll get what I’m saying.”

I put my glass of wine down on the counter and leaned against it, braced for God knows what.

“Okay,” I said. “What is it?”

“Well,” she said and put down the knife she was using to cut to the tomatoes for the salad and turned to me.

I felt myself stiffen and wanting more wine.

“I just need you to not be you.”

I laughed and actually snorted.

“No, really what is it you wanted to say to me?” I asked.

She had a blank look on her face and it suddenly hit me that that was what she meant.

She wasn’t kidding.

“What the fuck are you talking about, Amy? What do you mean ‘Don’t be me.’ Who am I supposed to be? What’s wrong with me? What the hell are you talking about?”

I felt my hackles rise. I could see she was serious. I know I have pretty thick skin but this cut deeply and quickly.

“See, I don’t want you to get upset or offended. It’s not like it sounds. I just mean…well… you know maybe not be so…I don’t know…loud?”


“No that’s not what I mean,” she said, “Just don’t be too demonstrative. You know how you’re always talking with your hands? Mike is a very soft-spoken man and very introverted…

“Hold on a second Amy,”I said. “You mean you want me to meet someone that is quiet and introverted and now you’re asking me to, what? Keep my opinions to myself? Smile and nod at everything he says? Tell you what; why don’t I just fucking sit on my hands and you can feed me through a gag or something. I’m sure David has some duct tape in his truck. You could use it to tape my mouth shut and put a little slit in in so I can eat.How does that sound?”

I was furious but hurt more than anything. Her words cut me but I did not want to show it though I think I pretty much failed at that. I picked up my wine glass and slurped it as loud as I could and then belched as loud as I could. I put it down on counter without breaking it.

Photo by Alfonso Scarpa on Unsplash

“Oh I bet I shouldn’t do shit like that, right?”

She said she was sorry and that I wasn’t understanding her but I knew that I was. I understood her perfectly.

I was too much me but the problem was that was never going to change. Actually, using the word problem isn’t correct. I should say the way I am is the way I am a little bit like Popeye “I yam what I yam.”

I know not everyone is everyone else’s cup of tea but I always assumed a friend liked me for who I was.

I left it at that because there was a knock at the door and Mike came in and we met. He was a very nice man but he didn’t have a chance with me because I was fuming and couldn’t wait to get out of there.

Part of me just wanted to get up and walk out but the food looked good and I didn’t want to be rude. I just figured I would bitch slap Amy later.

I left earlier than I had anticipated with only half a glass of wine. I was tempted to take the open bottle home with me but now I was just being petty. I said my goodbyes and left.

By the time I got home I was sobbing and my makeup was running down my face. It took me weeks to acknowledge how badly her words had hurt me and in hindsight, that was the end of our friendship.

I haven’t seen her since and I’ve never brought it up to her because there was nothing left to say. A “friend” who is telling you not to be you isn’t a friend.

A “friend” that is trying you to be who they want isn’t a friend. They are someone with a hidden agenda. You are a means to their end. They don’t have your best interest in mind; they have theirs.

In an odd way I was upset about being upset, if that makes sense. It was like I was that fat ugly girl with acne playing alone in the playground again. I couldn’t believe how quickly those feelings came smashing in and how hard it was to get rid of them. I was still that girl that didn’t fit in anywhere yet liked everybody. The neediness in me came back and the strong desire to be liked and admired which goes against everything I believe

I find that our wounds don’t so much heal as much as we think. I think we learn to live with them. Some of the wounds will dissipate a little (or a lot) and we can think the scars are gone, but the hurt is always there.

It still bugs me that she said what she said, and for months afterwards, I didn’t feel like myself. I felt fake and insincere because on some level, I felt what she had said had some truth to it.

It didn’t, but it threw me off for as long as I gave her words validity.

That was on me and therefore something I could change. I admit her words still sting, but now they motivate me to work hard of my sense of self-worth and value.

I don’t recommend learning your true value this way, but if there’s someone in your life who doesn’t like you just the way you are, cut your losses and run.

Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash


The fat girl

Posted: August 12, 2019 in Self-esteem, self-respect
Tags: ,

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It was an incredibly hot day as we wandered around the Arts and Wine Festival in San Jose. The heat was unusual for us. Sure, we had a hot day here and there when it would get close to 100 degrees, but it would quickly cool down once the fog in San Francisco arrived. The fog was magical and cooling and made everything seem right with the world again.

I loved the fog and hated the heat, so it wasn’t a hard choice to leave my house without air conditioning and go with an acquaintance Casey to the festival. It’s not that I wanted to go, as I didn’t like her much, but anything would be better than sitting in front of two fans on my bed all day. That was a guaranteed recipe for an onslaught of apathy, despair, and just the general “My-life-sucks-and-I-hate-myself” mantra that is always so readily available, with or without my permission.

I met her there and was proud of myself for remembering to put on some sunscreen. I don’t usually wear it because I’m an odd person that actually thinks the sun is good for you, but I knew I’d probably be out in the sun longer than I wanted. I didn’t bother with a hat because I can only wear one for a few minutes before it starts to give me a headache.

I found her at the entrance. She lived much closer than I so did but didn’t want me to pick her up. I didn’t ask why as I am someone who never has people over. I’ll meet my ride down the driveway, but they never make it past the gate. It was simply a matter of space. I live in a very tiny house that I share with a roommate, a dog, and two cats. My roommate sleeps on the couch and has that entire space and I stay in my bedroom. It’s only about 600 square feet and there is no place to sit, not even me. I have a bed and he has a couch.

The cats hide under my bed if anyone dares to cross the sacred threshold of the front gate, but I’ve got no place to put my dog. He’s 80 pounds of muscle and mouth and doesn’t have great manners. He gets too excited and is impossible to control once he hits his over-excited zone. He will either be happy to see someone and jump all over them, or he’ll be scared and growl and bark.

Either way, no one wins so I avoid it at all costs.

So, no one is allowed in so that I can maintain my sanity and friendships.

We greeted each other and quickly found the beer and wine stand. We bought our tickets, got our drinks and began the obligatory walking and admiring of the vendors. The heat started to get to me immediately and I wanted to leave, but I knew my house was at least another 20 degrees hotter, so I walked in the shade as much as I could.

Casey had a full-blown summer festival outfit going on. She wore a huge straw hat, large sunglasses, and a summer smock that was bright colors. She had sandals on but they had a slight heel. Her make-up, as always, was flawless and heavily painted on.

“How do you do it?” I asked. “You know, the whole make-up thing going on in this heat? Mine melted off before I even got into the car.” That was true. Though I didn’t wear much and didn’t want to put any of since it was hot and a Sunday, I had put on some foundation and mascara. I wore my usual Vaseline on my lips and had my long hair pulled back into a tight ponytail.

She chuckled. “You are so funny,” she said which is a comment I never know how to take. It’s like when someone says you are interesting. Interesting is a good way or interesting in a bad way?

No one ever answers that question.

“Well, yeah, I’m hysterical but…how do you do it? How come your make-up never smears or fades away?”

“That’s because I don’t sweat,” she said.

I had no response so I just nodded and kept walking.

We came upon a stage with all the cute little kids dancing in their tutu’s. The music was coming from 2 large speakers on each side of the stage There were a few people sitting in the seats. Probably just the parents and volunteers.

I wanted to sit down and so did Casey. I didn’t particularly care about the performance since I didn’t know any of them and it was a school event, but it felt good to sit in the shade and sip my beer. I stretched my legs out and put my feet on the portable plastic chair in front of me. Even that was hot in the shade, but it was better than walking any further. I kicked my flip-flops off and watched the kids on the stage.

There were about 10 of them and looked to be about 6 years old. The did look quite cute in their costumes as they spun around, trying to be in sync with each other as best as they could. Their teacher was in front of the stage, smiling and encouraging them. The music was loud and their smiles and pure joy made me smile and forget about the heat for a few minutes.

The dance ended and they left the stage and got ready for the next performance.

“God they are cute,” Casey said. I nodded. She was right. I scanned the audience and saw so many proud parents.

They started the music again as a young girl walked onto the stage. She owned that stage. You could see it in her eyes. Her smile was from ear to ear. She was wearing a leotard with blue glitter all over it. She had on blue ballet shoes and blue leggings. Her hair was pulled back into a bun and had blue and purple flowers.

She looked like the cutest blueberry I had ever seen.

She was also very large. She was at least twice the size of the other girls.

She began to dance and could barely contain her enthusiasm and joy at dancing for the small crowd. She glowed and I found myself smiling and silently cheering her on.

“Wow, isn’t she a little too big for this?” Casey muttered. “I mean, she’s really fat.”

I ignored her comment because I wanted to slap her for saying it. It made me sad because it was only a matter of time before some asshole came along and made it clear that she wasn’t good enough because of her weight. It was only a matter of time before she would learn that she would be judged on her looks and not her talent and contributions. It was only a matter of time before she would be indoctrinated to what was acceptable for life and what wasn’t.

It was only a matter of time before she learned that as a woman, she would have to learn to ignore what anyone said or thought about her and live the life she wanted.

I suddenly felt sad. I told Casey I wasn’t feeling well and left. I knew her comment was simply from her life of battling her weight and the naysayers she had fought all her life, but I always expect a woman to be kinder and more understanding of another.

I have battled my weight for most of my life. I’ve been thin and I’ve been heavy, but it wasn’t until that what mattered was my health, then if I was healthy, my looks and weight would figure it out.

I saw a beautiful dancer on that stage and that’s all that matters.

That’s the world I want to live in and that’s the world that I know we all fight for.

I’ve had plenty of times of people judging me and I’ve gotten old enough to no longer care, but how do you deal with it?


This is a fairly new word that has crept into almost daily conversation.

Drama. We don’t need no stinking drama.

I hear about people not wanting it in their lives. I see it on almost every dating website profile that I have ever read.  NO DRAMA screams the words. I see people getting fired because of “the drama.” I’ve even had clients fire employees because of it. I’ve been seeing quite a bit of it on social networks.

But what does it mean now-a -days? That’s the question that has been bothering me. This word has taken on a new definition and I’m not sure what it means. But I do know what it is when I see it. Oh, it’s oh-so-clear when you see it and I think now I have a new mission in life.

Knock off all the drama. I think I now have zero tolerance for it in myself and in others. Because I’m tired of it. I’m sick of it and I’m tired of dealing with people who think they are entitled. You’re not. You never have been and you never will be.

I recently had a heart-to-heart with an employee of a client. I had been given a head’s up to try to sort this girl out because she was bringing her personal problems to work every day. Apparently she was going through a rough divorce (they’re all rough) and was sad and snappy during the day. The boss liked her enough to send her my way but had lost patience.

There were tears and justifications during the conversation. I sat. I listened. I handed her Kleenex and let her vent. Then I was done. I asked her what the hell she thought she was doing. I asked her why she acted like she did and then pointed out her job was at risk.

I wish I could have taken a picture of the look on her face when I told her that. She actually thought she could say whatever she wanted to say because she was entitled. She thought she was ENTITLED to act anyway she wanted because it was everyone else’s problem if they couldn’t deal with it. This included talking back to her boss.

She ended up getting fired because as far as she was concerned, the world evolved around her and what she wanted and what she thought and it didn’t matter what came out of her mouth, she was entitled.

She is not an isolated incident. I’ve been running into this more and more. It has been bugging me for a long time and then it hit me why someone would be so assertive to the point that they crush anyone else’s viewpoint.

They get away with it.  The more they get away with it, the more they do it. They act this way because they hate themselves and their lives so much that they lash out at anyone who doesn’t back down. Why? Because if they can take others down to their own level, it will justify their bad behavior.

It’s a very sick and twisted cycle and the more you let someone get away with it, the more they will do it.

If you actually liked yourself, you would feel no need to assert and dominate others. You would be happy and content with what other people think because you would have certainty about yourself and enough confidence to allow others to be who they are.

You want to feel better about yourself? Then stop treating others badly and having hissy fits over some imagined slight that probably never happened.

I also know when I hear someone adamant about not wanting drama in their lives, they are the first ones to dish it out, so you don’t fool me. I am just as guilty as the next person of being dramatic, but I work hard at not doing that. There are scars on my tongue from biting it and you might want to try doing that if you always feel the need to assert yourself.

The fact of the matter is, when it comes right down to it, most people don’t really care what you think. That’s a harsh reality, but if you can get your wits around it, you’ll actually be able to relax and not have everything be a battle. The people who do care about you will want to know what you think.

Good rule of thumb is not to say what you think unless you are asked.

No one is entitled to anything. Not me, not you. You are not owed anything just because you woke-up and got out of bed. I don’t care who you are.

You are not entitled to a paycheck unless you earn it.

You are not entitled to a successful relationship unless you earn it.

Your employer does not owe you anything just because you showed up for work.

You are not entitled to hurt or harm people with your words and actions. Ever. I don’t care how badly someone may be acting; you don’t get to harm them back. Treat them with as much respect as you can and then walk away. Sever the relationship if you want, but do not get dramatic.

If you care about yourself, you’ll take the high road as often as possible.

In the meantime? Yeah, you got it. Shut-up.

Start learning now and never stop. This doesn’t mean you have to go to school if you don’t want to or can’t afford it. It means to find things out for yourself and keep practicing at what you do and get better and better at it.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to feel good about yourself when you are being or acting stupid? No, really, have you ever felt good about yourself in moments like that? I sure haven’t but that is a good way to learn. You do or say something stupid, see that you did and then go find a better way to deal with it in the future.

You don’t learn about things from reading. I wish we did because then we would all be much happier. No, we learn by experience and our own observations. You know the sun rises every day, right? Well, did you learn that from reading it in a book or from observing it for yourself?

We learn by smacking into a brick wall, pulling back and rubbing our head and finding out that when we do that, it hurts. Some of us have to smack our heads against the wall a few times before we get it. I have survived many bruises on my forehead (and my butt from getting knocked down on it) before I thought “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t do that,” and figuring out another way around something.

I am also the person that if the sign says “Wet Paint,” I’m fine with that. But if it says “Wet Paint Do No Touch,” well, I have to go touch it to see for myself. I have to learn on my own and not because someone told me what was right to do and what was wrong to do. If it’s really wet, then I know it. If it’s no longer wet, then I know that too.

There are also the people who just keep banging their heads against the brick wall and blame others for it. We call these people “victims” and I wouldn’t give them too much attention. They like it.

You are responsible for your own knowledge. No one else is. You know what you know because you said so. It doesn’t have to agree with anyone else. In fact, if you look at the title of this blog again, you’ll probably get a good idea of my opinion of anyone who tries to tell me or others how things are or how to think and behave.

I will only agree to the things that I know for myself to be true and I think we all need to find our own truths no matter what anyone says. You need to find your own truth, whatever it is and then say that it is.

If you don’t understand what someone is telling you, tell them that and have them explain it to you until you understand. It doesn’t matter who it is, a boss, a teacher, a co-worker or a friend. Don’t go along with things that don’t make sense to you. Question and learn. Those that care about you will help you. Those that don’t, try to push their agenda on you. That usually indicates it’s a hidden agenda. Find out and if they won’t tell you, then walk away.

Read and then read some more. Evaluate everything you read and decided if you agree or not. You can accept or reject anything you want. Then go see if what you just read is true for you. If someone tells you a certain race or culture is bad, go find out for yourself. Go look and talk to the people and see what you see. Make your own decisions because those are the things that will give you knowledge. Your own observation is the only thing that is of value in learning.

Do you really want to look and act like everyone else? Since when did someone else’s opinion have more importance than your own? It has as much importance as you give it. Ignore it. Don’t try to learn from anyone that you don’t respect even if someone tells you that you should respect them. So what if they are a relative or rich or famous? That doesn’t mean you have to like or respect them. Be with people who you admire and learn from them.

List out all the things you would like to know more about. It doesn’t matter what they are as long as they are things you want to learn about. Then go find out more about those things.

List out all of the things you need to improve upon and start increasing your competency. If you are having trouble with something at work, get someone to help you be better at it. Know that you can be better.

List out some of the stupidest things you’ve ever done and then write down what you learned from them.  I have a long list and it makes me laugh now. At the time I did some of these things, it wasn’t so funny.

Find someone who could use your help in becoming more capable in an area and help them do that. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you are teaching someone to be better at what they do.

You are as valuable as you want to be. You are as smart as you want to be.

Let me know everything you learned this week.

Self-esteem. Lesson #3

First of all, thanks again for all your emails and correspondence. It’s nice to know that this is helping some of you and I appreciate the feedback.

So now you’ve decided to have self-esteem and should be taking responsibility for it.

Most excellent!

Now the next step is to be well and healthy.

I’ll wait while you stop screaming because that’s pretty much the reaction I have when I hear anyone talk about health. Then they start babbling  on about weight loss and exercise and right around that point I start looking for some cake or cookies to eat.

I find them and I eat them as I sneer. Childish, yes, but it makes me feel better, damn it!

As far as I’m concerned, all of us have been heavily betrayed by the medical and health fields because if they were doing their job, more of us would be healthier and taking less drugs.

But that’s not the case. We as a nation diet more than any other country and we are also the most overweight people in the world. You can research it yourself, but here’s a start:

What does this have to do with self-esteem? It has a lot to do with it because it is very hard to feel good about yourself if you aren’t taking care of yourself and don’t feel well. I personally have a much better attitude about myself and life in general when I physically feel well and energetic.

There’s no need to buy another book on dieting; we have too many as it is. We know we shouldn’t eat sugar and carbs and we need to exercise. The human body was not made to sit for long periods of time watching TV (which hopefully you are no longer doing or have cut it way down) or sitting in front of a monitor all day long.

The human body was designed to procreate and burn energy. It’s meant to move, run, jump and basically keep moving until its exhausted and then it’s designed to sleep.

All you need to do is keep moving. Cut out the junk food as best as you can. If you are sick, seek medical care and keep moving. Put better food in you and throw away your scale. You know when you feel good and when you don’t.

I took me many years to find a sane way of eating and it’s simple. Protein and good carbs. No sugar but I do break this rule on the weekends. I’m against being a slave to my body and how it looks but if it doesn’t feel well, then I don’t feel so good about myself. Sort of a no brainer, but some things just need to be said.

I’ve had some success with clients on just making the changes above. It’s not a big deal and nor should you make it into one. Just watch what you eat as best as you can. I want you to try this for the coming week and if it works for you, keep doing it:

1)      Cut out all sugar and bad carbs but this comes with a warning: You might go through some withdrawal such as getting a headache, feeling achy and tired. You might also find yourself with some intense cravings for them. That’s OK. Just keep telling yourself you are healing.

2)      Throw away the damn scale. Pick it up and run to the trash can and toss it. Have a farewell party for it if you need to, but dump it and dump it now.

3)      Remember that all the self-esteem you want is already there inside you. It may be buried deep or it may be right on the surface, but it’s there. We are just slowly removing the layers of what gets in the way of it, step-by-step.

4)      Be more physically active. This can be as simple as walking around the block or going to the gym. It doesn’t matter as long as your increase your activity level and decrease the times you are sitting.

5)      Go help someone. Find someone who needs help and give it to them. This could be helping someone carry groceries to checking in on a neighbor who is lonely. Whenever I start to feel a bit sorry for myself, I do this and it makes me feel better about myself.

6)      Stop complaining and whining if you’ve gotten into this bad habit. Keep a smile on your face and sit down and write down all the things that are right about you. Some people call it counting your blessings and it’s a good thing to do once in awhile. Email them to me if you’d like or leave them as a comment on my blog.

7)      For the next week, I want you to practice something. I want you to be as kind to people as you can. Every day when you wake up, tell yourself that you will be as kind as possible and do it. Then at the end of the day, write down how your day went. Do this every day for a week along with everything else you are working on and let me know how you feel after that.

I’ll tell you a little secret and that is, self-esteem and self-respect has nothing to do with the way people treat you. People will treat exactly as you want them to. If you don’t feel you are worth the effort, then so be it. If you are unkind to people, it’s only because you aren’t BEING kind to yourself and others. So what if someone is rude to you? Maybe they are dealing with too much that day or maybe they just lost a child or maybe they’re just mean. Whatever the reason, cut them some slack and try to be kind to them.

When you are unkind to people, if comes right back at you. This doesn’t mean you allow people to take advantage of you or allow them to harm you. It means that you grant them the right to be who they are and continue on. Take the high road as often as possible and treat others the way you want to be treated.

Try this as best as you can and keep a log.

What have you got to lose? Maybe a bad attitude is all, right?

OK, hopefully by now you’ve done the first lesson – deciding to have self-esteem.

If you have done that, then good for you. If you haven’t, go back and read the first lesson and when you’ve done that, come back to this one. Based on the emails I’ve been receiving (and I think I’m caught up on all of my responses) many of my readers are enjoying this and have all ready noticed a big difference. I am always glad to hear this and to hear from you. Please keep them coming.

Now we go onto lesson #2 and it’s simple:

Take responsibility for your self-esteem

Sounds easy, right? Well, in theory it is but what I’ve come to learn and realize is that this is 24/7. When I use the word responsibility, I’m not talking about feeling bad or shameful or having the viewpoint that this is something you “just have to do because someone said so,” or anything along those lines.

What it means is accepting the fact that it is up to you to have it or not have it. It is a self-determined action you take because you want to and for no other reason than that.

Besides, who says you must have a reason for anything? You don’t. You can do something just because you want to.

Remember, you’re the only one that can give away or take back your self-esteem. No one else has that power over you but you. Self-esteem is only about how you feel and respect yourself. If it is high, then your actions will show it. The same is true if it is low.

Many years ago, I made some changes that actually helped me to feel better about myself. You might want to do them also and see if it helps you.

1)      Stopped buying and reading women’s magazines.

I grew up reading magazines for teenagers. I was fascinated by make-up and hair styles and clothes. Unfortunately for me at the time, I looked the exact opposite of what was fashionable. At that time, everyone wanted straight blonde hair. I have curly and unruly black hair.

I spent most of my teenage years with large curlers in my hair with a cap. This complimented the braces, headgear and acne cream that was slathered all over my face. The 30 extra pounds I was carrying was just a bonus.

At that time, Yardley was the most popular brand and eventually Twiggy arrived on the scene and the excessive dieting started. As hard as I tried, there was nothing I could do about my hair. It was hopeless, but my whole life was devoted to straightening it and then avoiding any and all situations that would make my hair frizz. This meant never going to San Francisco unless I could tie my hair back. I lived in the pool as a child but the moment I decided I wanted to look like everyone else, I stopped going and the few times I did go, I made sure not to get my hair wet.

Yes, it is possible to go swimming without getting your hair wet. It’s very difficult and requires a tremendous amount of maneuvering and staying away from anyone who might splash you. I became very good at treading water in an attempt to look super cool.

I hated getting out of the pool and would rush back to the lounge chairs and try to cover up what my brothers referred to as “thunder thighs” while at the same time feeling quite envious of the thin, tan and blonde girls.

But I was reading these magazines all the time along with every romance novel I could find. I was convinced that if I just bought the next product I would be the way they said I was supposed to be.

I kept this up until my mid-30’s when I realized that I had been reading the same articles for years. Sure, it was a different name of the product but the message was the same – “You’ll never be good enough until you a) buy this product or b) wear this outfit or c) look exactly like these models.”

The reason these models get paid so much is because NO ONE looks like them. I starved myself. I got up every morning and jogged in the dark with my Mom and a neighbor. I drank diet sodas, stopped eating sugar and no matter what I did or how much weight I lost, I still didn’t feel like I was good enough.

Why? Was it because of what the magazines and TV shows were telling me? Not really, though they aren’t much help because in order to sell you something they first have to make you feel like you need to change something about yourself.

No, I felt this way because I agreed with them. I held the magazines and TV shows up as the right way to be for me. I decided that they knew who and what I should be and as long as I kept buying into it, they would continue to sell it.

There wasn’t a particular moment of clarity for me but I do remember the last magazine I bought. I don’t even remember the name of it, but I felt myself feeling worse and worse about myself until I threw it across the room and watched it hit the wall and fall to the floor.

I was done and I haven’t looked back since.

I also stopped worrying about how I looked or what I weighed. Instead I researched and concentrated on my health and let the weight go where it wanted to go.

I disagreed completely and totally with all of it.

I let my hair be curly and I wore what I liked and what I could afford.

Then I did the next thing:

2)      Stopped watching TV.

This is a hard one for most. At the time, we didn’t have the internet and I would watch a movie once in a while, but I stayed away from any form of entertainment that I thought was stupid and mindless. I would read a book or call someone and the few times I would sit in front of the TV, I would be very selective about what I watched. I would still be envious of the perfect women with perfect clothes and make-up and hair, but now I was aware that it made me feel bad about myself. When that happened I would:

3)      Find something I liked about myself.

This could be anything from my smile to my curly hair to my uneven jaw. It didn’t matter just as long as I found something that I liked. It works every time.

So when we are talking about taking responsibility for yourself, it is acknowledging the fact that you control how you feel about yourself and all of your actions. It’s also admitting that outside influences affect us and deciding to either not let them or disagreeing with them to such an extent that we remove them from our lives.

I strongly suggest staying away from anyone or anything that makes you feel less than great about yourself.

In summary, try doing the following this week:

1)      Don’t buy or read another woman’s magazine.

2)      Turn off the TV and internet and find something else to do like reading, writing, walking. Anything except watching TV.

3)      Everyday write down one or more things that you like about yourself.

4)      Email it to me and let me know how you are doing.

I have the utmost faith and confidence in you. Disagree with anyone who tells you who you should be or how you should look. They don’t know what they are talking about.

Even me if you think so. How you feel about yourself is senior to anyone else. What you think is what you think and you don’t need anyone’s approval. Not now. Not ever.

Every so often, someone will ask me a question as if I should have given that particular topic much thought and consideration.

For example, after breaking up with someone after eight months, some of the things my girlfriends and family have said:

1) Don’t worry, you’ll find someone else.

2) It wasn’t meant to be and now you’ve opened the door for the right guy to walk into.

3) I’m so sorry! You poor thing. How are you doing? I mean really, are you OK?

4) You broke up with him, right? Not the other way around?

5) Have you heard back from him?

6) He’s an idiot to have let you go. (This is true)

7) Every pot has its cover.

Etc, etc, etc. I think you get my point.

Well, I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the above. It’s my blog, so I get to do what I want to do.

“Don’t worry, you’ll find someone else,” this assumes that I am looking for someone. I’m not. Yes, it would be great and who doesn’t want a wonderful, successful and loving relationship? Most of us do but I have to be honest, and this might sound a bit bitter, but the fact of the matter is, I don’t know many people who have this. That said, I do know people that do, so it seems to be a bit of a gamble. At least from my viewpoint it does.

I can’t honestly say that I look to someone else for my happiness. I’m not broken, so I don’t feel like I need to be fixed. I would want someone that contributes to who I am and I can do the same for them.

“It was meant to be…” Well, I’m not a big believer in fate. I think you make the life you want and in the end, you have to account for your choices. Whether they were correct choices or not, you did it. Is there someone out there, wandering around and looking for me? I seriously doubt it as I am not doing the same.

I’m sorry. You poor thing,” just gets me riled! Sympathy? Nah, I don’t think so. Now this comment always comes from someone who is married or in a long-term relationship. For some odd reason, being single again annoys these women. I’m not sure why it is, but it’s as if some primal instinct takes over as if I am going to suddenly go after what they have. Or maybe there’s a bit a envy in their tone but you would have thought that I told them I was just diagnosed with terminal cancer. As if not having someone in my life is now a death sentence and they are going to send flowers.

I never get this comment from single women. I usually will get strong interest on all the gory details – I’m the same way myself – and then a high 5. Us single women seem to have a special bond and understanding. Even if we don’t particularly like each other, there is an unspoken agreement that it’s OK to be single and be happy. We can be quite arrogant on this point, by the way.

“You broke up with him, right?” Yes I did. I didn’t want to but there was no choice. Well, OK, yes there was a choice. Either hang in there longer and hope he ends up loving me or…yeah, you got it. Walk. If someone doesn’t love me, then they don’t and there’s nothing I can do about it. Nor would I try. So yes, it was a no-brainer for me. I have to say in all fairness, he’s a great guy. That was the hard part for me. It’s so much easier when people are mean or unkind to break-up with them. It’s much harder when you can see the potential and they can’t. That sucks big time.

“Have you heard back from him?” Well, no, the funeral was over a month ago. Leave the dead alone. Once something is buried, it’s not a good idea to dig it up again. It’s just not right.

“He’s an idiot…” Yes, true. Nuff said….

“Every pot has its cover.” Not true and if you looked at what was in my kitchen shelves, you would understand. I have pots and pans that haven’t had a cover since I can remember. In fact, most of my pots and pans are over 30 years old. Buying these things is just not something I do. I’m single so I manage as best as possible. If I have extra cash on hand, I am NOT going to spend it on pots and pans. I’m going to spend it on something much more important like another purse or shoes. These are the things that are important and not what I cook with.

So, here I am, 56 in a few days and single again. Does it bother me? Yes it does. It surely does. But I’ve decided to not worry about it, carry on with my career and family and friends and my writing. I’ve decided that I’m better off alone (again) then with someone who doesn’t “get me” and probably never will.

In the meantime, I have eaten an enormous amount of ice cream and had more than my share of wine, but that’s the way it goes.