July 1, 2011

Self Esteem or Why Do We Hate Ourselves So Much?

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Order Miche Bag Online!The most eloquent 752 words ever written were in a column for the Chicago Tribune by Mary Schmich in 1997 (later turned into a song by Baz Luhrman). The column was called Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young, and contained greater wealth than money will ever bring. I couldn't pick a favorite quote from it if you held a gun to my head, but today's post is about this:

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

The song came out as a single in 1999. I was 24 years old, and trust me, Mary, it wasn't wasted on me. Well. Except for the part you considered to be the most important: wear sunscreen. If I had heeded that little nugget 12 years ago maybe I wouldn't have a giant scar on my face today. But I digress.

So many people struggle with their self esteem. I recently found out that a 20-year-old woman I care about is harming herself in addition to staying with a ridiculous boyfriend because she thinks she can't do any better. One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Read that again. Now think of four women you know. Which one is living in terror of people finding out about her "shameful" secret? Or just plain living in terror of her spouse?

Why?

Why do we hate ourselves so much?

At some point we have to take responsibility for our own lives. At some point we have to choose happiness.

We live in what I like to call an American Idol society. You can call it a What Not to Wear society. Or a People of Walmart society. But suddenly it's cool to be mean. It's not okay to be yourself unless you are perfect. Don't dance unless you're choreographed. Don't sing unless you've rehearsed. Don't wear a bathing suit unless you are perfectly spray tanned. And, for god's sake, don't leave the house in sweat pants.

Like it wasn't hard enough competing with actresses and supermodels, now we have to question everything we say, do, or wear in public for fear of winding up on YouTube.

At some point we have to reclaim ourselves, or we are going to drown in our neuroses.

Women, especially, tend to think they need to try harder, look better, BE better somehow. No wonder there is so much domestic violence! We don't think we're good enough to walk out our own front doors, of course we're not good enough for our spouses.

I'm not saying we should lower the bar. Work out! Lose weight! Wear all the latest fashions and eat only 100% vegan food. Strive for perfection in every aspect of your life. That's so not the point. Here's the point:

Love yourself.

Today. Just as you are.

Love your saggy boobs. Love that mole on your neck that has a hair growing out of it. Love your big ears, love your bad haircut, love your stinky feet, and love your sparse eyelashes. Love the stupid things that always seem to come out of your mouth.

Love your life.

Today. Just as it is.

Love your messy house. Love being suddenly single after your husband of 14 years left you last week. Love your foreclosure.

Every second of your life is amazing. Every breath you take is a miracle. Don't waste any of it on regret or insecurity. Don't waste any of it on what might have been. Cherish what is. Live in a way that makes you happy, and be satisfied with the choices you've made.

Now here's a picture of my sexy ass in a bathing suit:

My three favorite people.
Tonight I'm going to karaoke. Badly. And if I end up on YouTube I'll just have to ask Tosh.0 for a web redemption.     -Kim


If you are a victim of domestic violence please call 1-800-799-SAFE or visit http://www.thehotline.org/.

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