The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

—Charles Sykes, Dumbing Down Our Kids


I say again: clear the crap out of the way. Part of the crap is feeling bad about yourself. I get caught in this trap often even now. It’s plain silly. When you feel bad about yourself you do things like take a friend’s flakage personally, or read in between the lines in your editor’s emails, or convince yourself that you are a terrible novelist and shouldn’t be allowed to run amok on the printed page.

I find it hard to write good books when I think I can’t.

I don’t think that many of the techniques that folks are using to bolster self-esteem in kids, or adults for that matter, work all that well. I think Charles Sykes says it best. How I deal with my low self-esteem moments nowadays is by taking a reality check. I look at the cool things I’ve done, ideally that day. If I did something lame I own it, as soon as I can, which honestly isn’t right away sometimes.

List of cool things from the last twenty-four hours or so:

  1. I made my baby laugh and had a good time getting her ready for daycare.
  2. I biked in 25 degree weather to get my kid to daycare, forty minutes each way, saving gas, getting fit, making plans for the day, having a blast, and listening to my kid hum while she snuggled in her lambskin in the bike cart.
  3. I lent my car to some friends who needed to get to band practice.
  4. I am working on a set design for a piece of political protest art that our team will hopefully unveil later in the month.
  5. On our trip home yesterday, I met someone at a turning point in his life, listened carefully, and encouraged him to take the leap he’s considering. I also recommended a site about financial freedom that should help.
  6. I am writing this next post, right now.

See? Everyday things which made my life and the life of others better.

Embrace your awesomeness. It will help you be happier, have more fun, put up with less poop, and make better art.