Don’t let old, negative ideas keep you from healthy self-esteem and feeling good enough about yourself to have the life you deserve.
My Dear Singularians,
In so much of my practice I hear three little words and they aren’t “I love myself!” No. Sadly, more often, it’s “I’m a nothing.” This pronouncement is then followed by a host of so-called evidence describing how my darling client would make an excellent doormat, if she weren’t a web designer.
My friends, I almost dislike using the word self-esteem as it’s so psycho-babblish, but for so many, belief in ourselves, confidence, and being OK with who we are, has been hacked and hashed – not only by our parents and those closest to us, but the cold, cruel world as well. I don’t believe we should be arrogant, but if we don’t admire, respect, and like us – who will?
GF LACKS ESTEEM
Dear Marnie: I’m really ashamed to say this, but I’m no match for my boyfriend. He’s extremely intelligent, quick, decisive and successful. Because of this, I’ve lost my self-confidence. I’m nothing. I don’t open my mouth in public for fear I might say something dumb. He’s a computer genius, and I didn’t even go to college because I thought it was too expensive. How do I boost my self-confidence and become equal with him? I don’t want to leave or lose him, as I love him very much. – Sue from Torrance
MARNIE SAYS: If you don’t stop crouching in that supine position, I’ll fly out there and thwack you upright! I know you have opinions. You said so. Unless your brilliant boyfriend is a control freak or adores the idea of spending time with a potted plant (which, by the way, is something), he must find at least a few things in you that are delectable.
Getting it! Your Personal Strategy:
* First of all, he didn’t put you under that pedestal. Chances are you learned to be comfortable there during your childhood. Get tough. Ask yourself, what’s under that need to keep yourself “under”? Early on, were you shot down for expressing an opinion, your personality? Were you bullied? Does the very thought of a disagreement give you the quakes?
* Now, write down the ideas about yourself that do you in. For example: “I believe my opinions are worthless,” “I think if you don’t have a college education you’re stupid,” “I suspect others see me as unimportant.”
* Slay the suckers that are tearing apart your precious self-view. Challenge each rotten message. You see, they are lies. Look:
MY BELIEF: “I believe my opinions are worthless.”
CHALLENGE: “Wait a minute … at the last party I expressed my opinion about reality shows, people listened, and an interesting debate started.”
WHERE DID THE BELIEF COME FROM? “Hmmm. When I was little, my parents said kids should be seen and not be heard.”
NEW BELIEF: “As an adult I don’t buy that. More, I do have valid opinions, and others listen! Yes, I have the ability to be more assertive.”
* Keep going down the list. You’ll quickly see you’ve been told foul lies about you … and holding onto them all these years.
* Armed with your new beliefs, start taking small risks and write down the rewards until you’ve expunged the nonsense with evidence that is the truth!
* Next, consider going to the very place you didn’t want to spend a lot of money on: college. Quit the excuses. There are night classes, video courses, computer courses. If school isn’t your fancy for now, serve meals to AIDS patients. Teach a child to read. Volunteer on a hotline. Take “esteem-able” actions.
Most of all, quit comparing yourself to your boyfriend or anyone else. Do you want to be a copy or a unique creation? Do whatever it takes to change your attitude. You say you don’t want to lose him. My friend, how can there be a “we” if there is no you?
NICE GUY FINISHES LAST
Dear Marnie: I recently went out with a woman in her twenties. (I’m in my late thirties). We got along so well it was like we were best friends. I was a true gentleman. I opened doors for her. I agreed to go to the film she picked, shared the dessert she wanted, complimented her constantly, paid for everything and even offered to help her find a summer job in my law firm. The next morning, I called and she tells me, a little coolly “I don’t think it would work out between us.” Marnie, I’m definitely not bad looking and I have a successful law career. At the risk of sounding egotistical, I’m the nicest guy you’ll ever meet and treat women very well. This has happened several times since my divorce. I am tired of doing all the giving and getting nothing back! What’s the problem? — Mister NiceGuy.
MARNIE SAYS: Forgive me, hon, but the problem is probably not them, it’s you. You, Galahad, are just too much and way too soon as this is happening way too often. Nice is making sure your date gets across the street without being run over by an 18-wheeler. Nice is not offering her your prized Smurf lunch box or offering jobs in your office after your first meal (and I don’t even want to talk about that dessert thing!)
Getting it! Personal Strategy:
* Write a script. Jot down the dialogue that immediately led to some of your major “nice guy” gestures that night. Include her reactions, and even what she might be thinking. The point is to train a microscope on what you were really doing and how it was landing. Let’s do the dessert thing.
HER: “The chocolate fondue for two sounds amazing.”
MRNICEGUY: “Well, I’m allergic to chocolate, and it’s huge, but hey … whatever you want!”
HER: “That’s okay …”
MRNICEGUY: “No! I insist. All I want to do is make you happy! Would you like an extra to take home? … Waiter?”
* True, I exaggerate, but string all of your dialogue vignettes together.
You’re thinking. “I was a doll.” No, friend. Re-read them. See it? Giving all on date No. 1 is – well – scary. It screams needy. It yells “I don’t have enough confidence so I’ll knock myself out pampering and pleasing.” You’re making the whole “catch me-thing” too easy, so the lady wonders “What’s the catch?” and turns off. Her instincts tell her not to trust it or you. She may feel manipulated or suffocated.
* Look at your needs and what fuels them or be stuck because, pal, your signals and radar are faulty. Here’s one giveaway in your letter: “It was like we were best friends.” At some point, the evening turned from passion to pals. But alas, you were too busy being “nice” to pick up the cues. You’re missing them because, what you’re really paying attention to are your needs and insecurities.
Next time, hold back. Be decent. Be polite. Be kind. Then tape your mouth and wallet shut. In the future get as good as you give before putting these women in your will, OK?
Dear Marnie: I’m obsessed with this movie star. I’ve never met him, but I know if we met we’d fall madly in love. I’ve felt this way for several years. My friends think I’m crazy. Do you think I need to get over this? – Tammi
MARNIE SAYS: You’ve been duped. Yes indeedy. You (and half the planet) have been duped by the hype-meisters whose job it is to make us believe that these silver-screen images are the truth. Pshaw! More to the point, if you’re over 15, why are you brooding over flim-flam screen flash instead of real flash — in the flesh?
Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:
* Fact vs. Fiction: Note every single thing you adore about him. Ask a pal over (not another fan). Look at your list together and mark each “fact” or “fiction” based on where you got the 411 about this star. For example: Do you really believe he’s “adventurous” because he raided some tomb on a film set? This is fiction, sweetie. Concerts also count as fiction even if you managed to claw your way close enough to see his face sweat.
* If your fictions outweigh your facts (they do), tell yourself you know less about this “true love” than you do your mailman. This celluloid cutout may be faker or fool. Get it!
* Truth time. You don’t want this celluloid doll. My hunch is that what you want is what he’s got — attention and adulation. Could it be you don’t have enough of your own?
* Get over this by finding the star in you. Trust me. You can’t hitch one. It’s there. All you need do is uncover your own passion. Whether your destiny is in front of the footlights, handing out Meals on Wheels or raising Chia Heads, create your own champagne dreams — and follow.
On reflection, isn’t it time to pick up a mirror and bask in your own glory?
Copyright © Marnie Macauley / 2014 Singular Communications, LLC