A Sense of Self-Worth

1 response | February 12th, 2013


(anonymously submitted) Where do you get your sense of self-worth, your sense of value to the world?  I've always found it externally, in what I do for others, in what others have praised me for.  When I succeed, I am happy; when I succeed in helping others, I am ecstatic.  When I am wrapped in the cocoon of my loved ones, I feel secure.  But when I fail, when I let others down, when others don't let me know what I am worth, my ego deflates.  When I can't fix all my husband's problems, when I overreach at work, dropping balls because I'm trying to juggle too many of them, I feel that I am worthless, of no value.  I retreat into myself, sleeping, escaping in novels and games, diving into more work or sometimes even excessive social activities, trying to redeem myself, trying to regain some of that external reward that I need to feel that my life is worth living. Was I always this way?  Did I lose my sense of value when I was abandoned as a baby, thrown away like so much trash? Or did I lose it ...

#bodiesMy Biggest Insecurity

6 comments | September 13th, 2012

chestist sad

(story submitted by Allie P., a 16 yo Chestist)

Allie may only be 16 but - sadly - nothing about how she's feeling is limited by age.  We'd bet that at least most of us have (and sometimes still do) felt this way.  How do you deal with what she's feeling?  How have you gome from feeling like shit for what you're not to feeling good about what you are?   Remember, if you share your story maybe you can help change hers.

My stomach, my chin, my butt, my thighs, everything about me is horrible. I just feel that everyone else is so much thinner and prettier, and there is no one that will accept who i am. I'm finally understanding myself a little better, but my body is still my biggest worry and insecurity. {end story}

Surrounded By Youth and Beauty

6 comments | June 13th, 2012


(story submitted by Mirror Stalker, a Chestist)

I'm no Homecoming Queen but I used to think I was "cute".  Lately it's like I'm surrounded by youth and beauty and it makes me feel old and unattractive.  Every where I look, I see women skinnier thsn me, prettier than me, younger than me, and looking like they're having more fun than me.

I don't know if it's that I'm turning 35 in a few months, or living in New York, or working in the industry I do.  It's not about having a guy, it's about feeling pretty and confident when I look in the mirror or see my reflection in a store window.  I can't stand comparing myself to other women but I have been and not favorably.  I'm seriously thinking about cosmetic "enhancements" to look younger and feel prettier. {end story} 

How we feel about how we look can influence our happyness and self-confidence in so many ways (go ahead, you can quote us on that).  You find yourself comparing you to others?  You ever win that competition or is it alwys self-defeating? 

#bodiesEating Disorder

7 comments | May 26th, 2012

cloudy talk burst

(story submitted Anonymously, by a Chestist, on rewind)

I was never the fat girl, but I was never the thin girl either. I wasn't the ugliest girl, but I was far from attracting the attention and admiration of anyone either. I had flaws, but I wasn't a flaw. And this is how I felt during my years as a teenager.

I went through puberty at a very early age. Nine years old to be exact. I always felt special-- being the tallest, being the biggest. But those feelings changed once I entered middle school and learned thin was in.

I continued to gain weight a grow, and by seventh grade I was 5'3" and 150 lbs. No one ever said to my face that I was fat. I only felt that I was because I was surrounded by prepubescent girls and t.v. shows like America's Next Top Model, that praised and glamorized size 0 bodies. And growing up in a home with a constantly dieting mother and Barbie Dolls to play with, I knew I should have been thinner.

And to be honest, I could have eaten healthier and ...

#lifestagesI Feel Inadequate

9 comments | May 7th, 2012

green eyed

(submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

I...don't know what I'm doing. I feel stupid and inadequate because everyone else seems to know who they are and what they want and I'm just not confident enough in myself to do the same.

I feel like a failure; a failure who sits on her computer all day watching others live their wonderful lives and can only think 'I can do that' but doesn't have the balls to do it. {end story}

You ever felt like you're on the outside looking in?


12 comments | March 29th, 2012

Get Busy Living

(story by 'A Mountain Momma', a Chestist; originally 4.25.11)

I have things I need to do. Supposed to do. Have to do. They are not done. I think about them constantly, but I do not do them. And I feel guilty about it. All. The. Time

I thought if perhaps I unloaded here and made a list it might prompt me into doing these things, these chores, these monkeys on my back.

I am going to print out this list and put it on my fridge and check them off as I do them. Let's hope it works and this list does not instead start mocking me instead of helping me.

Here goes:

1. I need to change my name. It has been 2.5 years, really get on it Girl!

2. I need to change my oldest daughter's name. **See above.

3. I have to call the cable company and bitch at them about our bill. I just need 3 hours to set aside to be on hold is all.

4. I have a laundry basket, dryer, and washing machine upstairs full of laundry in various stages. Calling my name.

5. I need to ...

#thecumulativeeffectGiving Away Our Self Esteem

11 comments | March 7th, 2012

Chestist typewriter 2

(story submitted by Sueann, a Chestist)

Do advertising and the images you see in popular culture affect how you feel about how you look?  Sueanne worries you might.  Here's her story:

I just saw a segment on a morning show about the new Levis ad campaign "women come in all shapes and sizes".

I constantly hear psychologists, doctors, sociologists, etc commenting on how the media affects our self esteem and how we start as young girls to look at advertising images as how we should be.  I want to remind EVERYONE that it is an industry that cares about making money NOT shaping your developing mind!!!!  Don't look to the pages of a fashion magazine for role models!  Look instead at the people in your world who love and care about you. 

Look to our teachers, health care providers, social workers, and the all the people in your lives who make a difference.  The change can start right now with each one of us.  Don't comment on someone's acne, weight gain, or wrinkles. Have an open mind and an open heart to the kindness and wisdom that ...

#bodiesMy Little Sister’s Body

24 comments | February 29th, 2012

chestist swirl

(story submitted by Emily, a Chestist.  Originally on 6.6.11 and again today)

It can be really hard to admit that you're competitive with a sibling - especially when they're the younger one.  OOC reader Emily gets her Chestism on here and now:

A great deal of my body worries, at age 21, don't come from Hollywood stars or even that classmate who does part-time modeling. Because I know that I'm this way naturally, genetically. But the story doesn't end there.

I'm ashamed to admit that a great deal of my insecurity about my body comes from my 16-year-old sister. Why so? Her body has developed radically differently from mine.

At her age, I was pretty much the height and weight I am now: 5'10" and a size 10 on average. It distressed me for a bit, but in my mind I viewed it as just genetics. I thought, when my sister gets older it'll catch up with her too.

Of course, though, it didn't. For whatever reason, in the genetic lottery my sister lucked out on body type. Although she's only around 5'5", she is also still a petite size 6, and ...

#lifestagesWhat I Should Be

7 comments | February 18th, 2012

chestist black scratch

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

There's nothing we want to do more than give this writer a hug and let her know it'll all be okay.   Here's her story, a short one full of hurt:

Sometimes I look at other girls my age and want to cry because they remind me of what I should be. I should be worrying about prom dresses not treatment centers, hiding hickeys instead of cuts, and wanting to rebel a little rather than trying to keep it together for my parents. {end story}

We have no words.   Do you have any comfort, experience or thoughts to share with this writer and each other?

#thecumulativeeffectStrangers and Self-Esteem

6 comments | February 10th, 2012

do you see me

(by OOC via Men's Health)

Oh, great.  As if our friends, family, colleagues and culture couldn't hate on our happy all by themselves - now we find that strangers can lower our self-esteem just by not looking at us.  I mean, we're strangers...aren't we supposed to not look at each other (Can you tell I grew up in NYC?)

According to the original article, researchers found that "failing to draw eye contact  can trigger feelings of social isolation and low self-esteem...curious to see how small social interactions, or lack thereof, could influence a person’s feelings of connectedness... the experimenters were instructed to walk past random students and make eye contact, smile, or purposely look through the student as if he didn’t exist. Immediately afterward, another experimenter asked the student how disconnected he felt on a scale of 1 to 5.

As it turns out, a cold eye may be more painful than a cold shoulder: The students that were made to feel invisible reported feeling 25 percent more disconnected from others."

Yowza, right?  So do a stranger a favor and make eye-contact today.  ...

Happy HatingPlaying It (Much Too) Safe

7 comments | January 27th, 2012


(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

Sometimes playing things safe hurts and hinders us a lot more than taking risks ever would.  Here's her story about just this:

I've made my life so safe - safe from rejection, safe from getting involved, safe from feeling, safe, safe, safe.

So much that I've numbed, denied, lied and just turned away from me, what I want, what I feel, my dreams, my hopes. I've become what I thought others would expect in order to be safe. No rocking the boat. Or causing anyone to reject or dislike me. So I'm in a jail of my own making. And fearful that I've ruined my life. I'm not a young girl anymore. I'm afraid I'm going to keep missing life since I can't get out of my own way.

This isn't the life that I wanted nor thought I'd have. It's amazing how wounds can shape our lives and choices. {end story}

It seems pretty easy to relate to this afterall, who hasn't taken the easy way out sometimes?  When sometimes becomes all the time, we may be playing it safe, but we risk ...

#lifestagesSo Ugly

6 comments | January 24th, 2012

black explosion chestist

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

Quick...if you had to pick one, would you rather think you look good or have others think you look good?  This reader writes us with a (very) short story about how she feels. 

I just feel soooooooo ugly.  Whenever anyone says "you look beautiful", i just can not accept it. {end story}

Can you accept the compliments of others?  How about their criticisms - or just the observations that are less than flattering.  You know, like that blouse maybe doesn't go so well with your complexion?  Why do you think so many of us are quick to take critique as gospel and compliment as false?  Hmmm.  Let's #discuss.  


4 comments | January 20th, 2012

Screen shot 2011-07-27 at 10.17.50 AM

We first published this back in the early days of OOC, and just bumped into it again.  We thought it merited another passwith you, our new and larger audience, because so much of who we are today and how we feel about us, has to do with how our parents (often times our moms) helped us to feel...or not.

Sooooooo, did your mother teach you well, or were hers lessons you'd just as soon forget?  What?  Why?  Did your mom help instill self-resepct and self-confidence or self-loathing?  Was she happy with who she was?  How do you think that affects how you feel about you - now?  Moms.  Let's share.


9 comments | January 14th, 2012

chestist enthralled

(submitted anonymously by a Chestist.  oringinally in May, again today)

To start with, let's get this out of the way. I am a college age girl (I do consider myself a girl because, let's face it, I am far from a woman when I spend my favourite Thursday nights colouring with my friends) with ADD and Anxiety Disorder NOS. I feel so incredibly trapped by these conditions. I want to scream every time I want to focus, but can't, or can't tear myself away from something distracting. I want to, and frequently do cry when something that I see my friends brush off makes me so uncertain of my own ability to get through. Anything unknown in my life sends fear and panic right through me. There are so many negative things bubbling up in me, threatening to burst. Am I alone in this? I feel it so often, I'm more surprised when it's gone than when the fear is there. And yet, it feels a bit better to talk about, even though that talking hurts.  {end story}


#bodiesJennifer Hudson and The Self-Esteem Act

3 comments | January 10th, 2012


Jennifer Hudson helps make the case for why we need The Self-Esteem Act, full media disclosure, and truth-in-advertising.  Or maybe it's just an overzealous, photshopping record executive that does.  You be the judge.  (via @Jezebel):

Doing the rounds for her weight-loss memoir I Got This: How I Changed My Ways And Lost What Weighed Me Down, Jennifer Hudson says she's pissed that the Photoshop hobgoblins trimmed her down to within an inch of her life for the cover of her eponymous 2008 album.

"It's like, ‘Where's the rest of me?' They Photoshopped me probably to the size I am now on that cover, when we all know I was nowhere near that," she said. "To me, it did not send out a good message. And it did not represent me well. Did I not just prove that talent is enough if I made it this far? Being who I am, being the size that I am?"  [NYDN] Sign The Self-Esteem Act petition and Support Truth-In-Advertising here