Tag Archives: self-worth

Fairy Tale or a Cinderella Complex?

Excerpt from Chapter 12 of
Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace

He pranced round the corner.

His arresting, mystifying air captivated me: suave, debonair, and oh, quite a looker. I thought, I’ll stroll on by and check him out. Quickly making mental notes: tall, dark, high cheekbones, broad shoulders–

He turned with a mischievous grin, showing dimples! I averted my eyes and sauntered on by. He whistled. A warm sense of elation swept over me as I thought: He seems older; more mature than the other boys I’ve dated. Surely, this one has already sown his wild oats. I didn’t grasp how much older until later. But at the time I didn’t care.

He was a native of West Indies, thirty-two years old and born on June 6, 1943. If he had claimed that a year after he was born they had named a memorable day on his behalf, calling it D-Day—the “D” standing for Don—I would have believed him. Starry-eyed, I hung on to his every word. He could have said he hung the moon, and I wouldn’t have doubted him.

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photo credit: Brianna Garcia

That was me in another life.

Once upon a time, I envisioned men made decisions and had more power over women. So when he came along, I depended on him for my sanity, security and stability. He would make me whole. Do you know, this theory makes women choose to stay in dysfunctional relationships?

I’ve since read that some women fear independence. Say what? Yep. Oh, they may think they’ve got it all together and are brave and self-sufficient enough, but the bottom line is they have an unconscious desire to be taken care of by others. This was obviously me!

I thought I had found myself a knight in shining armor and allowed him to whisk me away, and soon became a teenage bride to a sweet-talking, hard-hitting man twice my age. He didn’t show much love, nurturing or tenderness, but was harsh and fed on my low self-esteem. His motto: “I’m the man, you’re the woman.” He had a twisted notion on submissiveness. Before I knew it, like a doormat, I was constantly being walked on while becoming subservient to his every whim. I did not respect him. I feared him. Yet, I remained in that relationship fifteen years.

My smile hid the pain in my heart, as well as makeup did the bruises on my face. It would be years of trials and four precious children later, before I found the courage to stand on my own two feet and the courage to walk away from an abusive marriage.

A few years ago, the best help book given to me on marriage was: “Love & Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. He refers back to Ephesians 5:33: “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” There are a lot of nuggets in this one book. Eggerichs suggested that love alone is not enough for marriage. In a nutshell: A wife has one driving need — to feel loved. When that need is met, she is happy. A husband has one driving need — to feel respected. When that need is met, he is happy.

I am happy to report that after being a single mom, I eventually re-married. For nearly 24 years, I’ve been married to a wonderful, caring and loving man. God does answer prayers! I am grateful that through all our struggles we are committed to one another, no matter what. I’m no expert, but I can say no marriage is so good that it can’t be made better. We constantly work on this love and respect thing, as well as forgiveness, because neither one of us is perfect.

So I ask you:

  • What practical ways make a healthy marriage?
  • What is your idea of how love is expressed in marriage?
  • How important is self-worth?
  • Define some unrealistic expectations.

And while we’re on the subject of fairy tales … maybe I’ll touch on my thoughts on the Peter Pan syndrome at a later date.

© M.A. Pérez 2018, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Cinderella Complex, Relationships

Saying Good Bye

It doesn’t get any easier, folks. I had to say good bye to another precious saint of God. Mary Anne Copelin, my spiritual mother, mentor and friend, was 91 years old.

This woman of God was a true doer of the Word, believed in having a prayer life, always sitting on ready. She was a Bible teacher, a missionary, an author, a power house, a force of nature! She touched all who came across her path. She knew the Word of God and flowed under the anointing. She always said she’d rather miss God in trying to be obedient, than miss Him in not trying.

Mrs. C first came into my life some 35 years ago. At the time, I was an empty shell. Broken. And undone. Mrs. C picked me up, dusted me off and took me under her wing. Then she loved me, schooled me, and encouraged me. She allowed me to cry countless of times and bare my soul. I didn’t always like or agreed with everything she suggested, but I respected her knowledge and wisdom.

I learned much from her; some lessons took a while to sink in. I came to the realization that I am a spiritual being. I need to be who I am and not try to imitate someone else. I need to love myself first, in order to love others. The self I need to reject is the “flesh” which dominates my soul. The flesh will abuse or misuse my personality. In order for me to have a healthy self-respect, I must see myself as a person of dignity and worth. The one who has no self-worth or self-esteem tends to hide behind a mask. Been there, done that.

Over the years, I’ve met and have come to know many wonderful and dear sisters in the Lord; many are friends to this very day. It was through Mrs. C’s ministry where I met another saint of God, Elizabeth Bearden, whom we also grew to love and even cared for her in her later years until she crossed over to be with the Lord.

Yes, I am grateful that this one woman enriched my life and instilled in me hope for change. Throughout my own personal struggles and setbacks, she pushed me forward and taught me the importance of God’s grace.

So Mary Anne, I say so long for now. Thank you for your life and for treating me like a loving daughter, even when I didn’t feel so loving. I thank God for knowing you and for being a vital part in not only my life, but in the lives of my family as well. We will miss you until we see you again.

MA

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Filed under Legacy

I Am Woman

Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.

They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.

They fight for what they believe in..
They stand up to injustice.
They don’t take “no” for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.

They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.

They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they
think there is no strength left.

They know that a hug and a kiss
can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They’ll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.

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The heart of a woman is what
makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideas.
They give moral support to their
family and friends.

Women have vital things to say
and everything to give.

HOWEVER, IF THERE IS ONE FLAW IN WOMEN,
…THEY FORGET THEIR WORTH.

~ ANONYMOUS ~

 

Proverbs 14:1: Every wise woman builds her house: but the foolish plucks it down with her hands.

Note to my fans and followers
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“The moment I started it, I had echoes of ‘The Glass Castle’. This is recommended for anyone who loved Walls’ memoirs, as they have some strong parallels.” – Kath Cross (blogger).

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Filed under Values, women

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