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Why do I have so much self-esteem? I work at it.

Self esteem. Pass it on.

Clearly, I would not be friends with people who are not awesome, so I am mystified by one friend's low self-esteem. I told her that, if I could, I would gladly give her some of my self-esteem because sometimes I feel like I have too much. We were chatting online with a few of our other girlfriends at the time, and one asked why is it that I have so much self-esteem when they have so little. I didn't always.

Why do I have so much self-esteem? Innate narcissism is the most likely answer. Thinking that I am better than most people I meet can't be hurting either.

Kidding! Mostly.

It's much easier on yourself if you are kind to yourself and think nice things about yourself. You can stop thinking negative thoughts about yourself. There's a psychological technique called thought-stopping that is rather simple to master. If you Google it, you'll see that it doesn't work for panic disorders or chronic worry, but it absolutely works for replacing negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Have a couple of positive phrases about yourself worked out in advance. Every time you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself, say, "STOP!" in your mind, then think the positive thought. It is that easy.

I am not the prettiest, or the slimmest, or the smartest, or the funniest, or the anything-est, but I am great. I like who I am. I like most things about myself, and I am actively trying to change the things I don't like. That is the best that I can do, so there is no need for me to be the one to berate myself for anything. I am a pathological overachiever. This makes me come down very hard on myself, but it is almost always about how much I can achieve, not who I am.

Rejection is difficult for anyone, myself included. It stings, but I shake it off with no damage to my self-esteem. When I am rejected (for a job or a potential client, by a man...), I chalk it up to fit. I don't take it personally, at least not for too long. I like who I am, and I can't be anything else other than that, so if I am rejected for something about who I am, it's fine. It means I was not a good fit, and that situation would not have ended well.

It does not mean I was not smart enough, talented enough, pretty enough, funny enough...

I am more than enough. I am awesome.


Unbreakable

What doesn't kill me makes me awesomeI don't think I'm invincible, but I do think I'm unbreakable. I believe, with every ounce of my being, that there is nothing in this world that can happen to me from which I won't recover, emotionally. Nothing.

I consider all possibilities. What is the worst thing that can happen? How would I deal with it? I have the answers to those questions and, whether or not I am right, having thought about it gives me the strength to get through it. It's not morbid to think about those things. I am realistic and I know that the worst thing to happen isn't the likely thing to happen, but I want to be prepared. Loss of limb? Death of my spouse or my child or my sister? Loss of sight or hearing? Chronic or terminal disease? Loss of all of my worldly possessions? I've considered them all. I will be distraught if (when) one of those things comes to pass, but I will not be destroyed. One day, many days ahead, I will emerge on the other side.

Last year was the worst year of my life. At the low point of the worst year of my life, my mom was killed in a car accident. It was already bad before that, and it was worse after. 2010 was my nemesis, kicking me when I was down, throwing salt in my wounds, kneeling on my chest every time I tried to stand up. I don't believe that time heals all, but I know that every situation is temporary. My mom is never coming back -- that is permanent -- but every day since she died is a day that I lived, a day that has passed, a day that will never come again. Everything changes, and if I can continue to think, and act, and breathe, and be myself, then I can survive any situation. I may be changed, but I will also be whole, unbroken.

This life is the only one I get and I will never give up on myself.


My Super Easy Tamale Casserole Recipe

This is so easy and delicious that I can't believe I thought of it on my own.

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained*

1 can of corn, drained**

1 can Ro-Tel Original Chile Tomatoes, with juice

Shredded cheddar cheese***

1 tiny can of mild green chiles, drained****

1 package corn bread mix*****

Mix the ground beef, corn, cheese, and Ro-Tel in a 9x9 square casserole dish, or a slightly bigger oval dish. Prepare the corn bread mix according to directions. Add the green chiles and cheese to the batter, mix. Pour the batter on top of the other ingredients, completely covering them. If I use a 9x9 pan, I usually have some batter left over. If I use a larger pan, I use all of the batter. Add a little more cheese on top. Bake according to the corn bread directions. Make sure the corn bread is very golden brown on top, or it will be too gooey on the bottom.

*I've used fake ground beef soy crumbles and it was still good. It's probably good with ground turkey, too.

**I've used frozen corn as well. Still good.

***Use as much or as little cheese as you want. Or none.

****The green chiles are totally optional. I only recently started doing this. Delicious.

*****I use Marie Callendar's corn bread mix. It tastes the best and only requires water.


My Perfectly Easy Stovetop Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe

When I was living in Alaska after college, two things motivated me to make tuna noodle casserole: homesickness and hunger. I had no idea how to make tuna noodle casserole and I didn't have internet access. Plus, it was 1997, so it wasn't like there a million recipe web sites around. I knew the major components were tuna, egg noodles, and peas, so I started with those ingredients. I ended up making a stovetop version that requires no oven cooking and no culinary skills.

Stovetop Tuna Noodle Casserole

1 can of peas

1 small can of tuna

Half a bag of No Yolks wide egg noodles**

I can of Campbell's Condensed Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom soup***

1 tablespoon of mayonnaise****

Paula Deen's House Seasoning to taste*****

I use two pans to make this recipe because it is faster that way. I boil the noodles in one pan and combine all of the other ingredients in the other pan. Heat those ingredients while the noodles are boiling. When the noodles are done, drain them, then add them to the other ingredients. Stir and serve.

You can make this in one pan, too, if you want to save dishes, or if you are a new college grad and only have one good pan. Boil the noodles first and drain them. While the noodles are in a collander in the sink, heat all of the other ingredients in the pan, then add the noodles back in.

Easy, right?

**Half of the normal size bag, not the jumbo size bag. This recipe works best with No Yolks noodles, which are thin and light. I find regular egg noodles to be too thick.

***Full fat cream of mushroom soup is too thick and creamy and doesn't have as much flavor as the Healthy Request version.

****The mayo is optional, but it is only one tablespoon and it really makes a difference, so leave it in.

*****Before I started using the Paula Deen's House Seasoning, which has salt, pepper, garlic, and onion, I just used salt, pepper, and garlic powder.