Monthly Archives: March 2011

Self-esteem

Self-esteem is the extent of what value you hold in yourself. It isn’t bragging about how great you are, but knowing that you are worth a lot, that you are accepted and loved. It is not something that is given to you, that is where the self part comes in. You need to believe in yourself. It is knowing that you are not perfect and being honest with yourself that even if you don’t do one thing well, you can do many other things well.

Others can encourage you, cheer you on, and push you to excel but self-esteem isn’t whether others accept you or not, as the case may be, but that you accept yourself. If you are bombarded with negative comments, belief in yourself can insulate you from the barbs. Think about all the things that you do well. Are there things you want to improve upon? Are there things you want to learn? It is up to you.

Unrealistic expectations and relying on others for acceptance can exasperate self-esteem by causing you to be much too hard on yourself. Goals should be broken up into steps so that one accomplishes a step at a time. This builds self-confidence, an ingredient of self-esteem.

Many of us feel like a coin stuck in the mud. We don’t feel valued. Like that coin, we have intrinsic value and it is up to us to shine. Others can dig through the mud, apply some polish and make you sparkle, but that is merely uncovering the value that is already there.

The point of this article is that self-esteem comes from within and is not given to us by others. You can be esteemed, and you can esteem yourself. So many people look for acceptance from others without truly accepting themselves. I know that there is a hidden gem within you and its brilliance will be a light upon the world. Let your light shine.

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Fukushima 50

In most tragedies, there arises those tremendous souls whose bravery, unselfishness and sheer determination allow them to rise from the ashes like a phoenix. During this latest tragedy in Japan which suffered one of the world’s worse earthquakes and its subsequent tsunami, there are 180 men called the Fukushima 50. They are called that because they work in shifts of 50 each. They have either been asked by Tepco, the energy company that operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, or have volunteered. They are technicians and older men who have either already retired or about to retire. They were not chosen because they are expendable or because they have more knowledge and skilled, but their age will protect them from the long term effects of radiation. It could take 20 to 30 years for radiation related cancer to set in and many will probably die from old age before then, a lesson learned from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

From the articles and news feeds I have read, five of these brave men have died, two are missing, and 21 have been injured.  Japanese Prime Minister told the volunteers that they were the only ones who could resolve the crisis and that retreat was unthinkable. The Japanese media have heard from some of the families of these incredible men. One daughter tweeted that she was very proud of her father. Another tweeted “Please, dad come back alive.”

These men are heroes. They are facing high levels of radiation to cool down reactors and stabilize the plant to protect their families, their countrymen and possibly all the citizens of the planet. And let’s not forget the other heroes that roam the debris, looking for survivors, wrap blankets around the homeless and providing other needs. Even in the midst of tragedy, we can see the hope, the strength, the incredible beauty of the human spirit. We can see the grace of God. No matter how much we may feel we have evolved, or how sophisticated we might become, we are humbled by the incredible forces of nature.  My prayers and admiration go out to those brave men of the Fukushima 50. I pray for them to be strengthened by their courage and love for their families.

Fear of the Dentist

I am about to admit something that my closest friends already know. I am afraid of the dentist, no, I mean really afraid of the dentist. Actually, it is not the dentist, but dentistry. Dentists are professional medical practitioners whose passion is to provide care for teeth and gums. They worked hard to learn their profession and deserve respect. I do respect my dentist, but am fearful of the procedures.

About two years ago, I was fired by my family dentist. I anticipate the pain so much that I begin to react before the poor dentist is even near my mouth. After avoiding the dentist for many years, make that many, many years, the dentist’s nurse was doing a cleaning on me. I was freaking out so much that the dentist stopped her and basically “fired” me as a patient. He wasn’t being mean, he merely suggested that my reactions were intense and that I should seek out a dentist that practices sedation dentistry.

A short time later, I saw a new billboard on the highway which advertised Fingerlakes Dental specializing in sedation dentistry. So I called for an appointment. I am so glad I did. After doing some brief research on the internet, I learned that 15% to 30% of individuals have some type of fear or anxiety about dental procedures. Some, so severe, that even the thought of a dental visit or procedure will cause them to become ill. I am not that way, I am merely very fearful. I’ve been there, done that, it hurts, I’m scared! I also read those dentists are the most feared of all doctors.

The dentists and staff at Fingerlakes Dental understand how real these fears are to those that have anxiety. I had a lot of work done in a five and half hour session under sedation. I took a sedative the night before and then a stronger one an hour before my appointment. Even though I was conscious throughout the session, I remember no more than a few minutes of the whole process. The staff was wonderful. Even though my mouth was sore afterwards, I did not experience the fear and anxiety that I would have if I was not sedated and that, I am most thankful for.

I have even been attending my cleanings. The hygienist slathers my gums with topical anesthetic and lets it sit until it really kicks in. Then gives me the regular anesthetic with the needle (which I barely feel at all) and I inhale nitrous the entire time. Through the session, I listen to relaxing music and do a lot of praying to keep my mind off the session. I also keep my eyes closed the entire time. Does that sound excessive? Maybe, but it sure works for me. I am glad that this office understands how fearful I am and is willing to go to these lengths to make me comfortable. They are kind, considerate and patient.

If you are fearful of dental procedures, then I gladly suggest that you seek out sedative dentistry. Ailing teeth can not only affect your appearance but your overall health and your enjoyment of life. Originally, I had pain and discomfort chewing my food, it is much better now that I have had work done. I am very thankful for the work and services that Fingerlakes Dental provided to me.

Economic Gloom and Doom

Is the American economy in self-destruct mode? I don’t think so. Although I do think that the economy is recovering much slower than anyone would like. The Amercian public has proven themselves resilient. We rebuilt our country and our economy from the depths of the Great Depression. It won’t be easy. It isn’t easy. There is still a lot of pain left in the recovery and a lot of opportunity as well.  ADP reported that 217,000 jobs were created in February. Compared to the number of unemployed, this seems like a small number but at least we are moving in the right direction.

Will the dollar cease to be the world standard? It’s possible. One way to stimulate the economy is to just print more money, but this dilutes the value of the money that is already circulating. A weak dollar makes our exports more affordable. It can also promote tourism since foreign currency will buy more dollars. I think it is early to declare that dollar is no longer king of currencies, but definitely something that needs to be monitored. A currency’s strength is generally seen as an indicator of the health of the country offering the currency.

Will the World end on December 21, 2012? I don’t think so. The Bible says that no man shall know the time of the end. Could there be some cosmic alignment and gravitational changes? I don’t know. One very positive thing is that more and more people are looking for spiritual answers and examining what is important in their lives.

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I do know that I do not want to forego the blessings of today because I fear tomorrow. It does remind me to appreciate what I have now and the relationships I enjoy now.

There is a lot of gloom and doom talk in the media now. But think about what you believe. Why is it more difficult to believe that which is good and positive, and so easy to believe that which is negative. We do not put total trust in our abilities, our talents, our achievements, our efforts, but yet so easily fall prey to discouragement. There is much to be thankful for and much to celebrate, even in the roughest of times.

I wish you the very best.