Filling the Self-esteem bucket

Credit to Alvin Price

Credit to Alvin Price

Someone shared this onto my Facebook page the other day.  I thought – that is so true.  Then someone commented that such a thing is easier said than done because of other parents who raise their children to be mean (she actually used a stronger word here!)  and it got me thinking how right she is.  When you have a child who extremely introverted and socially awkward, it leaves them open to abuse by such children.  They become the bearers of others’ anger and hate and hurt.  And it’s because they don’t fight back.  So, how do you fill up the bucket of self-esteem for a child whose bucket is, well, probably a lot bigger than it should be?  As someone who has had a fair amount of experience with this,I already have some thoughts on it so I came up with two lists.  The first is a list on things we should do to help that bucket become full to overflowing.  the second is a list of what we shouldn’t do but that we too often will do – and these are things that will actually poke holes into that bucket.  As parents, we never want to believe that we can drain our own child’s self-esteem but we can, and we do.  So, here goes:

How to fill the bucket of self-esteem:

  • Starting with the basics, tell them you love them – EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
  • Tell them they’re beautiful mo matter what
  • Praise them, loud and often – in schoolwork, homework, tests, for something they wrote or drew, when doing after school activities or sports, when playing (on their own or with friends), if they tried their best in anything.  Whatever it is, even if it seems trivial or insignificant, if you praise them for it, the level in the bucket will rise.
  • Allow them to make choices.  Even if it’s for something small, let them decide.  Then, when it comes to bigger things like friends and choosing to do the right thing over the wrong thing, they will be more prepared for it.
  • Linked to the above is guiding them in what is right and wrong but let them make mistakes so they can learn to fix them.  Now, I’m not saying to act as an irresponsible parent and allow your child to be hurt or do something dangerous – obviously as an adult you know there are limits.
  • And once again, linked to the above, is setting boundaries.  Children actually love boundaries because then it is easier for them to follow the right path.  But don’t make those boundaries too tight or you will stifle them
  • Encourage them to do new things and take on new challenges.  My daughter hates trying anything new.  Because she always envisages the worst possible outcome.  So if you encourage them in small doses, they will eventually open up to new ideas.  My daughter loves water and swimming.  So I encouraged her to join a swim club but she was adamant she wouldn’t do it.  So I encouraged her in small doses – by showing her swimming shows on tv and showing her swimming heroes doing their thing; by praising her every time she swims; by reminding her how much she loves the water.  She is now more open to the idea.  But it will still be her decision.
  • Being positive by smiling and using positive words and phrases – and not allowing them to dwell on negative thoughts and words but turn the negativity into something positive.  I found that a positivity box – which contains positive phrases and phrases of encouragement – is very useful in counteracting negative thoughts.
  • Don’t allow other adults, whether it’s other children’s’ parents or staff at the school, to put your child down.  If you get wind of anything like this, stamp it out immediately.  Children always look up to adults and an adult who says negative things about a child will very quickly, and sometimes irreversibly, damage that child’s self-esteem.  Even if that adult is a friend or relative – remember that your child comes first, before your connections and ties.
  • Take them out to different places as often as you can.  The more they’re out and about, the more their confidence will grow.
  • Teach them that it’s okay to have an opinion that is different from their friends.  And that it’s okay to stand up to their friends when they feel unhappy or uncomfortable about something.  This is something we’re working very hard on at the moment.  It’s best to help them gain this kind of self-confidence when they’re young or they could wind up being bullied or manipulated by those same friends or even other friends(or so-called friends) as they get older.
  • Show them that it’s a good thing to be friends with or even just friendly to a lot of different people.  The more positive people that your child has around them, the more their self-esteem will grow.
  • Tell them to always look up.  My daughter has a tendency to look at her feet.  Every time I see her do it, I tell her to look up.  And I have said to her that when you look up, you see the world and it’s people.  When you look down, you only see your feet. Simply looking up can greatly improve a person’s self-confidence.
  • Encourage them to talk to you about anything and everything.  make them feel safe with you.  Be their confidant.

Now for the things to avoid doing:

  • Avoid being negative about yourself.  If your child sees you being self-deprecating, they will follow suite.
  • Don’t badmouth other children or their parents in front of your child.  I will admit I have done this before when a parent made me so angry with the way she treated my child.  But it didn’t make my daughter feel better.  In fact, it had the opposite effect as she thought there must be something wrong with her if mum had to defend her.
  • Don’t shout for no reason.  This is sometimes hard when we’re angry.  But if you’re angry at yourself or someone else, you cannot take that out on your child.
  • Don’t make their decisions for them – especially ones regarding their socialisation.  It is hard enough for your child to fit in without having their parent’s interfering.  And I know a few parents who are just like this.  Those are the ones who turn their children into nasty children and sometimes bullies.
  • Don’t ever criticize something they have tried hard to achieve – even if they failed miserably at achieving it.  Criticising them with not build character, it will only lead them to criticise themselves and everything they do.
  • Don’t ever call them names.  This one is rather obvious but name calling can extend to things like saying that they’re being stupid.  Say that often enough and they will start to believe it.
  • Don’t trivialise something that’s bothering them.  I think as adults we often do this without realising it.  They may mention something that happened at school and the adult responds with “Oh don’t worry about it” or “I’m sure it was nothing”.  It may be nothing to you but if it’s bothering them, it’s not nothing to them.  And you will break their confidence by making them feel that they’re not important, that their concerns are not important and they may start to think that there is a problem with them if they are worrying about something that is ‘unimportant’.

Well, those are my lists.  What do you think?  Can you think of anything to add?  Let me know in the comments below.

Copyright © 060315 by Karen Payze

When stories come to life

This is a quick post to let everyone know I have posted a short story on my other blog (1000 words) called Into the tale  which you can view by clicking the link.


Have you ever read a book where the characters jump out of the page and your world is transformed as you travel through each scene?


Copyright © 030315 by Karen Payze


Copyright © 030315 by Karen Payze

The great glasses test

So, I got new glasses (or specs or whatever it is you want to call them) about a week ago.  Glasses? Yes, surprisingly I do actually wear glasses.  Have done for most of my life.  The reason some of you may not know that is because I hardly ever wear them in photo’s.

Here they are:

Copyright © 010315 by Karen Payze

Why am I staring into the sky???   Copyright © 010315 by Karen Payze

Awesome, right ;)

You’re probably wondering why I wrote this post.  No, it wasn’t to show off my fabulous new glasses.  Actually it’s one of those rant type posts but not to worry I promise I won’t launch into a tirade of obscenities, &#%!@?! and I promise I WON’T USE CAP LOCKS EITHER!!  My rant is about how easy it is to get suckered into buying things you either don’t want or don’t need.

The last time I was at an optometrist to buy new glasses was a whole whopping year and a bit ago.

Here they are (yes I sneakily kept them for emergencies – as you do when you’re a glasses hoarderCopyright © 010315)

Copyright © 020315 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 020315 by Karen Payze

So why did I have to replace them?  Two very good reasons.  The first being that the above glasses have got nose pads.  For me, they are without a doubt the most uncomfortable eye wear accessory to have ever been created.  And they leave lovely red dents in the bridge of my nose.  So my new glasses have plastic molded ones.  Much more comfortable.

But that wasn’t the real problem with them.  The real problem lay in the protective coatings that they had.  When I went to get these glasses, I opted for one of those big chain type optometrists (no names mentioned) whose eye tests and frames are cheaper – because I am a cheap skate.  They had a very good young salesman who convinced me that I need a protective hardening coating for the lenses as they are plastic lenses and could scratch easily.  And so, he had my full attention, he went in for the kill.  Needless to say that by the end of that I had lenses that were hardened, scratch resistant, anti glare, anti static and thinned, all fitting beautifully into my half frames with the annoying nose pads.

Well, as these things sometimes go, within a few months my glasses were showing their first signs of wear and tear.  A few scratches here and there.  Those became progressively worse as months went by until, eventually, i was unable to see out of the right lens.  When I finally decided to get my eyes checked – at a different, proper optometrist – the right eye had deteriorated (thankfully, only slightly though), probably as a result of straining to see through the lens.  Funnily enough, my left eye has improved slightly.

So this time, I got the non-hardened, non- scratch resistant, non-anti glare, non-anti static non thinned lenses with solid non-annoying nose pad frames :)  We’ll see how it goes.  I’ll report back in a years’ time (if I remember).


And, of course the lesson here is, don’t get suckered into buying shit you don’t need because the mild-mannered person facing you says you need it…LESSON LEARNED!


Copyright © 020315 by Karen Payze


PS:  Look out for my next blog – I’m doing a drawing, now that I can see again :P and I may even do a short story to go with it!



New discoveries, new ideas, new outlook, new writing

So, it’s been almost eight months since the last time I really engaged in the world of blogging.  I managed to not write a single blog post in those months.  Sad, right.  So, what have I been doing?  Well…quite  bit of procrastinating…a fair amount of getting myself together…making a few new discoveries (new for me anyway)…and, most importantly getting back to writing (as weird as that may sound).  Now you will have to be prepared.  As this is the first blog in ages, it’s going to be really, really, really, long!

I’ll start with the new discoveries bit – because that was what I was doing whilst simultaneously procrastinating instead of writing :) .  The first discovery I made was that of Japanese anime (Yes you can laugh if you want) but there are so many fantastic shows and a lot of those shows have spawned from Japanese manga.  Now I won’t lie to you, I cannot read a word of Japanese and have never read one of those manga before but if the shows are anything to go by the manga must be good too. (Well, that’s what I want to believe anyway.)  Those stories, written by some talented authors and then brought to life by some amazing artists…well what else is there to say.  Of course, not all anime comes from manga.  Some are derived from games or otome games (which are story-based video games) or from graphic novels or visual novels and there are many anime series and movies that are simply, well, anime!

Continue reading


I thought it’s been so long since I posted anything that people are going to start wondering what happened to me.  Truth is so much is happening right now that I simply don’t have the energy or enthusiasm to post anything of real significance right now.  And I hate posting things just for the sake of posting.


This is how I have been feeling lately:




Nevermind.  I’ll be back on top of things before you can say



And yes, I have got the love to see me through :) Happy monday everyone!

Copyright © 230614 by Karen Payze


1000 words update

Copyright © 040514 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 040514 by Karen Payze


A quick post to remind everyone that I have another blog now called 1000 words.  I post short stories, poetry and the like.

My posts so far are as follows:


  1. Me and my writing journey

  2. Black cat crossing – Short Story: Fiction

  3. Lost Love Returned


  5. Nightmare

  6. Beyond Our Land

  7. Do You Hear Me?

  8. Muggs and Beany

  9. Poetry Challenge – Loop Poetry

  10. VIPER

  11. Ruby’s Red Riding Boots

  12. The Illusion

  13. Writing worksheets

  14. Wishes

  15. Fortunate me

  16. Angelica

  17. Slow Down Little One

  18. Gotcha!

  19. I see you

  20. Uniformity


Sound interesting?  then what are you waiting for?  Head over to 1000 words and check them out!


Please note all my work (both writing and drawings) is copyrighted.  If you wish to use it, send me an email or comment in the comments.  thanks.


Copyright © 040514 by Karen Payze


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The cost of approval

I read a rather sad article today about a woman who died after attempting self surgery.  She injected Vaseline into her breasts to enlarge them.  As women we are under enormous pressure to look ‘right’.  Pressure is loaded onto us every day from magazines and TV ads that portray these so-called perfect women.  I read the comments under the article (as I always must!) and many of the comments referred to the pressure to feel wanted by men, with many men commenting that us women should stop feeling that pressure because they want natural women, etc etc.

Then I read one comment, which I think is the one I was actually hoping to find as it follows my point of view, which is that it is not really men who put pressure on us women.  No, it isn’t.  How many women will ask a man what he thinks of how she is dressed, how her hair is done, what her makeup looks like, etc, and then totally ignore whatever he said?  Or get angry and then totally ignore whatever he said!  The reason is because most men actually don’t have a clue when it comes to us and most of us know that (Okay, I am generalising a bit for the sake of MY argument.  I know there are women who constantly seek the approval of  men!).

So if most women don’t really seek a man’s approval, then why are we getting all flustered about external ‘beauty’?  Because of other women.  Women can be extraordinarily judgmental.  They judge each others clothing: not the latest fashion, not branded, too revealing, too closed, too tight, too loose, too frumpy, too young or too old.  They judge each other on hair: too thin, too wild, too short, too plain, wrong colour, unwashed, left to dry on its own (yes I actually overheard someone say that about a woman with wet hair who walked past her one morning).  They judge each other on makeup: too much, not enough, skin too yellow or too orange, so fake, makes her look old.

And where a man would make a throw away comment like ‘She looks fat in that’ or ‘god, could that skirt get any shorter?’, they are generalised (still hurtful if the person heard)comments but a woman would analyse every bit of another woman she noticed.  ‘Her legs are bumpy, gross’  or ‘shame, she is quite flat-chested, maybe her friend with the boobs falling out her top can help’ (yes, I have heard both those things being said).

What we women really need to be doing is standing up for each other instead of running each other down.  Maybe if we stopped being so judgmental about each other, the magazines and TV ads would stop Photoshopping the hell out of their models (Here is a short video about magazine retouching (thanks to HLN TV)).  And maybe we would actually start to grow in confidence and really become the fairer sex.

I know men do it to men too, with bigger muscles, more hair, larger other things.  Maybe a man can do a post about that one ;)

accept quote

Copyright © 260314 by Karen Payze

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A Universal truth

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.”
Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary

Copyright © 180314 by Karen Payze

My well-worn copy of Bridget Jones’s Diary
Copyright © 180314 by Karen Payze

I love Bridget Jones’s Diary.  So much of what she says and does, resonates with me as I am certain it does with you too.  One thing I really love about Bridget Jones is that, for all her faults, she is ALWAYS herself.

I also have a universal truth:

If you try to change who you are to suit what others think you should be, you will lose your inner happiness.

I think it must be hard when, really, you are a wonderful person but because you always want to please everyone, you find yourself constantly trying to change who you are to suit them.  And that can make you sad inside and angry on the outside. When you are who you are, you could probably be the happiest person alive!

Sound familiar?  I’ll bet you are either sitting there thinking, ‘That’s me!’ or ‘Hey, I know someone like that!’

So today’s lesson:  be who you are and anyone who doesn’t like it, well, they know what they can do…

And if you aren’t that type of person but know someone who is, especially if the person is still young, perhaps try to help them realise that it’s actually okay for them to be who they really are.  They may even thank you one day :)

Copyright © 180314 by Karen Payze

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Face drawing

Another quick drawing one.  I had to give the drawing a break for a while as I have a tendency to hold my pencil too tight anyway and with the graphics tablet pen, I hold on even tighter, resulting in one injured finger.  But I am back to doing it and have done another face sketch.  I am far happier with the nose on this one.  And actually all the features appear to be quite in the right place!

Here it is:

girl face1 Just got to work on the hair a bit more now :)

Copyright © 110314 by Karen Payze

Latest drawing


Copyright © 190214 by Karen Payze

This is my latest graphics tablet drawing.  Not brilliant but an improvement I think :) The eyes aren’t quite straight and I’m not thrilled with the mouth but the face shape seemed to come out rather well.  The shading was a bit much perhaps but the end result did give me an idea for a short story. 

You can read that on my other blog, 1000 words. The story is called Fortunate me.

Copyright © 190214 by Karen Payze


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