Monday, January 15, 2007

I wonder if the self esteem issues ever really go away....

Or if one just learns to cope with them differently? I have done so much work, so much positive self talk......and not just from the beginning of this blog......but from years of this up and down thing I do with my self image. I still have probably more moments than not where I look in the mirror and zero in on the negatives. I don't know what to do to stop that. I am getting better at correcting it once it happens, but I am really aiming to have it NOT happen at all.

I really would like to look in the mirror and say, "Damn, I look good" before I spend an hour on makeup and hair. Not always see all the imperfections. I want to actually just see the Imperfect Perfection. What that means to me is to know that they are there, but to be able to really embrace them and see that they are part of the sum total of what makes me, me.

I have many imperfections, some are physical, some are emotional, some are personality.......they are the things that have hindered me in so many ways. Yet, it is funny how I have been so easily hanging onto the way people see me negatively, and having a hard time when others, seeing those same traits, do not see them as the imperfections at all.

since it has been brought to my attention by two people that I had forgotten to post it......
Edited to add:
Today what I like about ability to touch people with my writing


Desiree said...

Until you fix the inside you will never ever be able to view yourself as beautiful. Even if I waved a magic wand and made you perfection in your own eyes you still would be stuck in your emotional spot. When I was say 25 I was beautiful. I knew this intellectually, because everyone told me and men were there at my beck and call. However, emotionally I felt ugly! Now, I've fixed so much on the inside that I'm not nearly as concerned about what I look like. I take pride in looking good but I don't fixate on it at all. I know I shall get old and wrinkled and I'm coming to terms with that, shifting my focus off of my looks which really in the grand scheme of things mean so little. In the end we all learn its not about looks! It's about who we are!

Anonymous said...

There is a woman I work with (she actually used to be my boss) who is pencil thin... and thinks she's fat. She's only pencil thin because she does the binge & purge and smokes like a dragon. When I first met her, I thought she was pretty and I envied how skinny she was and had such will power to go to the gym every night and work out.

Now, she is showing her age... looks older than she is really. Her teeth are practically black from years of binging/purging and smoking. Her skin is terribly wrinkled. Her hair is fried from years of bleaching it to be blonde. (Not that coloring is bad... I'm all for covering up those grays! Just that I believe you should stick with something in your natural color range.)

Anyway- You're on the right track. It's not about being skinny (it has yet to work for my colleague) or looking a certain way. We are all beautiful in our own ways. Each of us has something special about us that makes us unique. I know, I know... easier to say it than to believe it, or see it in yourself. I struggle everday, too.

I have a husband who adores me. Loves me just the way I am. Tells me I'm the most beautiful woman in the world. I never can just say "thank you" when he says that. I have to scoff and laugh and tell him he's full of crap. Sometimes he just rolls his eyes at me... sometimes he gets mad that I just can't take his compliment as it's meant.

Keep looking in that mirror, Iris, and finding those great things that you love about yourself. I noticed you did not post one today... I said it in a previous post and I'll say it again, today, for you. I love your smile... it's lights up your face! :o)

Anonymous said...


You are so very very right. I know 2 women like that. Who raged themselves in their 20s and 30s and now look 55. Iris, looking at you i thought you were 32 or something. Hey, if you think you are imperfect...stay that way because I know many women who would kill to look 30 at 40...maybe by the time you reach 50 you'll look 35 lol. Love reading your blog you are a smart woman. Keep it up.


Smalltown RN said...

I think you are on the right track. Accept what you can't change and love and enjoy what you have.

jen said...

i like your edit. what a very important gift to have...touching others...

and from where i sit, i think you look lovely.

headbang8 said...


First, let me be the first to say that you're HAWT. Sexy, interesting, adventurous, smart. You attract love, and deserve love.

Y'know what? I'm sure you won't believe a word. It ain't easy. Our self esteem isn't an earned accomplishment that you work toward--though I'm all in favour of doing personal development "work". Nobody issues you a diploma in self-esteem--"Look, ma, only three more credits and I'm officially Esteemed!"

Most importantly, it isn't an understanding of our place in the world based on reason or logic. It's an instinct.

When do we acquire our instincts? How many musicians learn their instruments as an adult? How many dancers start in mid-life; can they ever learn to move so fluidly and unselfconsciously as one who stepped up to the barre at six?

Instincts--what we do before we think about it--are installed from our earliest infancy. Imagine trying to unlearn the alphabet? Or unlearn your first language?

Yes, you can learn the language of self-esteem the way you learn a second language: intellectually, rather than instinctively. And that's great. You have to learn this new language to live in the place where you want to be. Where you can make a new life for yourself. In a safe place. In a healthy place.

But...alas, you'll always carry an emotional accent. You'll never forget that first emotional language; it's hard-wired by your background, your environment, even emotional or physical abuse you suffered. Acquiring fluency in your new emotional outlook takes practice, and you may never be completely "fluent" in Self Esteem. But you need to be good enough to communicate with others whose native tongue is Self-Esteem, and maybe even teach others that language. Hopefully, four of those people are your kids.

I used to rail against my therapist when he trotted out the reasons I should be proud of myself. Yeah, I KNOW what I've accomplished in life and how great I am, but it just doesn't FEEL that way. He said something wise.

"Fake it" he said. "Act like you're happy. Pretty soon it will feel normal." And it has. Almost...I still need to consciously remind myself that I deserve happiness and love, rather than jsut to assume it.

So go out and fake it, Iris. Walk into a room and act like evry man's head will turn...even if you doubt it inside. Pretty soon it will seem like the most natural thing in the world. Or maybe not. But at least you'll be living in a healthier spritual place.

Ummm...hope that makes sense.

crazymumma said...

It can be hard for a woman to have good self esteem in a society obsessed with the outer and not the inner self. may your journey bring you what you need.