Thursday, June 30, 2011

Crying Babies

Whenever you see a crying baby, don't you just want to say to him "man, what are you so upset about, don't you know it ain't never gonna get any better than this?"

Or maybe, if the baby is a little older and his friend has hit him or something, "well, it's a lesson best learned young that the world was designed for the success of assholes"?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Self-Esteem Boosts

Since writing about emotionally unavailable assclowns here and here last month and saying they have low self-esteem, I have heard from a few of you who have suggested to me that if you find yourself consistently attracted to assclowns, you likely have low self-esteem yourself. This is of course extremely true (and it is a common theme of Baggage Reclaim, which I mentioned in one of the posts linked above).

Low self-esteem is a big topic as it is something that often takes time to overcome and there is nothing you can do that will instantly and permanently correct it. However, I wanted to come up with a list of things you can do that I believe will get you on the right path. So here it is, in no particular order, my list of 10 good habits for high self-esteem. If any of you have any other suggestions in this vein, please leave them in a comment below.

1) Look after yourself.

I mean physically and I mean financially. I'll admit to having a taste for junk food (and if you've been with me for a while you probably know this anyway), but I've found that when I don't go crazy eating it at all hours of the day and night I really do feel way better. And I am certainly not going to tell you to go to the gym if you hate it because you will not be able to keep doing something that you hate, but try to find something you can do that you don't hate. Personally, I don't mind swimming or bike riding (albeit on a too-small bike), so I am trying to do those things. I am also thinking I would actually find jumping on a trampoline kind of fun, so if you know of one I can use that is conveniently located, let me know. Anyway, you see what I'm saying.

As for the financial bit of this, if you can stick to a budget and be completely honest with yourself about how much you have to spend and how much you should save, you will realize that you can look after yourself and that your goals are achievable. On the other hand, if you live from paycheck to paycheck, completely beyond your means, or have no idea whether you may overdraw your bank account any minute now, you will feel that you cannot look after yourself and need somebody to rescue you from the nonstop pain in the ass that is your life. This feeling is basically the epitome of low self-esteem.

2) Cook for yourself. 

Once again, you can look after yourself and this is a part of that. If you are going to eat junk food, at least make it in your own kitchen.

3) Get rid of any assclowns you may have lurking around.

I know it may sound a bit circular to get rid of assclowns so that you will have high enough self-esteem to get rid of assclowns, but you can't wait until you are a hundred percent sure you have great self-esteem to start doing what's best for you. Cut these attention-seekers out of your life and you will be amazed by how much better you will feel. Oh, it'll hurt for a little while, but fear not: you will emerge stronger, happier, and more confident. You will also be less likely to fall prey to the same games the next time an assclown should happen to show up.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering whether or not you have an assclown on your hands, if you've got a crush on or are in a not-going-anywhere-friends-with-benefits-type relationship with someone who tells you he (or she, of course) is in love with someone else, can't commit to anything even if it is as small as going for coffee this afternoon, or clearly doesn't want a relationship with you but then shows up the second he thinks you may have moved on from him, you have entered Assclown Territory. So assert some boundaries and lose this dumb ass. You're not being "mean," you're looking after yourself. And that's what having high self-esteem is all about.

4) And while we're on the topic of assclowns...

Distance yourself from anyone else in your life who is really not on the same team as you if you know what I mean. Do you have friends who are flaky (never return your calls, constantly cancel at the last minute with the flimsiest of excuses), cruel (talk about you behind your back, seem happy when you don't succeed at something), or otherwise only out for themselves (only get in touch when they need a favour)? You can live without these people. Don't feel badly about ignoring them.

5) Deal appropriately with your crushes.

It is human to have crushes but there is having a crush and then there is having a long-term relationship that is literally taking place entirely in your head. If you have feelings for someone whom you know, you should obviously flirt with this person or whatever in the hopes that they catch on, but if you think you've done that extensively and they haven't caught on, it's time to bite the proverbial bullet and tell them you like them. I assure you that even if they do not reciprocate your feelings, a decent person will not make you feel ashamed. And you wouldn't want someone who was not a decent person anyway. Would you? Of course not, because you have high self-esteem.

The reason you need to come clean is because you need to get this relationship started if it is going to happen, and if it is not going to happen, you need to move on and not keep living in fantasyland. I understand that you will feel awkward about being "friends" with this person afterwards, but as I told Frustrated here, you actually should not attempt to be friends with someone who knows your feelings but does not reciprocate them because you are just going to continue the fantasy about someday winning them over or something like that. A person who tries to force this sort of friendship on you is an ego stroke-seeker and an assclown, plain and simple.

One more thing about this. If you've known the person for a reasonable amount of time, there is no reason to wait for a better moment to tell them than now. I can assure you that there will never be a moment when you will feel 100 percent sure of the outcome of the discussion, so really you're just procrastinating. And you better not be thinking anything insane like "maybe I'll ignore 10 more of their texts so they're going crazy for me and then tell them I like them." You're not going to manipulate someone into liking you, and the harder you try, the lower will your self-esteem become as you realize you're wasting all your time trying to think of what nonsensical mind game to play next.

6) If you are a vicious gossip, stop.

You don't have anything nice to say about anyone else because you are unhappy with yourself. So start looking for the good in other people and you will start to see it in yourself too.

7) Stop overcompensating.

I know the advice you usually hear about having high self-esteem is to focus on the things you like about yourself, but if the refrain in your head goes something like "I'm so great because I am a Rhodes scholar with a hot body who can pick up any girl and outdo everyone else at the office meeting all at the same time," you are probably actually unhappy with yourself and are overcompensating by focusing on things that are superficial. In fact, I would not be surprised if the people with the lowest self-esteem were the ones who seemed to have the most going for them.

So think about what your closest friends, the ones who understand who you really are, like about you. Are you deeply kind/always sincere/sharply witty/a great judge of character? This is the level at which you must be at ease with who you are. While it is nice if you think you have great hair, great hair really does not high self-esteem make.

8) Stay in on a Saturday night.

And don't feel bad about it, like it makes you a loser or something. Revel in your own company because you are fun. Don't laugh. It's true.

9) Stop engaging in behaviours that you tell yourself are "hedonistic" but are actually self-destructive.

Do you seek out casual sex with strangers/acquaintances/friends, or do you drink so much you have absolutely no idea what may have happened last night on anything remotely approaching a regular basis? If you have trouble connecting with people when you are sober and there is no sex involved, you need to ask yourself why this is, not just toss in some alcohol and sex and then hope for the best.

10) Be kind to yourself.

Of course you have made mistakes, but who has not? There are even people who have made bigger ones than you. Believe it, baby.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Book I'm Reading

I wanted to tell you about a book I'm reading. That's not really true, I wanted to tell you about a tiny little bit from the foreword, which was written by Dave Eggers. The tiny little bit goes like this:

"There are some people who feel that fiction should be easy to read... On the other hand, there are those who feel that fiction can be challenging... [But some readers] might actually read both kinds of fiction themselves, sometimes in the same week. There might even be - though it's impossible to prove - readers who find it possible to enjoy Thomas Pynchon one day and Elmore Leonard the next. Or even: readers who can have fun with Jonathan Franzen in the morning while wrestling with William Gaddis at night."

I obviously don't know Dave Eggers personally, so why oh why do I get such a feeling that he might be a bit of a pretentious douche?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Buena Vista Social Club

I know this is ridiculously old news, but if you haven't seen The Buena Vista Social Club, you should. It goes on a little long and it never really gets 'round to telling you what the Buena Vista Social Club actually is (a club in Cuba where musicians used to play together? I didn't Wikipedia it yet), but you get to see some interesting people profiled who aren't shy about telling you their story, which I like. And of course, there's the Cuban music that is the real focus of the thing. Ry Cooder, who produced the movie and the album that inspired it, said he felt when he played with this group of Cuban musicians that he'd been preparing for it his whole life, and I see why. The music is fantastically great.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Little More Happy Than Sad

In her book Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, Amy Krouse Rosenthal writes about her search for a word that means being happy and sad at the same time but a little more happy than sad, like the way you feel when you listen to a Van Morrison song. She rejects "melancholy" and "bittersweet" because both of those are more sad than happy, but she eventually comes up with "wabi-sabi," which is a Japanese expression she saw defined in a magazine that apparently captures more happy than sad.

Maybe it does, but I'm thinking that you have to really understand and appreciate the nuances of a language before you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt whether a particular word is a little more happy than sad or a little more sad than happy. In other words, if Amy Krouse Rosenthal doesn't speak Japanese I don't see how she would know that "wabi-sabi" is really a little more happy than sad because it's not enough just to read a definition. So I decided I would try to think of a word in English that captures this.

And I am pleased to report that I have. How do you feel when you walk by a house you once admired with your first love? You don't feel nostalgic, which is too much happy with almost no sad, like how you might feel when you think about how much fun you had at your friend's wedding. No, you feel wistful.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Country Strong

Don't see this one. It is total crap. Should have been called "They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab: The Musical."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Graduation Day

Do you ever feel like you get all excited for graduation day and you think you're going to get to see everyone you spent however many years with all in one place and it's going to be so great to hang out with all of them, and then before you know it, it's over and you only talked to anyone for two minutes max? And now you're panicking because you don't know when you'll see them all again, and your world feels like it's only as wide and as deep as the number of people in your class and now it's going to have to completely change? And that you might just run into one of your classmates in 10 years and you'll say hi and be happy to see them, but you'll never spend a lot of time together again and graduation day is the day you realize that's how it will be? Do you ever feel like that?