By Jane Zarse
Research has shown that, in general, men are happier than women and also have higher self-esteem.
Men feel better about their career prospects, their bodies, their appearance and how other people see them.
But ignore any statistics. Women with a gloomy outlook or low self esteem don’t have to stay that way, says Jane Zarse, author of “Love and Compassion is My Religion: A Beginner’s Book into Spirituality” (www.loveandcompassionismyreligion.com).
Although, she adds, on occasion it can take the most difficult of times – an addiction, the loss of a job, a family breakup – to serve as the impetus for developing a better outlook.
“Sometimes we have to fall down to reprioritize what’s important,” Zarse says.
She knows from experience.
Although she grew up in a world of privilege, Zarse hasn’t lived a life that’s always gone as planned and her early adult years were marred by alcoholism. She was drunk on her wedding day, endured two divorces and sneaked out of the maternity ward to go drinking the night after her daughter was born.
“At times I felt sick, broken, powerless, hopeless, and helpless,” Zarse says. “I didn‘t love myself and, because of my distorted ego, didn‘t even know it.”
For Zarse, it was religious faith that eventually helped her begin to believe in herself. She says everyone whose life has gotten off track and who has lost faith in themselves can find a way to turn things around.
“We can all start over,” Zarse says. “It’s possible for every one of us to live a higher life – one with self-love, self-esteem, self-respect, dignity, integrity and compassion.”
She suggests four ways women can empower themselves, improving their self-esteem and outlook on life in the bargain:
· Don’t let anybody steal your crown. It’s easy to let what others say about you color your view of yourself. Zarse warns that your happiness shouldn’t be dependent on what others think. “Your worth does not decrease because somebody else can’t see it,” she says. “Your worth resides in your internal power and nobody can take it away from you without your permission.”
· Stay at peace. Every hour spent angry or worrying is a wasted hour. Stop allowing yourself to be upset. “Being mad at someone doesn’t make them change and it’s a complete waste of your valuable time,” Zarse says. Worrying is also unnecessary and futile.
· Count your blessings. No matter how bad things may seem, everyone has something to be grateful for. Be grateful for who you are and what you have. Also, don’t compare yourself to others, Zarse says. Comparison will frustrate you and adds no value to your life. You are on your own unique journey, so be grateful for it and enjoy the ride.
· Forget about yourself and start thinking of others. This is a definitive way to snap out of debilitating self-pity. The more you do for others the happier you will be. Make a decision to be helpful and this will drastically change the way you feel about yourself and life in general.
“Negativity will cripple us if we let it,” Zarse says. “We all need to trade grumbling for gratitude and complaining for thankfulness. To me, everybody has something to be happy about.”
About Jane Zarse
Jane Zarse grew up in the private school world of privilege and excess as she spiraled into alcoholism before joining Alcoholics Anonymous and finding her way back. In “Love and Compassion Is My Religion” (www.loveandcompassionismyreligion.com), she writes about learning to love herself again and how finding spirituality helped her do so.