Sometimes Self-Respect is Disguised as Ego
What is it in life that builds self-respect? I believe it’s many things.
First, let me say this. I'm not an expert, counselor, therapist, or the like. I am, however, one who sees a lot of success in many areas in my life, and that has allowed me to help others throughout theirs. That said, I’d like to tell you how I have maneuvered through life with self-respect and how I acquired it.
The Early Years
I was “raised” an only child, though I have a half-sister and brother, Linda and Bill. They were out of the house by the time I was five, hence the quotation marks around raised. It was just Mom, Dad, and me for five straight years. They separated when I was 10, and he passed away when I was 12. During those years from birth to 10, I had a lot of patting on the back. A lot of encouragement and a lot of bragging done by both parents.
“Lisa, you can be whatever you want to be in life. If you want to be the president of the United States, you can be that.” He said this as he looked straight at me. Somehow with his dark brown eyes and his no-nonsense way of speaking, I believed him.
That was my dad Eddie, my loudest cheerleader. Eddie was always trying to make me a better person. He was the first one to ever take me fishing.
“You wanna learn how to fish, Lisa?”
“Yeah sure, I guess so. That would be fun.”
“Ok. Let’s go to the store and get you a pole and all the accessories.” Again, this came across to me as matter-of-fact. It was as if it was mandatory for an eight-year-old to learn how to fish.
I lived in the suburbs most of my life. Back and forth to Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park from Sacramento, Fairfield, Carmichael, and Fair Oaks. We moved all over, all the time. So, fishing? No, I didn’t live anywhere long enough to pick up the hobby. It was a mystery to me, but I was ready for the challenge.
Off we’d go to a place called Howath Park in Santa Rosa, where we would cast a line off the bridge into the pond.
“OK, here’s what you do Lisa.”
My memory tells me that he said my name often. I don’t know if he did or not because it was so long ago, but what I always hear in my head is him using my name a lot.
“This is called a fishing line. There are thicker and thinner lines depending on what kind of fish you’re catching. We don’t need anything too thick because we’re just fishing for small bass in this pond. They’re not that heavy so this line should hold them just fine.”
“You have to have some weights on your line so that the lure sinks down to where the fish are. See how these little balls of metal have a slit in them?”
“Yeah, I can see that, Dad.”
“OK, take the line and put it in that slit, and then take these needle-nosed pliers and clamp the slit until it closes to hold the line.”
“Wow, these metal weights are really small. They’re not easy to clamp.” I tried as hard as I could to get it right.
“You’re doing great Lisa, that’s exactly how you’re supposed to do it. You’ll be able to string any line after today. You’re really good at this.”
I clamped the metal ball onto the string, and added a few more after the first one. I thought it needed more weight. Dad agreed.
“OK. Now you have to add this plastic, round, red and white bobber. It’s called a bobber because it bobs up and down in the water. It tells you if you have a fish tugging on your line or not. Do you understand Lisa?”
“Yeah, I get it. What do you do when it starts bobbing?”
He looked at me with those dark brown eyes and got a smile on his face. Not a big one though. Dad was a bit serious, so he only cracked a small smile.
“That’s when you start reeling in your fish. Grab that jar of salmon eggs over there.”
I went over to the newly purchased, army-green tackle box that we set on the wooden slats of the bridge just 6 feet away from our fishing position. I grabbed the jar and opened it. I had never seen salmon eggs before. They were bright orange, round like a pea, and sort of squishy.
Dad showed me exactly how to place them on the hook, and then showed me how to cast my line. From that moment forward, I was the best eight-year-old, female, fisher-girl in the state of California.
Mom was a bit different than Eddie. To look back on my childhood, I would say she tried to love me as much as she was able. She showed it in ways that were different than many other parents, but I knew she loved me.
I would do things for her just for the reaction. For instance, I was the queen of making good coffee. I know this because Edna would not have drank the coffee if it was bad. She complained about everything, so I knew exactly where I stood. I would surprise her when she woke up from her 1-2 p.m. nap with a fresh pot of coffee. Day in and day out, she would make a fresh pot of coffee as soon as she woke up in the morning, as soon as she woke up from her midday one hour nap, and after dinner. All of these coffee rituals were shared with a Winston cigarette. Then she would empty her ashtray into the used coffee filter with the grounds. To this day, when I smell coffee, I’m not sure if it is a cigarette or a cup of coffee. Weird huh?
I could do wrong in Edna’s eyes (most of the time).
“Let Lisa fix it, she knows how.”
“Let Lisa wear it, it will look so cute on her.”
“Lisa, this is the best meal I have ever had.”
Again. Let me remind you, she complained about everything, so when she complimented me or gave me kudos, I knew it was real.
You must be thinking by now that my head is the size of Texas, right? Well, in some people’s opinions, it may be. I like to think of it as self-confidence, which translates to self-respect in my opinion.
How does all of this tie into girlfriendships®?
I think self-confidence ties into girlfriendships in many ways, but if it’s not clear to you, here are some examples that may help you understand how it can work for you as it did for me.
Do you have that friend who doesn’t have much respect for herself? She’s always putting herself down, or thinking she could never accomplish what others do. She’s the one who has a difficult time accepting her skills, her successes, her inner beauty.
Self-respect can be defined in many ways, but here is how it’s written in the dictionary: pride and confidence in oneself; a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity.
It becomes a love of self. Not in a selfish way, but in a productive way so that you can share it with others. Share your strength and encouragement so that it’s passed along.
Do you have that friend or those friends who possess these qualities? When you’re with them, do you feel inspired, motivated, and encouraged? I hope that’s what I do for my friends. But truth be told, I have many friends who do that for me. I am sometimes that girl who doesn’t feel so great about myself. As of late, menopause has been a tough road for me. If its level of severity was judged on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the most severe, I would give my experience an 8. I won’t go into details, just know, it isn’t pretty.
During this time, my self-respect has waned. I kinda mentally beat myself up thinking and wondering how I got here. Mostly physically, but some mental too. My level of self-respect has taken a downturn, and I try everyday to raise it back to the level it was five years ago before menopause started.
We women go through many transitions throughout our lives. Sometimes we’re the hero and sometimes we need to be saved. When our self-respect is intact, it makes a difference.
You could have grown up with Eddie and Edna types or not. Maybe your form of praise came from a teacher, other family members, a boss, a significant other. Could have been anyone. Or maybe no one. Whatever the case, this is the blog to bring to your attention the need for discovering something you may have never had or something that you do have and how it should be used with our girlfriends.
We are all on a constant path, searching for something to feed us. Something to sustain us. Many people in our lives fulfill those needs, but the voids that a girlfriend fills are immeasurable. Please keep on supporting and respecting not only your friends, but also yourself.
I love that you were with me today. See you next time!
Lisa A.K.A. Loopie