Tag Archives: self-worth

A-Z of Life – Honesty

self-honesty-freedomLet’s be honest – it’s always easier to blame other people/other circumstances for our misfortunes in life, isn’t it?

But where does that get us?

Nowhere, that’s where.

Or continually walking down a path always looking for something or someone to blame and never once looking closer to home.

But maybe we should.

Every day we always have a choice.

And those choices determine what happens in our lives. Some of it will be good and some of it will be not so good.

But, and here’s the crux of the matter, if the choice you made turns out to be not so good, then instead of looking for someone or something to blame we need to look at our actions. After all, weren’t we the one who made that particular choice?

We’ve all done it. It’s human nature. If something goes wrong it’s easier to blame circumstances or fate or luck, isn’t it?

I’ve spent a good part of my life blaming others for my ‘lot in life’ – unlucky, ugly, useless, worthless, etc. You name it, the list is pretty long.

But, over the last couple years, having been on this voyage of self-discovery I realised the ‘others’ involved may have caused an initial blip in my life (for want of a better expression), but I was then ultimately responsible for how I felt. After all, I was the one that chose to let their actions affect my life, I chose to believe I was worthless, I chose to believe that I deserved everything that was thrown at me, I chose to believe that I should be treated without respect.

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it!”

I looked closely at my own actions and worked hard to improve and better myself in all areas of life and these days I wake up and choose to be positive.

Because I believe in myself now.

For sure, I may still get a few wobbles and panics occasionally but I stop, tell myself to stop being so silly and as a certain song goes, always look on the bright side.

I am alive.

I am allowed to have dreams.

I deserve to be here.

I deserve to have a life.

I am worthy of life.

I am worthy of respect.

I value and know my worth.

I choose life.

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Was Joan Bakewell right to link anorexia to narcissism?

narcissus

Before I answer that, let’s have a bit of a Greek Mythology lesson:

Narcissus was the son of the river god Cephissus and nymph Liriope. He was proud, in that he disdained those who loved him. Nemesis noticed this behavior and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image.

And from that vain lad we get the expression “narcissism” which means (according to Dictionary.com) an inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity. And in a psychoanalysis context, erotic gratification derived from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.

So, no. Baroness Bakewell was emphatically wrong to link anorexia with narcissism.

An anorexic is not in love with the way they look, or indeed in love with themselves. Believe me, I know. I’ve been there.

After being teased about the way you look, or made to feel worthless, or that you are the stupidest person in the world, you feel hopeless and helpless and not in control of anything in your life.

You look in the mirror and see fat, ugly and stupid.

There’s a little trigger that switches on in your brain that says, “if you lost a little bit of weight, you’d look and feel amazing!”, and then after losing, say a couple of kilos, the trigger switches on again, and so you lose a little bit more, and then a little bit more.

And there isn’t a problem, you see, because you’re in total control – but when you look in the mirror that fat, ugly, stupid girl is still staring back at you, so you lose another couple of kilos.

You start exercising in secret – 100s of abdominal exercises to trim the wobbly bits around your tummy.

You start hiding food, pushing it around the plate and making it look as if you’ve eaten something.

You become clever at hiding the fact you don’t eat. You find ways to skip breakfast. You lie about having lunch, and then you eat a tiny amount for supper.

When I was a teenager, I lived on a sandwich a day for 2 years. Not a fact I’m particularly proud of now, but at the time it was the only way I could feel that I was worth anything.

I didn’t have many friends at secondary school – I was different (a bit geeky (something I’ve embraced as I’ve grown up), preferred performing arts to make-up and boys, etc), I was never one of the “special pretty” girls at dancing – just the tall, plain one at the back.

I just wanted to fit in! And I thought if I was thinner, maybe I would be prettier.

Nowadays, I love being different. Different is me! 😉 And, as I’m always telling SC “why fit in, when you were born to stand out”. The one thing I have learned in life is to be yourself. People will either love you, hate you or blow hot and cold no matter what you do.

But back to the point in question, anorexia is not about vanity, it is ultimately a cry for help.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I never got so bad that I had to be hospitalised. I could never make myself throw up, tried it – stuck my toothbrush down my throat, gagged, but couldn’t do it.

If anorexics were narcissists, then they wouldn’t self-harm either, would they?

Self-harming, like eating disorders, is again brought on by feelings of such low self-esteem and self-worth and trying to grasp back that sense of control.

Even a recovering anorexic will always have an issue with food. Sometimes they go the other way and become bulimic. But again, that’s just the control coming in to play.

I had both anorexic and bulimic tendencies – meaning I munch an entire packet of biscuits and crisps and cake in one sitting, then I would starve myself for a couple of days to punish myself.

For the record, I never self-harmed!

I had periods of anorexic-skinniness throughout my teens, twenties and thirties.

Did it make me feel happier? Did it make me feel prettier? Did I ever feel thin enough?

No, no and no.

So, what changed, if anything?

One word. Me!

I realised that the only way to feel happy, is to feel happy with who you are. You may be different, quirky, geeky, normal, flamboyant, etc. But the thing is you’re you. Nothing can change that – and just because you don’t fit into some conventional society-labelled pigeon-hole – why should you?

If we can feel happy with who we are on the inside, then it shows on the outside.

I tend not to look in the mirror these days – only to apply make-up. I don’t weigh myself 5 times a day any more. I exercise, but not to excess.

I still am careful with what I eat – but nothing as bad as it was. If I want cake these days (admittedly I tend to ration to once a week- still a slight issue of control) – I’ll have a slice – after all there are just some days when you need cake. So you buy cake, eat cake and the cake is good 😉

In conclusion, society and the media has a lot to answer for. We tend to always point out the negatives about people, rather than the positives, which is a shame, because everyone has something good about them.

Focussing on the positives is a great thing to do.

Here are my 3 positives about me that I’m grateful for:

  1. I love my very long legs
  2. I love my pixie chin
  3. At long last, I have grown to love me 😉

What are 3 positive things you love about you?

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Are Self-Esteem and Ego the Same Thing?

“Ego” is a Latin and Greek word meaning I, and used to describe the self.

“Self-Esteem” is a term used to reflect a person’s overall emotional evaluation of their own worth.

But could they, in fact, be one and the same.

After all if I describe myself (hypothetically) as totally amazing, surely that is me describing myself and how I feel about myself at the same time. And, therefore I could deduce that both my self-esteem and ego were quite large! (Or you could think that I just held far too high an opinion of myself 😉 )

I always assumed, wrongly as it turns out, that they were one and the same thing. That someone with a big ego, and yes full of their own importance, was very confident in themselves and therefore obviously had a high sense of self-worth.

However, I have been reading some articles and books lately that have made me re-think my stance.

As a general rule, it would actually appear that self-esteem and ego are inversely proportional to each other, meaning that someone with a low self-esteem actually has quite a big ego, and vice-versa.

A person with a big ego needs constant reassurance and bolstering up, apparently, whereas a person with high self-esteem is confident enough to not have a ask for compliments!

And that got me thinking about the ghosts of boyfriends past!

Boomerang Boy – big ego and low self-esteem. He always needed to prove his worth, not to me, but to his peers, and was never confident in himself to say no. He always ended up being taken for a fool, which he was not, by making himself the centre of attention with his antics whilst being goaded on by his so-called friends.

Mr Wrong No. 1 – mmm, tricky. I thought he had high self-esteem, but upon further reflection it would appear he was another with low self-esteem and a big ego. He appeared very confident, and indeed is very knowledgeable about a lot of things (I will be forever grateful for everything I learned from him), but was very quick to belittle other people (or maybe it was just me?)

Mr Wrong No. 2 – no question, big ego. The kind of man who would tell you black was white and argue the case even if the truth was staring him in the face. He was of the opinion that his opinion and no one else’s mattered, and took delight in belittling everyone else – especially me!

So, it seems I have a pattern emerging. They have all been the same ‘type’ of man. And I, like a fool, have fallen for the initial façade rather than the person underneath, and when the devil emerged I tried to ignore it, in the hope that it would go away, but all that happened was my life was sucked out of me.

I spent the best part of 20 years wishing things would turn out better with Boomerang Boy. He was my first love. I love him today, but not in that way, he’s more like the brother I never had. I would do anything for him, but as for being in a relationship with him, not a chance.

For my part, I know I have low self-esteem. I am my own worst enemy. I am far too hard on myself and blame myself constantly for anything that goes wrong. That is a fault and, let’s  just say it’s a work in progress 😉

I would like to think though that I do not have a huge ego.

Some people might assume that I have, but most of the time it’s just me trying, really badly, to fit into the company I am with at the time – when to be honest I would rather be at home with a good book, or curled up under a blanket watching a good film.

I do not like being the centre of attention.

Yes, I act, and yes that obviously involves going on stage with shed-loads of people looking at you.

But I don’t do it for the glory, I don’t do for the ego-trip. I do it because it is the one thing I am passionate about, I love it. It enables me to become so much more than I am, I can crawl beneath the skin of a character and, for a while, enjoy being whatever part I am. It’s the one job I would love to be paid for. It’s my life.

I do have my own opinions, which I don’t think is a bad thing. It means that I am confident in my thoughts. However, I do appreciate and respect other people’s opinions and know that sometimes, unintentionally, my opinions, or off-the-cuff remarks may offend others. This is another fault which I am working on repairing.

 

So, it would appear that self-esteem and ego are not the same things.

What do you think?

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