Can We Talk About Self Esteem?

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  • By Susan "The Wife" Bartley
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Can We Talk About Self Esteem?

I am going to be frank with you.  I haven’t done a blog in a few weeks because honestly, I am not sure I have anything to talk about that would be useful.  I have started to write several times only to erase everything because it just looked like a bunch of boring drivel.  The series I did on the Thyroid really got my brain going and I felt like what I was writing could help people, and hopefully it did.  But currently I am not learning or doing anything new that would be of interest, my training is mediocre at best and I am generally not motivated to do anything fantastic.  I have been waiting for an idea to strike that I am passionate about so that I could pass that passion on.


***And now we hear the sound of crickets***


Yesterday, an idea started to evolve so here goes…


First, the story


Last weekend I pulled everything down from my attic.  EVERYTHING.  The entire attic is clean.  We are going to have new insulation installed and I had to get ready for that.  Plus, we have lived in our house since 2003 and I have just been putting things up there without any rhyme or reason.  The chaos in the attic was driving me crazy.  So, I brought it all down and now it is in my living room. (Our house is only 1,100 square feet so the living room isn’t that big.)  Yesterday, for my personal celebration of July 4th, I started going through plastic bins and weeding out the stuff I really needed to save and what I could throw away.  Four of those plastic bins contained all of my childhood memories…my baby album (that had very little in it), to photos from elementary school, letters from friends (a ton of letters) and so much more that it took hours to sort through it all.  That was the time that inspiration hit.


My Struggle


If I had to tell you the one thing I think I struggled with my whole life it would be self esteem and weight issues.  If you asked me what I was like as a kid I would tell you “chubby, shy, naïve and a late bloomer”.  That is what I would say.  What I would imply is “a shy fat kid with no friends who never really fit in”.  That is exactly how I felt.  But the weird thing is…I had tons of friends.  In one bin was a big bag of nothing but notes from friends that we passed around during school.  In another tote was bags and bags of letters from my church friends (who lived all over the state of South Carolina) and my camp friends.  We didn’t have email back then so if you wanted to get in touch with someone you wrote them an honest to god letter.  I started opening some of the letters to read them and here is the one thing I noticed.  In EVERY letter my friend (which ever one it was) says “I love you”.  Every one!  I was overwhelmed.  If I was the “fat, shy, out of touch blah, blah, blah” kid then why would all my friends say “I love you” in my letters. Right?  I guess, all of those people who I adored must have thought I was pretty okay too, or they just wouldn’t have bothered writing me.


This Is Not What You Think


So, this I not me tooting my own horn.  Hooray, I had friends. Go me! That isn’t going to be my next series, because really WHO CARES!  I do want to write about self esteem, self worth, self image, self perception all of those things.  My perception of myself as a teenager has always been “fat, shy, out of touch” but maybe, just maybe I am way off base.  Maybe that is what I saw in myself, but not at all what my friends saw in me. There is SO much out there now to help women and girls and I want to talk about those things.  I also want to talk about what its like confronting these issues when you are a guy…especially a big macho, testosteroni guy who lives in the gym.  I see this every day, guys who just have shit self-esteem.  Most of them use the gym to hide those issues, but remain stuck in the swirling vortex of “I am not good enough”.


I Am Not A Professional


I have absolutely no counseling experience.  I have never been to school for it. I do not have any cool initials after my name.  I have been a personal trainer for 18 years and that gives a certain insight into people.  When you see someone for an hour 3 or 4 times a week you have to find something to talk about beyond the normal niceties, and usually you get into some pretty heavy stuff. Similarly, owning he gym you see the same people day after day and over time you learn some of the intimate details of their lives.  Being open to learning these kind of truths also allows you to see patterns of behavior and lets you associate those patterns back to the persons history.  Self-worth is something that a lot of people struggle with and it impacts their daily life and well being.  So I am going to talk about it and we will all see what comes out.


To start, my next blog will feature and article I wrote about self-esteem almost 15 years ago.  It is a naïve approach, but does has its insights and I think it will be a good jumping off point for my series.


  1. “Neal” “Neal”

    Should be a good series. It’s not like people at the gym have any esteem issues...

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