self-esteem boost

It would be nice if we could each rely on and trust our own sense of self-esteem: if we could look in the mirror and see the beautiful individual reflected there, a person with physical characteristics and a rich history, gifts to share and a tender heart.

But it doesn’t always work that way, does it?

Sometimes we need – nay, crave – validation from others. And sometimes, we cannot trust it from those who know us best, those we love.

That’s a little dark and twisty, isn’t it? That we cannot trust the view point of someone who loves us, because they HAVE to think we’re beautiful, don’t they?

No, they don’t.

Still, even if we are grounded when we look in the mirror (and some of us are, I hear), even if we do accept at face value when our loved ones tell us we look great (and sometimes we do), it is still a nice feeling – sometimes – to make a complete stranger do a double-take.

Kristina came home yesterday floating a little: she’d had a couple of those esteem boosters during the day.

Boost #1

Kristina and Boyfriend each have a friend who graduated in 2008 and attended university in Bellingham this last year. Having friends come home for the summer gives a great opportunity to catch up and really see for yourself how they are doing.

This was Boyfriend’s friend’s reaction to seeing Kristina: “How can you have a girlfriend who is SO HOT and I don’t have a girlfriend at all?”**

** Yes, it is mildly disconcerting to have a college student refer to my daughter as SO HOT, but I know that it was quite gratifying for her. 

Boost #2

Yesterday, Kristina was at her high school, moving boxes of gear around for a club she’ll participate in next year. Okay, it’s Robotics. She’s a nerdy girl and proud of it.  (She’ll kick your butt at Mario Kart.)

She was wearing a (new) pretty sundress for a coffee date earlier that morning, and didn’t want to trash it during the moving. She went back out to her car to get her grubby clothes to change into, and decided to swap the dress out right there.

She stood with the car door open, shielding her a little, and she was with a friend. After discreetly pushing her shorts up under her dress, she simply pulled her dress off over her head.

And watched a boy who had caught sight of this walk into a tree. Literally.

Walk into a tree.

She knew she had a bright pink sports-bra on underneath – in fact, you could see it when the sundress was on. And this sports-bra covers more of her than any of her little bikini tops do.

But that poor boy must have had no idea. His heart just skipped a beat and he lost his way.

It puts me in mind of a line from a Kenny Chesney song:

Bikini bottoms underneath
But the boys’ hearts still skip a beat
When them girls shimmy off
Them old cutoffs

Sometimes we just need a boost.

What gives your self-esteem a lift?


listening to: Kenny Chesney, Summertime


  • Fair that you would be disconcerted by that guy calling Kristina hot – although my discomfiture is more of the ‘objectification of women’ variety. Cute blond girlfriend = success measure = status = trophy. It’s a good thing she hears a lot about how smart she is, what a good athlete, etc, because if you only hear about your ‘trophy value’, that is a sad, tenuous, and fleeting kind of pleasure.

    “Fighting the patriarchy” doesn’t actually mean picking up a torch and pitchfork and banging down the door of the man… but it can be hard to find practical ways to undo the myriad subtle slights. I heard some great advice from a young feminist (Courtney Martin maybe?) who said one of the best things you can do to support women’s freedom (and especially young women) is to stop criticizing women’s bodies – including your own. When you bitch about lumpy hips or flat boobs or cellulite, you add credence to the idea that we are all suppose to look like the cover of vogue. Fuck that shit! Its not easy to do, but great to feel like you are breaking free of those rules (and the Foucault-style discipline where we snark at each other). Knowing I can identify these things and consciously stop contributing to it makes me feel good. 🙂

  • I heard the most extraordinary thing a few days ago that made me think of this post: men are wired not to notice our flaws until we point them out.

    I verified this with husband, then thought of the hundreds of times I have complained to him about this imperfection or that…so I attempted to erase all of it by telling him, “Honey, I am hot and have no flaws!”

    He laughed and gave me a kiss.

  • Of course he did. Because you are you, and because you are the perfect combination of hot, adorable, and brilliant.

    I love this quote/idea. I think i’ll have to do my own field work in this area. 😉

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