Positive Self Regard

What you see is what you get. If you look for signs that you are disliked, you will find them. If you look for signs that you are loved, you will find them too. I believe this.

But this rugged self determinism doesn’t really take into account the reality that, in certain environments, there are truly biases working against you and, yes, biases, too, working in your favor. You do not even know what you’ve got or don’t have going for you. We discussed this the other night in a book club around the topics of hidden bias presented in Blindspot by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald.

I encourage myself through positive self talk in my journals — I first learned how to do this, I think, when I read Gilda Radner’s book, It’s Always Something. She conducts a conversation with her childhood self at the end of the memoir. I have always believed there are many personalities within one person. This is why I love the theater, I guess.

My encouraging self talk is a way to drive out the nagging self doubt. We all have doubts. I always remember that even the pilot Sully who made the heroic landing feels he could’ve done more. Than what? Landing his plane on water? The Hudson River with its smooth runway caught his plane like a net ten years ago.

Yesterday in my watercolor class at the Art Students League, I was totally doubtful about my work as a fine artist. All of my watercolor sketches were spread across one wall for everyone to see. I felt like hiding under a bushel.

Later, I overheard two women talking — one was saying she would never be very good. The other said, ‘If you didn’t believe you could get better, maybe you’d stop trying.’ We are always on road to perfection. We have never arrived.

Yes. We need to encourage ourselves through positive self talk. But we also need to know we are moving towards becoming better. And there are forces working for and against us. The main point is to never quit.

Give yourself a break from self doubt.

What you are must always displease you if you are to accomplish that which you are not. – St. Augustine

Advertisements

Body Pride

I have been tall and slim.

I have been dumpy and short. (The first stages of a twin pregnancy is not known for its svelte-ness. But something wonderful was cooking in me and that made me gorgeous.)

Recently a friend of mine visited the Fashion Boudoir Project in Seattle – a few sexy pics appeared on her Facebook stream. I wondered if I could do it – bare all or some?

Mom and I once went to a topless beach in Hawaii once. No biggie. (I did feel free.)

On Beauty

The most beautiful women I know have some beautiful physical unique style – my Great Aunt Marie had a big nose – my friend DeB is completely bald. It’s what’s cooking inside — intelligence, humor, kindness, creativity — that make us beautiful.

In the car, the other day my friend said, “The positive thing about Kim Kardashian is that she brings body pride to women with large booties.” (I did not know this.)

And I recently saw this way-cool Tweet from Lorde — she posted a pic of herself without the photoshop. Yup, still beautiful. (Amazing young woman!)

lorde
(Lorde from her Twitter feed)

I stared a Pinterest board – “I Look Forward to Getting Old.” These women (and a few men) are uniquely beautiful.

One of my darlings saw my Pinterest pins and asked, “This is where you celebrate aging?”

Yup, that too!

Boys Are People Too

English: , American author
Rosalind Wiseman, courtesy of Wikipedia

I have blogged about my son driving me insane with his Xbox habit.

At Trinity School last night I got some insights into my son and his boy culture. Rosalind Wiseman spoke about the social pressures and dynamics of being a young man in today’s hyper connected world, based on research from her new book, Masterminds & Wingmen.

Here were some of my take aways:

We say to girls, “‘You can do it. You can do anything.’ And girls have a vibrant support system.” Wiseman is not knocking this important empowerment base for girls — after all, she’s also the author of Queen Bees & Wannabes so she knows girls. But Wiseman says, ‘If you are a 13-year old boy, you don’t see that you have power.” Because, at 13, a boy is still a boy and a girl is a young woman.

Wiseman likened the emotional life of 11th grade boys to 8th grade girls. This cracked me up. This is who I’ve got at home!

For her book, Wiseman interviewed 200 boys and 40 girls. She came away with some surprises.

One gem? “Straight theater boys get more hookups than football players.” (All right! Let’s hear it for the theater boys.)

More gems:

Happiness is …

  •  Meaning beyond one’s self
  • Hope of success
  • Social connection
  • Satisfying work

I love archetypes. And Wiseman, with the boys she interviewed, came up with some types:
The Mastermind
The Associate
The Bouncer
The Fly
The Entertainer
The Punching Bag
A Conscience

But these boys don’t mind being stereotyped. Remember that rule for happiness? They are happy to have social connections.

I loved Wiseman’s advice to a boy when he criticizes another boy’s sensitivity, “You cannot deny someone’s emotional truth.” So true!

She also says, “There is a difference between snitching and reporting.”

And this! “It is a social skill to get help.” One mom I chatted with after Wiseman’s presentation said she she was going to put this quote on sticky notes all over the house.

When a boy comes to a parent with bad news, here’s what to say, “1. I’m sorry this happened. 2. It’s hard to come forward. I respect that you did. 3, Now let’s think about what we can do about this.”

And when there’s conflict, expect push back.

When you get a “Bad news bomb,” Wiseman says a parent can realize:

  • This is one moment, not a lifetime.
  • Don’t make excuses.
  • Ask for what you need.
  • If it gets heated, you might say, “Let’s talk in 10 minutes. I can’t hear you over the sound of my heart beating so loud in my ears.”

I am going to try and talk about the tough stuff with my son. Wiseman advises, ‘Talk to your son about falling in love and breaking up. Don’t expect the generic advice to ‘respect a girl’ to be useful, especially at a party. What does respect mean?’

Boys, like girls, feel used and confused over relationships. Some boys asked Wiseman how to deal with aggressive drunk girls.

Wiseman began her lecture with a scenario of how one boy felt shamed by other boys’ comments around his body. Yes, body image is important to boys.

This lecture helped me realize my son’s “emotional life is deep and rich.”

Even though my boy always seems to have some tech thing in his hand, he still needs his hand held!

And I’m going to hold his hand — and yes, embarrass the hell out of him while doing so.

20130911-160541.jpg
Rosalind Wiseman talks about boy culture.

10 Good Things

On most nights I tuck my darling daughters into their beds and I whisper 10 good things about each of them. I don’t know where I came up with this random number.

I have a thing for setting random-numbered goals for myself. I always swim 8 laps in any size pool. I clean for 10 minutes. I run for 13 minutes without stopping.

My children’s recent brattiness has laid me low. Why are they mean to me? ME? I am the nicest person/mother/friend in the world! [See my post from a few days ago: http://gettingmyessayspublished.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/when-kids-are-mean-to-mom/ ]

In any case, to overcome this mean-to-mom moment, let me say 10 good things about myself. This is difficult. I feel confident pointing out my failings, but not my strengths. Here goes:

1. I am funny. 2. I am friendly. 3. I am a good writer. 4. I like to work out. 5. I am creative. 6. I listen well. 7. I am tech-savvy. 8.

I have to stop here and admit I am running out of good things to say. I am bored. I am staring out my window at work and looking at Riverside Church blanketed with snow. It’s almost 9 am and I should get to work. Okay, moving on:

8. I am a hard worker. 9. I love my job. 10. I like staring out the window.

That’s it for me. What are 10 good things about you?

February = Month of Self Love? or Self Loathe?

bike riding in Switzerland last year. the layered look! (Shut Up! It was cold!)

It’s okay to hate your body. It’s not okay to love your body.

Or is it?

http://fitnesscheerleader.com A Twitter friend is encouraging women to talk about why they love their bodies during the month of February, a month dedicated to Valentines, flowers, chocolate, hetero love. I’m feeling squeamish about this.

Janice suggests we start with the words “I love myself because….” ugh! Now I’m feeling squeamish AND guilty. The good girl in me says, “Good girls don’t blow their own horns!” (During my workplace leadership academyhttp://gettingmyessayspublished.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/leading-with-positivity/ I learned there’s a book called, “Brag: How To Toot Your Own Horn Without Blowing It.” Sounds good!)

Another good girl, deeper down, says, “Oh go on! You want to model self love for your daughters and son. Besides, you do love yourself!”

I’m no expert, yet I know I’m not alone. It’s hard for me, and likely a lot of my friends, to take a compliment, accept our unique bodies, and discover that deep down we do love our bodies.

So here goes! Diving in! (Once you leap off the side of the pool, you can’t leap mid-air back to the edge!)

I love myself because I take good care of my body. I go for check ups regularly. I am healthy. (I had that little skin cancer thing last month, but got it fixed.)

I work out regularly. (I can practically run a 5K without stopping.) I ride my bike to work. I eat vegetables every night (almost) and fruits every morning (almost). I don’t drink too much (except on book club nights). I don’t smoke. I have a decent figure. I like my crow’s feet and my laugh lines ’cause they show I’ve lived and laughed and squinted.

I have pretty eyes, a laugh that my kids make fun of, a great smile. I have a certain creative thrift store style of dressing that I like. (See above. And yes, my daughters did submit me for the TV show, “What Not To Wear.”)

I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. I can keep up with almost anyone on the dance floor. I will go so far as to say I can out-dance anyone, except a professional.

Best of all — My body made awesome babies! And my body nursed them each for practically a year! Yay me! I’m awesome.

Boy, that felt good. And now, I’m going to go hide. I’m going to find a hooded sweatshirt and zip up. I’m going to bury my face inside my turtleneck sweater (thrift-store style).

Because that feeling is emerging again:  good girls just don’t blog about how gorgeous they are. Or do they — Self love or self loathe? Let’s talk about it.