Tag Archives: self-esteem

Making a Difference

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to give a presentation at a local women’s shelter on self-esteem. As I have been training to become a certified sexual assault advocate, I was delighted and agreed to speak to the group of ladies and give a one hour presentation. I titled it, “Phenomenal, Beautiful You.”  I gave that presentation today.

Now due to numerous reasons and past experiences, I myself struggle with low self-esteem. I still don’t find certain tasks easy, comfortable or painless. So, everything that I shared with the ladies today, I was speaking to myself. Sometimes we just need to speak words of affirmation over ourselves! I let those precious ladies know that I am just like them, only now, sitting on the opposite side of the table. However, not without from being well acquainted with the struggles that they face. I shared my story, my insecurities, and spoke on what the definition of insanity is: Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Here is one of the quotes that I printed out on card stocks for each lady to take:

When you change your thinking, you change your belief;
When you change your beliefs, you change you expectations;
When you change your expectations, you change your attitude;
When you change your attitude, you change your behavior;
When you change your behavior, you change your performance;
When you change your performance, you change your life.

This is the kicker to today’s event – today would have been my sister’s birthday, had she not passed away after being struck down by a hit-and-run drive, some 40+ years ago! I was a lonely, neglected child. But when my sister came into the world, from early on I gladly took care of her. Many times it was just the two of us while our parents were gone. But I didn’t mind. It was better doing things together than doing them alone. I promised that I would love and care for her forever. When tragedy struck, she was only two. How do you think this nine-year old big sister felt at the time? Do you think she struggled with self-esteem, insecurities, and self-doubt for the majority of her life? Yeah, you can say that all right. And I will continue to work at it.

I share my experiences because it is possible to make a difference in this world. Just like my pastor says: If you have a pulse you have a purpose! Today’s message was well received and the hour flew by quickly. Afterwards, no one wanted to stop chatting and visiting with me. They felt inspired. In the end, they knew I was one of them.

When I look back on my life, I see pain, mistakes, and heartache. When I look in the mirror, I see strength, learned lessons and pride in myself.

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© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Self-Esteem Presentation

What Does Co-dependent Look Like?

Such a complex word.

Here’s what it looks like to me …

My former husband was in love with himself. His needs, desires and wants came before all else. I thought if I did everything he wanted, I’d make him happy. I believed if I agreed with his every comment and wishes, only then would I have some measure of peace. I figured if I made the peace in letting him have his way with me, then surely he’d show me tenderness and love, preferring me over his need for others – hobbies, friends or conquests. But I was merely fooling myself. I received no respect and he continued his ill-treatment toward me. Silently, I resented what he was doing to me, but not enough to do anything different. By me allowing the offenses, I was giving him permission to continue to do me wrong, as if I signed all my rights and life away. I was slowly dying inside. I felt undone, unloved, with a low-self esteem and zero self-worth. I felt lonelier with him than without him. Yet I still wanted him around. As I yearned for his approval and acceptance, I lived in constant fear with him and lived with the fear of losing him.

We think if we can control our environment, we will find peace and tranquility. But in reality, serenity is usually miles away. You might have a false sense of peace and trust me when I say it isn’t lasting. And oh, the price it comes with!

I’m no psychologist, nor am I a psychiatrist. But I also think there’s another side to this spectrum. Sometimes a person may love so much and love so deeply that they tend to do everything for another, thereby potentially stagnating and handicapping that loved one from doing anything for themselves. That person then becomes dependent on you for their needs and outlook in life. They are hindered from growth and maturity in making wise decisions or choices.  They are emotionally immature and can remain psychologically traumatized.

Such as in the situation with my mom. From her childhood early on, Mama was an introvert and extremely shy. Grandma loved her so much that she felt sorry for her. She tended to overcompensate in trying to help Mama by doing everything for her. Mama naturally grew dependent on others to do things for her all of her life. Then in my early years, I tried looking out for Mama and did everything I could in trying to protect her. Most of the time my help was unwarranted, as she sought and relied on her significant others to fulfill that need.

So, co-dependency can be a vicious circle and left untreated can fester like a sore that won’t go away.

Here here are some examples of what it means being co-dependent:

• The need to be needed
• People pleasing
• Trying to control others (aggressively or passively)
• Focusing on helping others before working on your own issues
• Being consumed with other people’s problems
• Rescuing
• Self-doubt
• Unclear boundaries in friendships and relationships
• The tendency to date (or marry) alcoholics or addicts
• Perfectionism
• Workaholism (or always being busy)
• Exhaustion

Your turn. What does co-dependency mean to you?

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Filed under Behavior, Co-dependent, Relationships