We got your self-esteem here

Let me tell you what I’d do if I liked money more than self-respect. I’d go to the local shoppers club and buy a hundred gross of small brown paper bags. Then I’d drive out-of-town to the nearest auction barn and pay them a fair price to let me go into the stalls and fill every bag with an even pound of cow crap.

Then I’d slap on some shiny pink labels with “Bag-O-Women’s-Self-Esteem,” printed on them in a distinctly womanish font, add a five, no, ten-dollar price sticker, and tie ’em closed with couple of nice frou frou ribbons. Next, I’d set up a kick back arrangement with Dr. Phil in exchange for an endorsement and take out an ad in Cosmo or Redbook.

Then I would head down to Belize and sit on the beach, throw back cocktails and check the bank account on my Droid 8 or 10 times a day. After about a week I’d buy the beach I was sitting on, and maybe that cute little senorita that was fetching my drinks. The word expatriate would start sounding pretty good.

And I’d be doing myself and you ladies a big favor. It would be perfect synergy. I like money, and you like buying bullshit.

You’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. Fake self-esteem, like 98% of everything else that is marketed just to females, has become the psycho-porn of the western woman, with profits that would put a twinkle in Bill Gates eyes. How much profit exactly is anyone’s guess.

What I do know is that the self-esteem racket comes in a lot of guises. I will deal with the two major ones here because that is all I have time for.

First, the plastic surgery route. With 8 year olds getting bikini waxes and high school juniors getting fitted for an instant C cup, it is a growing industry for the grrls. For the supposed grown ups it is a monster. Plastic surgeons know how much better you will feel about yourself if your tits draw some more stares and your lips look a little more blow job ready.

This is what they pass off as self-esteem, and they use it as an advertising come on in the same way beer companies use girls in bikinis. Since you are the consumer, it sells like cheap crack in a bad neighborhood. And so now you and your sisters are lined up like schoolgirls for tickets to see Pink, to get cut and stretched, injected and inflated, and to have your fat asses suctioned down to bubbles of perfection.

But, there is one ever so slight problem. Actually, it’s a big one.

You see, vanity isn’t self-esteem. Neither is narcissism. Not the real deal, anyway. If you think self-esteem and self obsession are the same thing, then go buy those plastic titties. They will match your character and personality just fine, and they might go a long way toward a career as a porn star or topless dancer if the scars don’t show too much. After all, it’s common knowledge that self esteem abounds for women who can squat down and pick up folded dollar bills off the floor with the crack of their ass while a room full of drunks howl at them.

Then you can attract more men and join the millions of other women that spend their time bitching about how those men won‘t look at them from the neck up. It’s a small price to pay for all that self-worth.

Tell you what -today only- two bags of cow crap for the price of one.

Now, if you are not on an elective surgery budget, you needn’t feel left out. There is a whole world of cheaper but equally fake assistance with your problem. It’s the Stuart Smalley route of the self-esteem simpleton. And it is for sale in the wacky world of mental health. The purveyors, usually women who don’t have any more self-esteem than you do, are scattered across the world-wide web, thicker than Henry Kissinger’s accent. For a mere hundred or so per hour, they will give you the stalwart advice to look in the mirror -each and every day- and say really affirming things like “I am unique. I am special. I am the only ‘me’ there is!” They will advise you to smile while saying it, but I dare you to simply keep a straight face.

They will tell you there are lots of reasons you don’t have self-esteem. The most common one being men that don’t see just how special you really are, or don’t tell you as much every 15 minutes. Those are the relationships where you lose your self-esteem. Yes, ladies, you can have it and then lose it, like there was a big hole in your pocket and it fell through and rolled under the sofa.

Actually, they will make it look a little more sinister. It’s like this: You get into a relationship and at first he is all roses and chocolates. After time though, he starts saying things that are not really bad, but just a little cutting, like “I’m going fishing with my friends,”

After some more time passes, it gets worse. When his fishing trips don’t stop simply because you tell him how important it is for him to give them up for you, what started as “I’m going fishing with my friends,” ends up being “Get off my back you insufferable fucking control freak.”

Self esteem into the drink, right then and there.

Seriously though, ladies, disinformation about your self-esteem aside, the self-help gurus aren’t any better at it than the cutters. And they miss the most important thing about self-esteem, just like you do.

The cold truth is that if you have self-esteem, nobody can take it from you. And if you can surrender it to someone, even an asshole that says he loves you, then you never had it to begin with.

That is partly because there is no such thing as self-esteem. It is just a made up word; a marketing tool to get to your purse, or through you, your man’s wallet. There is, however, self-respect. And self-respect, since it must be earned, is rarely sacrificed.

When you have it, respect from others is a given. But you can’t have respect from others or yourself if what you keep chasing is scripted adoration and unearned preeminence. And if you are the average woman in today’s world, you don’t have a damned clue as to the difference. It makes selling you bags of bullshit all the easier. In fact, as long as you insist on hanging on to the idea that your being special is a demand you can put on anyone else, or obtain by making an ass of yourself in a mirror, it makes selling you anything but bullshit impossible.

Unlike what any plastic surgeon or psychobabble spouting huckster will tell you, you have to get off your ass and earn the way people see and treat you, and the way you see and treat yourself.

You do this through the development of your character, not as a princess or little girl or the self designated center of someone else’s universe, but as a grown human being with more focus on your responsibilities than your entitlements. Ante up like a big girl and see how quickly the world, and men, treat you like one.

And if you are taking shit, stop it.

If you don’t stand up, and I mean immediately, to any mistreatment from any other human being, and put an end to it, then don’t whine about being a door mat. You volunteered for it the second you laid down.

But the real trick here is for you to understand that people, particularly men, failing to meet unrealistic expectations isn’t robbing you of anything. They aren’t respecting you by catering to your childishness, they are just giving in to it, and, in the mother of all ironies, disrespecting themselves.

Now you can take this advice, which is totally free, and start applying it today. You can start growing up this very minute. Before you know it other people, men included, will be looking at you in a way you have likely never seen before. With genuine admiration. I know, it’s a poor substitute for adulation, but in the real world it has to do.

Or, if you just can’t wrap your mind around the idea that the onus is on you to get the job done; that self-respect is a by-product of maturity and humility, I have another form of self-esteem, right here, by the bag full.

Operators are standing by.

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