Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. —Helen Keller
Every year, on March 8th there is a celebration honoring women called International Women’s Day and I wanted this post to reflect the importance of something that eluded me for many, many years. I hope it inspires everyone to take a good look at his or her own uniqueness and purpose in life. I also wrote this because of a humorous article I wrote about a cheating, lying boyfriend who strung me along for many years. Unveiling my shame seems funny in hindsight but the memories are still embarrassing. Fortunately, this relationship turned into a wonderful thing because it was the catalyst to changing my life. Read about The Scoundrel this upcoming Saturday in the Los Angeles Times. (Available at newsstands everywhere.)
When I was a kid, I had trouble seeing the chalkboard. Once I received my thick, not so attractive glasses that I didn’t want to wear, my grades improved but my confidence level suffered. Life is like that. We go five steps forward only to take two and a half steps backward. Our lives get muddled when we make amazing inroads in confidence and self-esteem only to forget that there’s another multiplier called self-respect. Personal achievement, accomplishments, awards and even attractiveness will fall to the wayside leading to various problems that begin with unhappiness and depression if there’s no self-respect. How you think about yourself is the most important quality of all. By being honest with ourselves, we can accept and love who we are.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know any of that.
Though I wrote a restaurant column, earned my diploma and wrote stellar ad copy, there was still something missing; something no accolades, rewards, bonuses and even kind comments could help me overcome. I had to learn about self-respect. What did that mean? After all high school theater gave me, a false sense of confidence and many people told me they thought I was great. Great—nah—average maybe. You see, I didn’t buy into the kind and well meaning compliments and spent most of my twenties acting the part of a confident coquette. Then one day, I decided to make a change by learning and going back to school for my Master of Arts degree.
Hitting the books helped me stay away from negativity and reading inspirational articles filled me with the desire to help others. I set my standards higher and accepted my limitations. I let go of those people who manipulated me or tried to take advantage of me and slowed my life to a crawl—or at least the speed limit. I smelled the flowers and set examples. I volunteered, developing a sense of humor along the way and went outside to exercise. My inner value blossomed and attracted real love. Without being selfish, I could still love myself and in turn be much better at sharing my heart.
Additionally, I’m grateful for my friends and followers. Thank you so much for reading this and sharing my ideas with those who might need a little help "seeing" things along the way.