Tag Archives: self-esteem

Reading Your Self-Esteem

In our culture there is no shortage of books on self-esteem. Currently the most popular topic in the self esteem department is shame and vulnerability. You will often hear women using words such as brave, daring, great, and imperfect. Thanks Brene!

For Lent my church has been reading “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life” by Richard Rohr and I belong to a book group that is reading “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are; Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life” by academic researcher Brene Brown. Both books discuss similar topics but in much different ways. I am only part way through both books, but I’ve already noticed some important differences between the two.


Falling Upward and Gifts

I’m thankful for Brown’s material on shame becoming popular and mainstream. Shame is not an emotion we have been taught to recognize, address and eliminate when necessary. Because of Brene Brown’s popularity, her research and media appearances have shown society the damage that comes from living a life of constant shame. Her book and her talks on the Oprah network have been great for helping people who have issues with their own sense of shame, but I find her work is seriously lacking in helping people recognize when they shame others or stifle the vulnerability of others.  As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, when people are hurt, they tend to hurt others. I wish her book had dedicated some space to dealing with this truth. If you are not able to take ownership for the shame and hurt that you impose onto other people; then you are not really living the wholehearted life that Brown has been teaching.


It’s important to be able to list all the wonderfully great things about ourselves, but we have to remember we are human. Our list of self descriptions need to include both the positive and the negative. As Brown likes to remind us, we are all imperfect. Am I a kind person? Yes I am. But I also know that I am impatient, which means that at times I can also be an unkind person. Does this make me a bad person? No. It simply means I am human and need to be able to recognize when I hurt others and make any necessary amends.

Richard Rohr’s “Falling Upward” goes deeper than Brown’s work. This might be because he is a Franciscan priest which makes it nearly impossible for him not to delve deeply into human behaviour. He makes it clear to readers that our inability to accept that challenges in our lives are a necessary part of being human is what helps to create the “unnecessary suffering” so many people experience. He references Carl Jung in stating, “he said neurotic behaviour is usually the result of refusing that legitimate suffering! Ironically, this refusal of the necessary pain of being human brings to the person ten times more suffering in the long run.”

let things go

Feelings and emotions are complex. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to experience change or transformation; we must accept the fact that the process is uncomfortable at times and requires life long work. Those who suffer from addictions never claim to have been cured or free from their addictions; they know that at any time they could easily fall back into old habits and coping mechanisms. I feel this is how we should view personal change; never fool yourself into believing you’ve got everything figured out.


Yes, you CAN do it all !

you can do it

Over the past couple of years I’ve been hearing a lot of women say, “You Can’t Do It All”. This is an expression and belief uttered by many women. I’m here to say the opposite, “Yes, You Can Do It All!” If you’re wondering how it’s possible to do it all, I’ll tell you how; you need to be realistic.


Sometimes women aren’t realistic, they want to do things that they are not ready for, not good at, not qualified for, or don’t like doing. There are women who are in happy marriages, with children, who manage to do it all. They exist, you might even know a few. Or better, you might even be one of them.

All Includes

As females we are gendered to be competitive with each other in the nastiest of ways. We are taught to compete against each other, but not against men. I’ve encountered many jealous, catty, and spiteful women in my lifetime. I often wondered why they needed to put me down, or become manipulative in trying to end my goals. I wanted so badly to tell these women that I have my own goals and I will reach them without having to personally attack another women, lie, steal, cheat, or be part of a mean girls group. It has meant that reaching my goals has taken longer, but when you do something with dedication, honesty, and integrity while helping others along the way; it will take time.


Women often want to do everything right now, all at once. Heaven forbid they should miss out on something and risk seeing yet another female achieve the same things you want. Your inability to do it all can often be rooted in your inability to keep up with the Jones.


Does it matter if ‘Suzy With Six Kids’ is able to be employed full-time, take her kids to leisure activities, and make homemade desserts without needing anti-depressants? It shouldn’t. You’re only job is to take care of your own life and your own family. You truly might not have what it takes mentally, physically, and spiritually to do as much as others are able to do.


Does it matter that ‘Single Sally’ is able to go to the gym six mornings per week before the sun rises, volunteer two times a week, and hold down a full-time job while having a seemingly non-stop social life? No, it doesn’t matter. Again, your responsibility is to focus on your own life and not that of others.


The root of becoming depressed, frustrated, and envious of others who can and have done it all is comparison. Try being happy for those who can successfully juggle multiple things in life without coming undone. It isn’t an easy thing to do. Instead of spiteful comparison, respect the sacrifices these women make in order to have the things in life that they value and cherish.

Can't do it all? Then try your best, that itself is something to be admired and respected.
Can’t do it all? Then try your best, that itself is something to be admired and respected.

A great way to not become obsessed with doing it all is to make time bound goals that are flexible. Break them down into 1: week, month, year, and decade. It also helps to have a 5 year plan as well. When things are spaced out you won’t feel pressured to achieve everything at once.


Let’s not forgot about the saddest book of the bible, that of Ecclesiastes. “Meaningless! Meaningless! Says the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). The writer of these words sounds hopeless and depressed. I’m not interested in his view of life on earth. Our lives our meaningful, but short. We are only here for our one appearance, so it’s best to make it count.


If you want your life to be meaningless then do things you weren’t meant to do. Make no time in your life for things that feed your spirit and your soul. Be angry, be bitter, be boisterous. Demand things you haven’t earned. Treat people with disrespect. Love only those who love you back. Live by the motto ‘an eye for an eye’. Never forgive, but if you do, don’t forget.


When you feel as if you have to do it all, remember those women who truly have to do it all. The single mothers who are the sole support for their children. Women on the other side of the world who have to wake up and walk miles for clean water then spend all day in hard labour cooking and cleaning, and doing whatever they can to survive so their children can literally survive as well. They are the ultimate definition of “doing it all” and doing it every day without stopping or risk the mortality of their families. We have a choice as to what constitutes “all”, they don’t.


Life is what you make it. This is more than a cliché, it’s a mentality.


Ladies, before you decide to do it all, please be realistic and ask yourself some of these following questions:

  1. Why do I want this?
  2. How will this make my life better as I work towards my goal? How will this make my life better once I have achieved this? How will this make the lives of my partner and/or children better?
  3. Is this something that I necessarily need to do now? Can it wait for another year, 5 years, or 10 years? Can’t this be something that places on a bucket list instead, of on my daily to-do list?
  4. What are my weaknesses? Do I give in to the feelings of anger, jealousy, envy, racism, sexism, or competitiveness?
  5. How will I handle my emotions, and my life if I don’t achieve this goal?
  6. Have I been doing all that I can to achieve the things I want?
  7. Am I ready, willing, and able to make sacrifices?
  8. Is this something that I could be at minimum, marginally good at?
  9. Do others, who are not in my inner circle see me as being good at what I want to achieve?
  10. Do I rely too much on confirmation from others instead of measurable results?
  11. Have I included God and much prayer and meditation on His word?
  12. Will my actions cause harm to others?

Additional reading:

Superwoman Syndrome and the Pressure to Do It All:  http://anastasiaamour.com/2014/11/12/superwoman-syndrome-and-the-pressure-to-do-it-all/