A reader asked once about the difference between being self centered and being self nurturing. Shortly thereafter, I found some sayings imprinted on T-shirts in the "slightly slutty pre-teen wear" section of a department store.
Just for fun, let's look at them to highlight the difference between self centeredness and self nurturing.
"I love my attitude problem!"
Self-nurturing people definitely have an attitude, but it's not a problem! It's an attitude of confidence and love.
"Attitude is knowing you have one, liking it, and not caring what anyone else thinks!"
If you're self nurturing, you take care not to hurt others, but you don't live your life by what they think. Living to please others at the expense of your own authentic self is not living.
"Unless you're cute, keep walking."
People who put down others to build up themselves need to be more self nurturing. Once they can love themselves, they can love others - and that love is NOT based on outward appearances.
"I'm so great...I'm jealous of myself."
Hmmm. This one's a stretch, but it reminds me that we each have various sub-personalities. Some we like and some we're not so crazy about. But as we acknowledge our bright side, we also have to accept our dark side. For instance, in one situation we may be highly confident, while in another we're painfully uncertain. Become aware of your various parts and integrate them into a total, balanced self image.
Part of self nurturing is listening to what other people have to say. First, you'll learn a lot. Second, you'll make more friends that way. Third, they're more likely to listen to you when you want to talk. But most important, if you show a genuine interest in what others say, they'll find you to be a fascinating person!
"Warning: Not responsible for lost or stolen hearts."
Actually, I like this one. It shows a healthy self-image (because she assumes people will want to give their hearts to her). But she's also looking out for the feelings of those other people - not wanting to cause them any pain.
In short, anyone who pleases herself at the expense of others is self centered. Anyone who pleases herself so she can more readily share happiness with others is self nurturing.
Sometimes the boxxes we get trapped in really belong to someone else but we take them on as our own. For example, do you know someone who is in a relationship where one person feels so much less important than the other? Where one continually tries to make the other happy, but no matter what they do it is never good enough? Well, there's a good chance he or she is involved with a narcissist.
The term "narcissism" comes from the mythological story of a Greek youth named Narcissus who became so infatuated with his own reflection in a pool of water that he was unable to leave it, and eventually died on the spot. Although narcissists may appear extremely self-loving and sometimes egotistical; in fact, it's all a hoax. Their inner self is full of fear and self-loathing, believed to have begun in childhood when certain needs of love and compassion were not provided. They
do not truly love themselves, and thus, do not know how to love anyone else either.
Most narcissists (75 percent) are men. Adolph Hitler comes to mind as perhaps the best known and most extreme narcissist. Certainly, most are not as lethal or as famous. However, there are many other small-scale narcissists in our society who inflict their own level of damage upon those they live with, trapping their victims in boxxes of guilt, fear, shame, and self-doubt.
The most common are abusive husbands. Whether physically, sexually, or emotional abusers, we see them in movies like Sleeping With The Enemy and Enough. These men exhibit absolute power and control over ever aspect of their wives' lives, while inflicting abuse as "punishment" for perceived poor performance of any kind. This type of relationship is dangerous, and professional help should be sought at the earliest possible sign. Abuse, whether physical, sexual, or emotional,
(including the "silent treatment,) is not acceptable in any relationship! Taking care of YOU first is crucial, especially in these situations, and even more so when children are involved. Do NOT feel responsible for the abuse you receive. It is the abuser's boxx, not yours.
Equally destructive, but with a different approach, are the many narcissists who live quietly in all areas of society. I'll call them "stealth narcissists." Some are highly respectable members of our communities, often appearing to be wonderful people. In public they may wear a mask of sincerity, kindness, friendliness, compassion, and/or a great sense of humor, yet beneath this veneer lays a personality that can inflict extreme damage upon others in their lives - especially those they "love."
When their needs are not met to the degree they deem appropriate, they feel justified in punishing those who are responsible. Unfortunately, the reality is that no one can EVER make them happy, as they are not happy with themselves to begin with.
This vicious cycle is self-perpetuating. The more the "victim" tries to please the narcissist and fails, the stronger become the feelings of low self-esteem in the victim. She then believes she is to blame for the problems and that the narcissist has every right to be disappointed or angry with her performance. The result is that the victim is held captive in one of many boxxes not truly belonging to her, wondering how she got there. As her self-esteem continues to erode, she
develops a stronger belief that her narcissistic partner is right and that she is incapable of living without his direction and supreme intellect. He is, indeed, the "Master of her Universe."
How could she possibly function without him? He may look like Mr. Right to the outside world, but in reality, he could be Mr. Very Wrong for her emotional health.
Remember - you can choose to stay in your boxxes or choose to leave them. No one can hold you there for life if you don't give them your permission to do so!
To learn more about narcissism, go to www.smvak.tripod.com. The information you will glean will leave you dumbfounded and extremely educated about this destructive personality, but may also give you hope for recognizing the fact that this boxx is definitely NOT yours! See also, GET OUT OF YOUR BOXX! for a chapter on narcissism and several personal stories of others who have lived their lives in this confining and painful emotional prison.
Mary Jo Fay is a speaker and the author of the book called GET OUT OF YOUR BOXX! And can be reached at 303-841-7691 or ww.outoftheboxx.com.
Financial Strategies for Singles by Lynn Hendricks, Financial Planner/Tax Advisor
Over the past 21 years in practice as a Financial/Tax Planner, I have learned that it is the little stuff, when clumped together, that really ruins the financial plans of most folks. It is especially important for singles to get and keep a handle on their finances, since you do not have as many safety nets as your married or committed cohorts.
It often seems the same problems rear their ugly heads over and over again. So here are some commonly missed or misunderstood opportunities to get and stay financially healthy:
You will never be financially healthy if you carry credit card debt. Pay your credit card bill(s) off every month. Your new mantra: Never put on a card what you couldn't pay for with cash.
If you get into credit card problems, call the card company BEFORE making a late payment or going over your credit limit. Ask them what they can do to help you make the payments.
Everyone, but especially singles, need at least 3 to 6 months of take home pay saved in an emergency fund account. (Money Market Savings earn the best interest.)
Shop around for the best rates and products at your bank. Every fee is negotiable or even removable, and ultimately your bank does not want to lose you as a customer.
Look closely at all your statements and bills. You may be surprised how many extras you are paying for that you don't need or use, or unwarranted fees you are paying.
Phone bills should be of particular concern. There are still a lot of "slammers" out there. You may be paying for an international phone line without realizing it! "Line-backer" fees are almost always a waste, especially if you live in an apartment, condo, or townhome. This fee covers the unlikely event that some phone line repair will nee to be done inside your home. Re-evaluate phone extras. Do you really need Caller ID, Call Forwarding, *69, or Three-Way Calling on your home phone
when you are at work most of the day? Do you use them enough to justify the cost?
Buy bank checks through printing companies, such as Currents or Artistic Checks, online. You will save about half the cost compared to what your bank charges.
Invest regularly in mutual funds in addition to your retirement plan at work. You never know when the rules will change and your employer will gain access to retirement funds in 401k or 403b plans.