Do you like yourself?

What is self-esteem and how important is it to our health?

Many early theories suggested that self-esteem is a basic human need or motivation. American psychologist Abraham Maslow included self-esteem in his hierarchy of human needs. He described two different forms of “esteem”: the need for respect from others in the form of recognition, success, and admiration, and the need for self-respect in the form of self-love, self-confidence, skill, or aptitude…

The underlying idea of the movement was that low self-esteem was the root of the problem for individuals, making it the root of societal problems and dysfunctions. A leading figure of the movement was psychologist, Nathaniel Branden who was quoted as saying, “[I] cannot think of a single psychological problem – from anxiety and depression, to fear of intimacy or of success, to spouse battery or child molestation – that is not traced back to the problem of low self-esteem”.

Shame can be a contributor to those with problems of low self-esteem…

The self-esteem movement operates on the basic principle that low self-esteem causes decreased motivation, decreased productivity and increased societal and social woes. Corresponding evidence suggests a link between low self-worth and an increased risk of violence, drug addiction and alcohol abuse. By bolstering self-esteem early in life, proponents of the self-esteem movement feel that the negative consequences of low self-worth can be avoided.

A healthy amount of self-esteem is necessary for a person’s continued success and happiness, but evidence suggests that too much artificial self-esteem can lead to depression and an overall decreased sense of self-worth. It is possible that self-esteem building exercises are necessary but only in moderation. Some feel that teaching self-esteem should come secondary to other techniques that bolster self-worth.

Not everybody believes that the self-esteem movement and methods are valid. An equal amount of research shows that high self-esteem can lead to the same pitfalls as low self-esteem. Teaching self-esteem at the exclusion of other traits can have a negative impact on a person’s ability to self-soothe and comfort himself or herself after a setback or trauma because outside validation is necessary. By taking the self-esteem bolstering efforts too far, it is possible for individuals to develop narcissism.

Those who argue against the self-esteem movement feel that the effects of the movement are more negative than they are positive. Instead of focusing on self-esteem, detractors of the movement feel that children should be taught motivation, dedication and perseverance. By learning these skills, they can make themselves feel good instead of relying on outside sources to boost self-worth…

By David Crary, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.

“We need to stop endlessly repeating, ‘You’re special,’ and having children repeat that back,” said Jean Twenge , the study’s lead author and a professor at San Diego State University. “Kids are self-centered enough already.” …

Narcissism can have benefits, said study co author W. Keith Campbell of the University of Georgia, suggesting it could be useful in meeting new people “or auditioning on ‘American Idol.'”

“Unfortunately, narcissism can also have very negative consequences for society, including the breakdown of close relationships with others,” he said.

The study asserts that narcissists “are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors.”

Twenge, the author of “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever Before,” said narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism, and favor self-promotion over helping others. [The truth is out: Donald Trump is a narcissist.]

The researchers traced the phenomenon back to what they called the “self-esteem movement” that emerged in the 1980s, asserting that the effort to build self-confidence had gone too far…

Campbell said the narcissism upsurge seemed so pronounced that he was unsure if there were obvious remedies.

“Permissiveness seems to be a component,” he said. “A potential antidote would be more authoritative parenting. Less indulgence might be called for.” …

I think Campbell is saying that American kids are spoiled. Are they? Doesn’t every older generation think that of the younger generation?

Since Americans have gotten poorer, it seems that we like to indulge ourselves more. Perhaps we even need to indulge ourselves more, just to get through the day. (And maybe deep down, we feel like we don’t deserve these indulgences. Do I deserve chocolate cheesecake? Because I bought lots of cream cheese this month instead of chicken.)

I think self-esteem is important. I think every person is unique, although I don’t believe that every human being is special. How many of the over 7 billion people in the world are special? I may have a healthy self-esteem, but I don’t think I’m special.

I was thinking about self-esteem and how it relates to those with chronic medical conditions. And I was thinking about how patients are treated differently in our healthcare system — depending on your medical condition — and how discrimination can create self-esteem issues.

Chronic and intractable pain patients are learning how it feels to be treated like drug addicts by doctors and society, and yet those who suffer from drug addiction have always had to put up with this kind of discrimination. Many people still think that drug addiction is a choice, and now people are starting to believe that chronic pain is a choice. Are drug addiction and chronic pain considered real medical conditions? If so, patients would have access to as many treatments as cancer patients. Looks like we’re all just a bunch of fakers.

Being disabled is isolating and messes with your self-esteem. Why do some mental and physical conditions deserve treatment, while others are allegedly our own choice, and if we were just strong enough, we could overcome them? I smell religion in the house, which should never cross over into medical science (what’s left of it).

There’s a difference between needing the approval of others and being able to approve of yourself. Are self-worth and self-esteem the same thing? If you have low self-worth, you need others for your self-esteem. If you have self-worth, you don’t need anyone else’s approval.

However, everyone needs others to like them. And so this would be a good time to say thanks to everyone who likes my posts. Likes are nice. 🙂

You Know You Want It

I made an emoji on my chocolate cheesecake.


Then I decided it needed a nose.


Might as well just let it snow. (Scientists have determined that there’s no such thing as too much powdered sugar.)


Hello, my one true love.


I like a thick crust.


Can you feel your blood sugar rising?


Good thing I don’t care about appearances, because my cheesecake is not much to look at. Not like the fancy desserts at The Cheesecake Factory.


But it’s fresh, saucy, and delicious. Next time, chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake. Then I’m going to create a Death-By-Chocolate cheesecake. (Hey, that rhymes.)

May the chocolate be with you. 🙂

How many Dilly Bars can one person eat in a day?

Living with intractable pain is boring enough without adding a broken foot to my days. My foot wants me to stay seated for most of the day, while my boredom wants me to go play. Take a walk. Do some cleaning. Make a chocolate cheesecake.

Yes, I made my first chocolate cheesecake and it was delicious. I’m trying to be objective, but I think it was the best cheesecake I’ve ever tasted. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long (no photos), and I’m out of the ingredients to make another. However…


I found a few Dilly Bars in my freezer, which I broke up and sprinkled with crushed graham crackers. Breakfast of champions.


I don’t know why I haven’t had this combination before. It’s like I was missing out on something awesome. But, no longer.

How many Dilly Bars can one person eat in a day? I refuse to say. 🙂

Because chocolate


The smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation.

Every second, Americans collectively eat 100 pounds of chocolate.

The inventor of the chocolate chip cookie sold the idea to Nestle Toll House in return for a lifetime supply of chocolate.

17. Chocolate gives you a more intense mental high and gets your heart pounding more than kissing does.

23. The film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was financed by Quaker Oats to promote its new Wonka Bar candy.

37. A 2004 study in London found that 70% of people would reveal their passwords in exchange for a chocolate bar.









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Acetaminophen, Sugar, and Kids

Prenatal exposure to acetaminophen was linked with a subsequent increased risk of behavioral problems in children, even after controlling for multiple confounders, a small cohort from a U.K. study found…

If a child eats cotton candy, a chocolate bar or any other kind of sugary treat, will a hyperactive frenzy follow? While some parents may swear that the answer is “yes,” research shows that it’s just not true…

When no one believes you

Like PROP, the foundation’s main goal is to reduce opioid prescribing. It is named after Steve Rummler, a Minnesota pain patient who became addicted to opioid medication while being treated for a back injury.

After several attempts at addiction treatment, Rummler relapsed and died of a heroin overdose at the age of 43.

“He struggled with the pain for a long time,” said Judy Rummler, Steve’s mother and chief financial officer of the foundation. “He had what I think later was figured out to be some damage to the nervous system around his spinal cord because he had what he described as shooting electric shock-like sensations that would shoot up his back into his head and down his legs into his feet.”

Steve sought help from many doctors, but never received a treatable diagnosis. He started taking OxyContin for pain relief. “Once he was prescribed the opioids in 2005, then he didn’t care about getting answers anymore,” his mother said.

After Steve’s death in 2011, the Rummler family established the foundation with the goal of helping others who also struggle with chronic pain and addiction. It was PROP’s founder and chief executive, Andrew Kolodny, MD, who approached the foundation with the idea of joining forces…

“Basically as the fiscal sponsor we accept donations and we manage the funding. We don’t set any policy for him,” Judy Rummler told Pain News Network. “Obviously our missions are similar. We are very concerned about the overprescribing of opioids. Yet I know if my son were alive today he would probably be telling you what you hear from so many other pain patients; that he couldn’t live without them. But the problem was he died as a result of it.

“I know there are a lot of people who are going to be hurt by cutting back on the prescribing, but I just think a lot of them are addicted as my son was. Yet he would have been the first one to scream and yell about having his pills cutoff.”

The Rummler Foundation calls this tug-of-war between opioids and addiction “The Dilemma.” It advocates for wholesale change in the treatment of chronic pain, emphasizing “wellness rather than drugs” and the use of “a wide array of non-opioid options.”

Opioid medication should not be prescribed for chronic pain, according to Rummler…

Poor Steve. So desperate and in so much pain — but he had nowhere to turn for help. He was being treated for addiction, not chronic pain. His chronic pain was ignored, even though it was the constant pain that caused Steve to become addicted to pain relief in the first place.

(Let me just say that I’m not sure Steve was suffering from addiction, but that is what he was being treated for.)

I’m sure that most chronic pain patients understand Steve’s desperation. Personally, I’m beginning to think that desperation is my middle name.

It was his pain (environment) and his DNA that made Steve susceptible to addiction. (DNA, by the way, he got from his parents.) A part of his addiction was probably caused by low self-esteem due to the censure of his loved ones and the shame all drug addicts feel (also his environment). There’s no shame in suffering from cancer, but those who suffer from addiction and chronic pain are weak and morally corrupt — according to the anti-opioid lobby. According to the drug war.

I consider it hypocritical and ignorant when anyone claims there’s no evidence that opioids work for chronic pain. (I also find the medical industry’s use of the word “evidence” to always be suspect. After all, I’m not a mouse. And my intractable pain is as unique as my DNA.) You can’t tell me that opioids don’t work — I took them for 10 years. You can’t tell millions of chronic pain patients that opioids don’t work — they’ve taken them for years, too.

Denying reality has always been helpful when fighting on the side of the drug war. #DenyingReality #ItsAllAboutFear (#DonaldDrumpf)

To all you hypocrites:  How much unbiased “evidence” exists that shows antidepressants or cortisone injections work for chronic pain? Denying adequate treatment for those in constant pain is the definition of torture. So, when someone advocates against the option of opioids to treat chronic pain, then that person is advocating for torture. (It seems there’s a high percentage of masochists within the 200 million people who don’t suffer from chronic pain in this country.)

Grief can motivate a person to do great things, but the reverse is also true. Rich, grieving parents, too blinded by their own pain to see anyone else’s. Like their grief is so raw and overwhelming that it destroys any empathy those people may have had for anyone else. Like their pain is more important than anything else. Like they’re more important than anyone else. (#TrumpSyndrome)

Let’s get this straight: Steve was not your average chronic pain patient. (To learn a little more about Steve’s story, click on the link below.) But, Steve is an example of the suffering that pain patients, who also suffer from drug addiction, go through. If you have a history of drug addiction, no one believes you’re in pain. And I know many chronic pain patients can understand what it feels like when no one believes you.

When You’re Blue

Feeling blue and devalued?


Living life without a clue?

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Do colors appear subdued?

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Are things tilted and askew?

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Are you afraid to say boo?

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Seeking that kind of glue

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you can really hold onto?

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Think of kangeroos and rendezvous
macaroons, barbecue, and Irish stew
tatoos, home brews, and cashews
canoes, fondue, and honeydew

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(too bad chocolate doesn’t rhyme with blue)

This is what happens when you’re stubborn

Let me introduce you to the Desert Bird of Paradise.


I’ve spent years trying to get a good photo of this stubborn flower.

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Trying to find the right background.


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Trying to find creative ways to photograph it.


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Thankfully, this desert flower grows wild, so I didn’t have to walk into anyone’s yard. It would be sad (but not surprising) if someone thought I was a burglar and shot me. All because I couldn’t stop trying to get a good photo of this stupid flower.

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Trying to get the whole flower in one shot is difficult.

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Are you bored with my desert beauty yet? Because I’m warning you, there’s much more. If you need to get some chocolate to sustain you until the end, I’ll wait…

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Perhaps now is a good time to remind you that I’ve been trying to get a good photo of this flower for years.

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As you can see, a lot of cropping went into these photos. #CropTilYouDrop

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Bathroom break. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

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Before I made this post, I looked up the Desert Bird of Paradise on Google images. Turns out, I’m not the only one who has problems taking a picture of this stubborn flower.

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My fascination with the Desert Bird of Paradise is now over. Thanks for making it all the way to the end. 🙂

Chocolate Joy

I usually don’t have a lot of luck with new recipes, but this one turned out pretty good:

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Nice and soft like bread, but obviously with lots of chocolate sweetness. Yet, it’s not rich, like a brownie or cake.

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I don’t have a bread pan, so I used a small glass baking dish. Next time, I’ll make the cream cheese layer bigger and thicker.

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Dear Chocolate God:  Please send someone to help me clean up. 🙂

May the froth be with you

I rarely venture out after dark, so it’s almost like I’m in another world when I run an errand after the sun goes down. Loud music blaring out of car windows, rolled down to enjoy a comfortable 75 degrees. Muscle cars revving their engines and zooming past me. I was thinking that I should get my car washed so it would be easier to see out my windows.

I passed Dunkin’ Donuts, where the sign now reads: “May the froth be with you.” (This sign says, “Donuts solve everything,” which I happen to agree with.)


As I sat at a red light, surrounded by other cars, I wondered what a stranger would see when they look at me. Short hair, wearing a baseball cap, no make-up. Singing along to George Michael. (Yes, I can sing and wonder at the same time.) And then I wondered if some punk kids would target me because I look gay. But I didn’t feel any fear because I know I’m living in a liberal city in a fairly liberal state.

And to prove how right I was, I turned to see a Coexist bumper sticker. I’ve seen quite a few around these parts, which is encouraging. This one is from the parking lot at my apartments:

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As I passed the bowling alley, I noticed the parking lot was crowded. As I drove through a residential neighborhood, I saw someone sitting in scooter-type wheelchair, eating ice cream and staring at the moon (which is exceptionally bright this evening).

Friday night fun in the Q, lol.

After I arrived home, I checked the pollen count (while sneezing), and found there’s a pollen alert for grass. As a bud lover, I find it mildly amusing that I’m probably allergic to grass pollen.

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Since my camera doesn’t like the dark, I couldn’t get a good shot of the moon.


But when I viewed the photos, I noticed something odd.


Looks like an alien ship to me.

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Oh no, there’s more than one!

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And then, within seconds, they just… disappeared.


Maybe the aliens are waiting for Trump to become President. Then they’ll offer him a gazillion dollars to buy Earth. Trump will accept the deal, of course, all the while telling Americans it will bring jobs. And anyway, you can’t build a wall around the Earth.

Well, don’t think about aliens or Trump. Think about cats.

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Have a good weekend. And don’t forget to enjoy some chocolate. I’m planning on making Lynn’s famous cream cheese brownies:

It’s not chocolate mousse

Let me introduce you to chocolate mousse cake (from Pelican’s Restaurant).

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Hello there, love of my life.


Yes, I took a couple of bites before taking the photos. But you can’t take more than a couple of bites before your teeth start to ache (and your eyes start to roll back in your head) from the sweetness. So, six or seven dirty spoons later, I zapped my last couple of bites in the microwave. (Yes, I licked the bowl.) Sadly, the interlude with my lover was short (but extremely sweet). I’ll never forget you, my dear.


Last week, I made peanut butter brownies with chocolate chips.


Sometimes I use too many chocolate chips, and other times, I don’t use enough. This was a case of the latter.

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Yes, they were good, but…

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…it’s not chocolate mousse.

As much as I love my bud, it’s not really a painkiller. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been able to find bud strong enough for my pain levels in a very long time, but I’m beginning to think that I won’t be able to manage my pain with just bud, aspirin, and chocolate.

This is a very disappointing realization for me, and I’m not happy about it. What’s even worse is that I don’t have any other options.

I asked Google, how long do taste buds live?

You probably already know that your taste buds have something to do with your food preferences, but you’ll likely be surprised to learn how deeply those preferences are rooted in your body’s survival instincts…

For example, sniffing a chocolate doughnut will send a scent message through your nostrils to one part of your brain, and eating it will send a different type of scent signal to a different part of your brain. It is the scent message from eating that combines with taste to create flavor. However, according to Dr. Bartoshuk, the scent message from smelling with your nose is not involved with flavor at all (your brain knows the difference between the two)…

Taste buds go through a life cycle where they grow from basal cells into taste cells and then die and are sloughed away. According to Dr. Bartoshuk, their normal life cycle is anywhere from 10 days to two weeks. However, “burning your tongue on hot foods can also kill taste buds,” she says. “But they grow right back, which is why the ability to taste doesn’t diminish with age.” Though Dr. Bartoshuk notes that taste remains robust as we get older, the ability to taste bitterness does decline in women with the onset of menopause…

When you bite into a luscious red tomato, you’re interpreting a dizzying array of signals—physical, neurochemical, memory-based—that ultimately help you decide whether you like tomatoes, or what combination of the five fundamental tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, or umami) comes through for you. (There’s growing support for the idea that fat is a distinct taste, too; other candidates include soapy and metallic. Spicy heat, on the other hand, involves a chemical short-circuit in our thermal detectors, and isn’t considered a taste.) …

Brain scans of perfumers have found that the olfactory parts of their brains actually grew more developed as they got older, not the other way around, as with most people. That suggests that actively differentiating aromas and seeking out new ones may help reverse the normal effects of aging on the sense of smell. You may, in other words, be able to teach yourself to get more flavor from food as you get older…

Myth:  Eating spicy food damages your taste buds.

Fact:  The substance capsaicin is found in spicy foods and works by binding to pain receptors in the brain, sending a hot, burning signal to the body. While they can be temporarily damaged by extreme spice or temperatures, taste buds grow back every two weeks, so it’s generally nothing to worry about…