Self Worth

df12f790163687ca82751dc370d9baafSelf worth. What does that mean? It’s not self esteem, but rather, it is more about feeling worthy.

I’ll admit it. There are days that I can feel little worth. I come home from work, defeated, because I waited all day for a “thank you” or a”good job” or a smile.

And I got nothing.

According to an article on PsychAlive,  studies now show that basing one’s self-worth on external factors is actually harmful to one’s mental health.

Jennifer Crocker, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research,  did a study of 600 college students during their Freshman year. Their self esteem was pretty high, in general. Go frosh!

When students were asked about what they base their self-worth on, more than 80 percent said academic competence, 77 percent said their family’s support, 66 percent said doing better than others, and 65 percent–70 percent of which were women–said their appearance.

Yikes. Lots of external factors. The people who focused more on external praise had….more stress, anger…..alcohol and drug use, as well as more symptoms of eating disorders. Ding. Ding. Ding. Yep. Yep. That’s me.

21b04491a57abbd3937c074608303830But I’m not a college freshman. I’m a 42-year-old woman who is still working on conquering perfectionism and finding her self worthiness from external sources.

So how what to do? Dr. Lisa Firestone called it our “inner critic.” How does one quash the inner critic and just embrace ourselves as we are?

One of the things that I’ve been doing is to focus on self care and less on my people pleasing. It’s hard, especially for those people who are use to me puckering up to them all of these years. But I have to be honest. My true friends…the people that really care about me….are encouraging me to do this. They aren’t challenging me looking out for myself. They’re actually supporting it.

Baby steps.

Looking up at the glass ceiling, still intact.

When her husband heads out of town on business, one of my college besties often taps me to come over after work for dinner and help her get her two adorably-precious daughters ready for bed. I look forward to these special evenings, as I get to spend some quality time with her 5 and 8 year olds, and of course, catch up with my gal pal.

I just got home from one of these evenings. After work, I hopped into the terrible Boston traffic – mind racing in a million directions – to have some sushi followed by an episode of Cake Boss.

Of course, the 2016 Presidential election was top of mind tonight. As I watched the girls doing their gymnastics routines for me, I couldn’t help but think of how, if things had happened differently, we would have been celebrating the first female President – Hillary Clinton – and how we had finally shattered the proverbial glass ceiling. But instead I tried to distract my mind from ruminating about my fears, the uncertainty that many of us are feeling, after Donald Trump won the Presidency.

Frankly I still feel like I’m living in some alternative universe because I can’t allow my brain to process what lies ahead. I stayed up until the wee hours of the night – maybe 2am or 3am – sporadically checking CNN.com or Facebook. But when another state was called for Trump, and the map of the US kept getting redder and redder, my fear took over and I closed my eyes for some relief. I woke up a few hours later – about 6:30am – and looked immediately at CNN.com with a glimmer of hope – and saw a large photo of Donald Trump that said “President Elect.” My heart sank. My mind started racing. I went back to Facebook and posted this:

Not feeling like America is so great again. Feeling sad, scared, and concerned about what’s to come. My only solace is that I live in a progressive state like MA. Trying not to let my mind imagine the worst; I’m committed to doing what I can to fight for my rights as a woman, as a Jew, and as an ally. For those of you posting that we should support whomever won – I reserve the right to grieve first for the civil liberties that may be lost.

I’ve often associated with the term “minority” being Jewish in the US – we make up less than 2% of the population. And being a woman is tricky – we’ve come far, but we still make about 70 cents on the dollar to men (in general) – and we have a long way to go in terms of filling leadership positions…although I do have to say that the pay inequality between men and women is not applicable at my current workplace, and two of the three senior leaders at my nonprofit are women….so that’s positive.

I want to keep an open mind going forward with our new President Elect. I really do. I don’t want to protest or complain or sign petitions. I want to move ahead. But the unknown is keeping my mind racing:question-mark10-1

  • Will our religious freedoms – for Jews, for Muslims – be compromised?
  • Will Trump follow through with building a wall between the US and Mexico?
  • Will immigrants start disappearing as they are deported?
  • Will the right to choose what I do with my own body remain legal?
  • Will Planned Parenthood not be able to provide free or subsidized cancer screenings?
  • Will I have to worry about being sexually harassed in the workplace because our “President does it, so why can’t I?”
  • Will all pharmacists gain the right to prevent me and my fellow women from obtaining birth control?
  • Will unemployment skyrocket?
  • Will I lose my job because arts funding dries up?

I thought it was important to document my questions so that I can hopefully look back soon and say, “All that worry was for nothing.” I hope that when my friend taps me to return to help with her children that their lives are relatively unchanged other than typical growing pains.

 

You!

You-Rule-You-RockLoyal readers and friends, tonight I am grateful for YOU!  I accidentally posted something to this blog that was meant for my other blog…and I had to quickly trash it because my other blog is anonymous…

Anyhow….two of you reached out to me concerned that the post was deleted.  “Are you ok?” one friend asked.  Another said that she keeps up with my life by reading my blog.  As a blog writer, sometimes we write for catharsis and forget that there are other people reading what we write. I was humbled and flattered by my friends!

Despite a hectic work schedule, I’m doing well.  Thank YOU for asking, dear friends!  You rock!

People Who Lift Me Up

Happy-Friendship-day-20132I bumped into someone from my past tonight and it shook me a bit.  Knocked me out of this happy life I’ve been living and brought me back to the negative for a few hours.  After some retail therapy (don’t worry – I only spent $10 at the Dollar Tree), I spoke with my brother and good friend about it.  Basically they told me that she doesn’t matter and that I need to live in the now, not in the past. I’m grateful for the people in my life who lift me up, and I include myself in that category.

 

Steven’s Coming Out Party

891398_1430057067274292_1264976377_aThis past Saturday I experienced my very first “Coming Out” party!  My friend Steven (who recently came out to his family and friends) decided to have a formal party to embrace coming out as gay man living in New York City.  He invited me at least 6 months ago, stating that he wanted to have this party during Gay Pride Weekend.  Of course I’d be there, I told him.

10483611_329351443888270_1354815359_aAround 9pm on Saturday, I hopped in a cab to Boxers, a gay sports bar in NYC.  I got there earlier than most of the others attending the event, but quickly bonded with two of Steven’s friends, Michael and Mike, who he met during a gay volleyball league.

Michael and Mike were fabulous and gentlemen, possessing true social grace, getting me a chair, accompanying me on line to get drinks, and making me feel very welcome in a room full of strangers.  They were terrific and are already Facebook friends!  What I learned from them is that gay or straight, people are people, especially when you’re single.  Michael and I had some extensive and great conversations about what we are looking for in a relationship, and I have to tell you – they were really the exact same things – love, companionship, romance, etc.  We both agreed that no matter what your sexual preference was, it all came down to finding a decent person who treated you with respect.  We said that it is easy to find a sexual partner, but we want more than that.

I had a great time at Steven’s party at Boxers!  It was a blast – people were friendly, down to earth, and fun.  I’m proud of Steven and wish him a lifetime of happiness.  I can already see him transforming into the happy person I knew he could be.  Mazel Tov, Steven!