POW! Epiphany! I didn’t realize my lack of confidence and self-esteem was THAT obvious.
Carolyn is the first-born child of an alcoholic father who was so disappointed she was a girl that he didn’t bother to show up at the hospital when she was born.
All through her childhood he verbally abused her, neglected her, and told her she was stupid. She spent her childhood trying to please him. She hesitated to try anything new because she was afraid of failure and being called a loser by him.
He refused to pay for her college education and told her it would be a waste of money because she didn’t need an education to be nothing more than someone’s housewife.
However, he’d pay for her younger brother’s education because he was a boy and had to support a family.
Eventually, Carolyn ended up in an emotionally abusive marriage. Her father had so badly damaged her self-concept and self-esteem that she had no confidence or positive self-image. It took a long time to extricate herself from the marriage and become an independent woman.
It’s important to tell you about Dina who was Carolyn’s colleague. In Carolyn’s own words:
“I was very close friends with Dina and we enjoyed sharing an office. At that time, I was a working single parent and was trying to step carefully around the dating minefield.
At times, I felt down about spending my rare time off on dates that went nowhere, or got tangled up in management’s shifting priorities and their sometimes unrealistic demands. In my moments of panic and self-doubt, Dina would say to me, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s all small stuff!
Dina was the polar opposite of me. She was the apple of her father’s eye. She had confidence, and she simply expected to be treated well. She was single, too. She had a string of boyfriends, who adored her, but she hadn’t met ‘THE ONE.’ One day, we were having a conversation about dating and relationships, and I told her I admired her ‘I-take-no-prisoners’ attitude.
She said, ‘Carolyn, when are you going to learn to be your own best friend? Nobody is better than you or more important than you. Put yourself before everything and remember that you don’t have to take any crap from anyone. You come first, and don’t you ever forget it.’
POW! Epiphany! I didn’t realize my lack of confidence and self-esteem was THAT obvious. My self-esteem blossomed in that one eureka moment. After that, my attitude changed from thinking I didn’t count, that I had to put myself last, to one of: I want-what-I want-when-I want-it and don’t you ever forget it!”
SELF-IMAGE INVENTORY QUIZ
This assessment is based on the Self-Image Inventory by psychologist, D.G. Simmermacher.
He designed and used this in workshops to help people examine or modify their self-image. Read the stories of Carolyn, Dina and Katherine and then click to visit our website and take the Self-Image Inventory Quiz.
There’s a link to download the PDF with the quiz.
This exercise will indicate your level of self-esteem and satisfaction with your role in life as well as how you perceive yourself in relation to others. This is not a diagnostic test; it’s not a timed test; and it’s not a psychological test. It’s a simple personal inventory for your own self-awareness so you can assess what you believe are your strengths and weaknesses.
It will be good for you to examine your responses because it will give you insight into your self-esteem, your perception of yourself and your level of satisfaction.
Personal assets could be that you are a good money manager, healthy and fit, or a creative cook. A liability may be that you sit at home, have no interests, are too sensitive and take yourself too seriously, are impatient, or are controlling.
There are no right or wrong answers, so be as honest and thorough as you can. No one else will see the result of this exercise.
WHAT ARE YOUR SUPERPOWERS?
Katherine recognized she had lifestyle problems because she lacked self-value. She believed having someone – anyone – was better than having no one. It was as though she was empty and expected a man to come along to tell her how to fill her needs. Like Katherine, many women attain their self-worth from belonging to someone else and are grateful to be “chosen” by a man. Katherine says:
“I kept attracting the wrong kind of men. I didn’t feel good about myself and I felt I had to have that man in my life to validate me; to let me and others know I was okay, instead of it coming from within me.
I remember when I was in college, a female teacher told me that I should marry the guy I was dating so I could live my life through his talent and success. It turned out he was gay.
Once I took the time to discover who I was, what I wanted and that I could be a successful, worthwhile person through my own efforts, I began realizing I don’t have to live my life through what a man – any man – thought of me or how I should be. I have my own identity.
Finally, I understood the “real me,” and I began liking and enjoying who I am. I knew what I wanted and why. Then, I was able to attract a man with qualities that were desirable to me.”
It is difficult for women like Carolyn and Katherine to recognize and accept their personal assets.
They devalue themselves and discount compliments and the good things people say to them because they think of themselves as undeserving.
They internalize and personalize everything and usually end up emphasizing upon the negative.
They feel responsible for the actions of others around them when something goes badly for them.
They allow others to make decisions for them and are unhappy when their own needs and expectations go unmet, but they just suck it up and live with it.
By stepping back and looking at herself objectively, Katherine was able to examine why she felt the way she did. She took a realistic account of her positive attributes and those things she perceived as negative by listing them.
She thought about all the things she wanted in life. She set goals and went about successfully meeting them. The outcome was a new sense of self-esteem that made her realize she was lovable and capable just the way she was.
These stories and the Self-Assessment Inventory come from my mother’s book, “Time for Romance: A Woman’s Guide To Energizing Your Love Life.”
TIME FOR R♥MANCE
Go here to take the Self-Image Inventory Quiz ⇐ Take The Quiz
I hope you will enjoy this experience. Please post your comments under the quiz on our website if you’re moved to share.
It’s time we create new generations of women who are fully utilizing their superpowers.
Here is a picture of three generations; my mother, daughter and me.