Showing up to honor social obligations is a good way to improve the way we feel about ourselves.
Last month, one of our SingularCity members, Marie Atake, hosted a fundraising event at The Little Bar for Forte, an animal rescue organization she started eight years ago. The Little Bar is located on South La Brea Avenue, and for those who are not from Los Angeles, this is a congested area struggling to gentrify; driving there during rush hour requires Zen-like patience and dogged determination.
I inwardly resisted going to Marie’s party (I’m too tired, there’s too much traffic, I’ve been going out too much lately, I need to get up early tomorrow … ) but I told her I would go, and that promise finally won out. Once I got there, I had a great time. The Little Bar was cooler than I expected, and I even won a nice raffle prize. Okay, I admit I ate too much pizza, noted when I stepped on the scale the next morning, but seriously, I’m glad I went. Not only did I enjoy myself; it was a self-esteem builder to know that I honored my commitment to a friend.
It reminded me of a question I’ve heard asked numerous times over the years: “How do you get high self-esteem?” The best response I’ve ever heard? “Do estimable acts.”
How simple is that? Three words: do estimable acts, and it can be as easy as showing up when you say you’re going to show up — on time and with a positive attitude.
If I had stayed home instead of going to Marie’s event, I would have been embarrassed the next time I saw her, would be cooking up some lame excuse as to why I didn’t make it and would have a good reason to be disappointed with myself because I bailed out on a friend. My self-esteem would have taken a big hit, which would have spilled over into how I show up for my life far beyond that one night at The Little Bar.
Some say the problem of honoring social commitments is more prevalent among people who live alone. Maybe that’s because when we’re married or in a long-term relationship, we generally make our social calendars in concert with a partner. There’s more incentive because our “significant other” is going too. But when we’re singular, it can be far too easy to resist the effort and come up with reasons why we can’t, won’t or shouldn’t show up despite promising the host, just a few days before, that we would definitely be there.
For singulars, our social bonds and our network of friends — the real friends we can count on — are a valuable and necessary part of a successful living plan. Our true friends will see us through our romantic adventures, our career dramas, our darkest nights and our brightest days.
We live in an urban tribe, not as hermits on the hill, and as much as we relish our private time and peaceful solitude, we need to show up when we say we will, even when it would be far more convenient and comfortable just to stay home.
Honoring commitments is something I’ve struggled with myself and, to this day, my mind can provide some very convincing reasons why no one will notice if I flake out. The traffic factor alone is often enough to provide a convincing “I can’t go” for many of us. Yet, at the end of the day, life is meant to be lived, promises are meant to be kept and you never know what opportunity awaits — when you just show up.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2011 Singular Communications, LLC.
Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.