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Archive for the ‘Self Esteem’ Category

A list

Like everyone else, I too am sometimes guilty of worrying about what others think. I too sometimes tailor my actions to something I think might be more acceptable to others.

I do have to say though that over the years I have learned to assign less importance to what others might say or feel and to do what I feel and think is right for me. I am not saying I ignore others or their requests or insights into my personality. (Though sometimes I do.) I am not saying I don’t like or crave approval and validation by others. I am human so of course I do. All I am saying is that when push comes to shove, in order for me and the people around me to be happy, I need to be true to myself and listen to my heart.

Recently I have been rather surprised by how so many talented writers/bloggers have been having an issue with what they write, whether their content is appealing to readers and their issues with success. Just the other day Josie wrote about her insecurities at Sleep is for the Weak. As usual, her doubting herself really had me stumped because she is an amazing writer and photographer and she has inspired many people with her writing workshop and prompts.

Mark Twain said “Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on Earth.”

3 of 8 Girl dances (jumps) at water's edge on Morro Strand State Beach
I have heard some other takes on that phrase that include:
“Live every day like its your last.”
“Love like you’ve never been hurt.”
“Work like you don’t need the money.”
“Live like heaven on earth.”
“Live like you give a damn.”

Josie, for you and for another good friend of mine who is an amazing writer and who also struggles with the whole issue of success I have now coined the phrase “Write like no one is reading.” Actually I wrote it a few days ago when I responded to your blog post, but still….

What I am saying to you and to all the other talented people out there who are doubting their way is this:

Write for yourself.
Be true to yourself.
Write what brings you joy and makes you happy.

Whether you are a singer, a dancer, a worker, a writer or anything else in life, do those things that make you happy. But most importantly do them for yourself. Not for anyone else. Not for anyone’s approval. For yourself.

When you are true to yourself and worry about doing what is correct for your heart and soul, you will blossom in all aspects of your life. You will achieve confidence you never had. You will truly enjoy the things that are important to you and make you happy.

Sure you may go through ups and downs. That is life. All I am saying is to have the strength not to lose yourself along the way.

And for those times when things are tough I have found this picture and excerpt from the photographer Todd.

“It isn’t how you’ve succeeded in life that matters, it’s how you’ve held yourself when things have fallen apart.”

I believe that if we are true to ourselves and live like no one is listening, watching or reading we will achieve everything we hope to and we won’t have too many moments where we feel things have fallen apart. Just be true to yourself. And Dance, Sing, Write and fulfill your dreams whatever they may be.

Images:

A LIST
© Miss Izs | Flickr Creative Commons

GIRL DANCES AT WATER’S EDGE
© Mike Baird | Flickr Creative Commons

WHAT MATTERS MOST
© Todd | Flickr Creative Commons

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We all have pictures from our childhood, teens or even adulthood where we look back at ourselves and wonder what the heck we were thinking when we got dressed. Chances are good though that at the time we thought we were dressing quite fashionably.

And then there are the pictures where you knew at the time that you looked ridiculous and there was not a thing in the world you could do.

I present to you my “beautiful” self all gussied up for a jazz recital.

The funny part about that is that I dance almost as well as I sing. In case you missed the post about how I almost shatter glass singing, I don’t sing well. Now you know that I also have two left feet.

So here I was at about age 11 or 12 I think it was, all dressed up in clothing that was just not me and getting ready for a jazz performance that was also just not me. Don’t ask me how I got suckered into those classes because I have no recollection.

And then to add insult to injury, my father wanted to take pictures. That hideous lovely picture above is the result.

Back then I did not really know how to be a good sport and take things in stride. I can only imagine the grief I gave my parents because my 12 year old is similar to me and she is giving me a run for my money. (Funny how what goes around seems to come back around and bite you in the tush.)

That picture for me represents the me who once was and who still is but who has grown into someone who has learned to be able to laugh at herself. Sure I still take some things too hard, but I have vastly improved over the years.

I love the fact that even with the amount of “pain” I was in, I still managed to get a smile out. For me smiling is essential, even when you are so not in the mood to smile. When you smile, people smile back at you. It makes your day happier.

It sure is a heck of a lot better than crying over your outfit!

Have you ever managed to smile even when you didn’t feel like it? Did you end up feeling better?

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This post was inspired by the prompt of “me” at Gallery Week 4 run by Tara at Sticky Fingers.

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I was sitting here trying to decide which of the million dozens of topics swirling around in my head I should write about. And then I heard a guitar playing and my second son singing.

He was giving my little 3 year old a bath and he likes to play the guitar for her while she splashes around in the water. It was so sweet to listen to. Today for the first time I heard him come a little bit out of his shell and I listened to him singing to her as well. He was making up a song about the fact that she needs to wash her hair and take a bath.

And before anyone asks, the title of my blog post is not about my son and his playing or singing or how good it is or it isn’t. He is actually pretty good. It was his music and joy of singing though that reminded me of myself the other day.

For those who know me, the one thing that is quite certain is that I am tone deaf. Sometimes I’m a bit better, sometimes a bit worse. Most of the time my family complains I am going to crack windows and they beg me to stop singing.

Broken glass? Photo op! 8
(Photo courtesy of Helene Jutras)

What I realized the other day driving to work is that sometimes I really enjoy singing and it makes me happy. I couldn’t care less if I am singing in tune, scaring animals or cracking windows. That particular day it lifted my spirits to sing along with the radio and belt out the songs while I was driving.

Sure when I do that at home I get a barrage of complaints, but is that really fair? If it makes me happy and releases some tension for me, why can’t I sing even if I am not good stink at it.

I can understand that if I am really causing pain to others maybe I should possibly not sing quite as loudly, but I really don’t think I should have to stop altogether.

So I say to all of you, if there is something you enjoy doing, just do it. Even if you are not great at it or maybe even stink at it.

What things do you guys enjoy doing that you are less than talented at? Do you do them anyways or let other people’s opinions of your “talents” stop you?

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As an added bonus here is my son doing his thing singing to his little bathing sister.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpCTaQfLYBc]

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Princess Bel Air -01
( Photo courtesy of Akaporn Bhothisuwan )

Dressing for yourself was a topic I was going to write about on Saturday night, but after I had gotten an unexpected surprise, I abandoned that topic for the one I ended up writing about.

It is interesting how life is. When there is a topic that needs discussing, reminders keep popping up at you and urging you to talk about it. Urging you to share your views. The final catalyst for me sitting down and writing about this topic today was this post by Ellie (my virtual friend of many years) at Insomniac Mummy.

The lesson to myself about dressing for yourself first popped into my head on Saturday when I was walking home from Synagogue hand in hand with my husband. I have a lost a bit of weight recently, but I am still not as fit as I would like to be. I say fit and not thin because all I really want is to feel good in my clothing and look good in them.

Now to digress and give some background before my epiphany.

Much to my mother’s chagrin, I don’t really have a sense of style or much taste in clothing. Generally that doesn’t bother me as long as I think I look good and I feel comfortable in what I am wearing.

So what is the problem? My sense of style or rather my lack of a sense of style is problematic when it comes to the shopping. I don’t have the eye my mother or my sister (middle sister, cause youngest one is as clueless as me) have where they can tell before trying something on whether it would look good on them. So instead I suffer search through the racks and the piles hoping to find something that I like and that will also look good on me. Needless to say I spend many hours wandering aimlessly shopping in way too many stores.

Clothes barn
(Photo courtesy of Christian Guthier ) Btw-this photo is not me although it can be mistaken for me.

Add to the equation the fact that here in Israel they don’t know what petite sizes are. Petite sizes are non existent. As in not a single petite size anywhere. Anyone who knows me in real life probably just sputtered their drink all over the screen because NO I do not look petite. Funny though, it seems my torso is short and that means petite shirts hang better and look better on me. They fall in the right place so that my hips don’t look as wide as they really are. By the way-that was a tip my mother taught me about myself that I never in a million years would have figured out on my own.

To be honest though, even when I am visiting the States and I shop there where petite sizing is in abundance, I still get overwhelmed.

Comfort is also a big issue for me. I am not one for feeling physically uncomfortable in my clothing. I can’t stand the feel of wool. I will put up with certain types of pantyhose if I have to, but the minute I can I will be peeling them right off.

ASSets
(Photo courtesy of Pam and Frank ) These pantyhose btw are great at reducing fat bulges. Too much info eh?

So why did I just explain all of that in this long winded digression? It was my explanation of why, although my closet is full of clothing, I never seem to find anything to wear. Because having clothing that fit you requires shopping.

Another part of the problem is that unfortunately I have yoyo-ed in weight for many years. So some of my stuff is too big, some too small. I also have the annoying (to my husband) habit of getting rid of my “fat” clothing when I lose weight. Every time I have done this I have of course whole heartedly stated that no way was I ever going to gain weight again. At this point my husband just nods as he rolls his eyes when I make that statement. That’s not to say that he doesn’t wish for me to succeed, of course he does.

Your weight indicates your health
( Photo courtesy of Ben Ostrowsky )

So my closet is right now full of all different sizes clothing. Some of the shirts look good on me, some of the skirts do, some of the pants (for you Brits trousers) do, but amazingly even when I try to pair a shirt that looks good on me with a skirt that looks good on me the result is less than appealing.

So back to Saturday. I wrecked went through my whole closet and amazingly enough came up with a skirt and shirt combo that I thought looked good on me. I didn’t see any rolls of fat too evident and overall I thought I looked nice. It was a skirt I hadn’t worn in ages because up till now I hadn’t fit back into it.

By the way I need to digress again and take a minute and ponder why it is that people feel the need to buy clothing 2 sizes too small and completely unflattering? It is one thing if you have gained weight and are just trying to shove your body into clothing that doesn’t fit (been there , done that too many times). It is yet another when you think skin tight clothing, 2 sizes too small on a “generous” body is attractive. Hmm, but then again maybe they are just dressing for themselves. Or maybe no one ever cared enough to give them some guidance.

Okay now that I finished being judgmental and got that out of my system…back to the story.

So I went to meet hubby at the Synagogue and we walked home together. Generally I know right away if he likes what I am wearing because I will get a nice comment and an appreciative smile. I also usually know if he doesn’t like what I am wearing because I can see it on his face and he will tell me. So on this particular day it was neutral. So I asked. He said it was okay-not his favorite. I was okay with that.

Had this been a year or two back, that might have really given my self esteem a hit. What I have learned only relatively recently is that if I am okay with something, I don’t need someone else’s approval to make me feel okay about myself.

Sure everyone wants to look good and everyone wants other people to think they look good as well. So the question is: are you dressing for yourself or are you dressing for other people and what they think looks good on you?

Even deeper of a question: are you dressing for what you think that other people think looks good on you? That last question was a bit of a brain teaser but basically many times we have whole conversations with other people in our minds and we don’t ever really ask them their opinion. We assume they are thinking a certain way, in our minds we respond to that, then in our minds they respond to what we responded to….and so it goes.

Sometimes we are correct in our assumptions that we make about what others are thinking. Many other times we are dead wrong. Sometimes we just have to ask opinions (from people you trust and who are honest and not hurtful).

I am not saying never to take into account what someone who loves you says. Sure I would rather wear something my husband likes on me-as long as I like it as well. But sometimes whether because of a lack of other choices or because I actually really like an outfit, I might wear something my husband or someone else doesn’t like. In that case, too bad. (Sorry hun, I still love you loads.) I liked it and I have to dress first and foremost to please myself. If I happen to be silly enough to ask for an opinion, then by all means I am fair game.

I think basically like everything in life, dressing for yourself comes down to working on your self confidence. Something which is a never ending journey, but the good news is that we get better at it as the time goes by.

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