Tag Archives: self worth

I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough and Doggone It, People Like Me!

If you’ve never heard of Stuart Smalley, you were either living under a rock in the early 90’s or are too young to be using the Internet without adult supervision.  As a teenager, nothing could trigger hysterical laughter like the hapless yet hopeful SNL character.  Every skit ended with emotionally vulnerable Stuart speaking affirmations into a mirror in efforts to make it through another day breakdown-free.

 

Stuart Smalley - SNL hit character for many years. Photo retrieved from: http://randomroger.blogspot.com/2010/09/man-versus-machine.html

 

Stuart struggled with poor self-esteem, an issue I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately.  With the ongoing debate over too-skinny models in the fashion industry and movies and television depicting unattainable images as the standard of womanhood, it’s no wonder many women feel they can’t quite measure up.  What I learned recently, however, is how early these messages start chiseling away at us.  My daughter is six and, like many children, has always possessed the kind of confidence that seems to burst forth from her in every word and action.  Take a look at this video that’s been making the rounds and you’ll see just what I’m talking about!   (click photo to activate video)

Like little Jessica, my daughter has never hesitated to claim being the smartest in her grade and insists on tackling tasks far outside her skill set.  Recently, though, I’ve noticed some changes in the way she views herself.  When she can’t read a word, she reacts as though she might as well kiss her higher education hopes goodbye.  She has even started comparing her body with others, often telling me that she’s “fatter” than the other girls.  While this is uncharted parent territory, I do remember my own struggles with self-esteem as a child and teenager and I know how hard it was.  Just ask my mom about the year I ate only Ramen noodles and my hair started falling out as a result of my quest to be skinny (and no, I never got skinny ENOUGH, whatever that means).  Simply put, we tend to make unwise decisions when we start to devalue ourselves and this can have potentially devastating consequences, particularly for young girls.

Many of you probably remember being as bold as Jessica as a child, declaring your many talents to anyone who would listen.  But as you got older, “bragging” became less acceptable and was replaced with the daunting task of being humble.  Don’t get me wrong, humility is important and I certainly want to instill that value in my children.  I also feel that there’s a fine line between being confident and being self absorbed.  However, in the journey down the well-intentioned path of humility, I think some of us missed a turn and ended up on a detour of self loathing.  And we’ve stayed there under the false pretense of modesty.

My wish is for my daughter to feel MORE THAN good enough and to know that it’s okay to cheer for herself at the same time she’s cheering for others.  I want her to celebrate all the traits that make her unique and special.  Otherwise, the opinions or unkind words of others may become her measure of success, beauty and worth.  While I don’t have all the parenting answers, I have chosen to spend more time lately dialoguing about what she likes about herself and what makes her feel special.

More than anything through pondering this issue, I’ve realized that the way I feel about myself today will have a profound impact on how she feels about herself in the future.  As much as I say and do all the right things where she is concerned, many days I don’t speak to or about myself very well.  How can my daughter learn to believe in and love herself if her mother doesn’t practice what she preaches?

Knowing that she’s watching and listening is the strongest motivator for change. Just don’t expect a reenactment of Jessica’s video to be up on You Tube any time soon, as the bathroom cabinet probably can’t hold my weight.

Dangit.

Change is hard.  There’s always tomorrow, right?!

A Spotless House Is a Sign of a Wasted Life

Hello, RDC community!  Before I jump into this post, let me introduce myself.  My name is Kendy Cox and I’ve been asked to blog about various women’s issues.  I have vast expertise in this content area because, well, I’m a woman!  Regardless, what I write is simply my humble opinion and I want to encourage the sharing of numerous perspectives.

My full-time gig consists of serving the couples and individuals of this state through the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative.  More specifically, I work for Public Strategies, a private project management firm which coordinates statewide services through a contract with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.  My other full-time gig consists of being a wife to a wonderful husband and taking care of two lovely kids (the adjectives change depending upon the day…smile!).  I’m looking forward to musing about the issues on my mind and in my heart, as well as reading your feedback.

So, here we go…

I’ll never forget the day I happened upon this quote on a friend’s Facebook page:   “A Spotless House Is a Sign of a Wasted Life.”

I felt validated for the first time in my adult life.

The reason this pithy statement stuck with me is because I discovered it at a time when I was really struggling to keep everything in life “just so.”  Like many of you, most days are spent working hard at my job, serving as chauffeur to numerous kid-related activities, attempting to fit in a reasonably healthy dinner for the family, overseeing homework tasks, bathing kids and getting clothes ready for the next day, and hoping beyond hope that I find time to exercise and/or communicate with my husband about more than who’s picking up whom and at what time.  As an aside, I do this with the help of my attentive and helpful husband, so I tip my hat to those of you doing this solo!  With all of this activity, I end most days in a state of sheer exhaustion and many times feeling incredibly disappointed by the general disarray of my home.

You know what disarray looks like, right?  Remnants from dinner still on the table, clothes and backpacks strewn across the living room floor, and maybe even two weeks’ worth of laundry waiting to be folded and put away.  While keeping up with the house may not be your particular issue of concern, I know I’m not alone as I’ve talked with far too many women who tie their self worth to their ability to do EVERYTHING.  And not just everything, but everything well.

Now, I’m not striving for a feature spread in Good Housekeeping, but most days I would be lucky to attract the attention of So So Housekeeping.  My anxiety about it is ever present and my own negative self talk is brutal.  But let’s think rationally for a moment.  How absurd is it for any of us to fool ourselves into believing that a spotless home is a more powerful reflection of our worth than any of the other amazing things we do every day?  Let’s think about the activities that dirty up the house in the first place….cooking a great meal, building a fort with our kids, or sorting through weeks of newspapers to find that 20% off coupon we need to buy a pregnant friend a much-needed registry item.  Yes, the result may be messy blankets, newspapers, or dishes, but those are the remnants of a life lived, memories made, and relationships nurtured to their fullest.

So, the next time you look around at a less than perfect home, try to go easy on yourself.  Trust me, I’m working on it right along with you.  Let’s remember that we work hard for our families in many different ways and our work cannot always be balanced equally.  Something’s gotta give, and the laundry will be there tomorrow…just don’t trip over it on your way out the door to do something amazing!