Quora: “How do I overcome my self-esteem issues?” Answering a question on not feeling beautiful enough.


I feel like I’m that “ugly friend”. All the girls in my social circle are attractive and frequently get attention from guys. In my case, boys usually make sarcastic comments about me like “OHHH SHE’S SO HOT”, which I guess are subtle insults.


Hello there,

I completely understand and feel for you – as a teenager I used to feel like the “ugly duckling” a lot. I had a face full of freckles, I am of average height and I thought I was the ugly friend.

The thing is… in the story, the ugly duckling GROWS UP and she becomes a beautiful swan!

This is how it can happen for you:

  1. Your body will transform and when you will stop growing you will end up with radiant features. The features in and of themselves are not even that important, as what shows up on them. (Have you known “ beautiful” people who are really ugly because they are mean and dumb?)
  2. Because you are smart and self-aware (your question shows this), you will invest in your education, you will empower yourself by making great choices and you will build yourself a nice life, full of passion and meaning. This is INCREDIBLY attractive to real men (which you will meet then), not boys who are dorky enough to make sneering comments in front of everyone. And by the way, they are as insecure as you are – if not more. Trust me on this one. Don’t fall for the show they put on.
  3. With your life experience and knowledge of the world, you will develop your unique sense of style – you will also get educated and have access to hair stylists, nice clothes etc. so you can take care of yourself and enhance your natural beauty.

I used to know a young woman who told herself “It’s not important to be the most beautiful, it’s having that “Come here, you!” thing that matters!”.

It may feel uncomfortable right now, but take heart. Think long-term.

The other thing to consider is this: some people peak in high-school in college, then slowly decline (and say those were the best years of their life). Others bloom later – and do so with grace and power, staying attractive all of their life and saying “This, right now, is the best time of my life!”. Which one do you think you are? 🙂

Read. Develop yourself. Choose friends – and boys – who care for your heart. Looks matter, yes, but do you want them to matter to EVERYONE or to the right person?


(blissfully married to a man who thinks I am very attractive – and to whom I am very attracted even though he is not the sex-symbol of his generation either. But masculine, he is – and very kind and super smart.)

Insecure and uncertain about your calling and life purpose (especially as a healer)? Watch this!

I’ve known Martha Beck for… hm… almost twenty years now! When I first discovered her, she had just published “Expecting Adam” – her memoir of getting pregnant while doing her PhD (in sociology, I believe) at Harvard and then discovering that the baby had Down syndrome. It blew her whole academic, rational and orderly world out of the water. Not that Martha is all academics and run by her reason… she is all heart – with a good, healthy blend of practicality for hanging around the tangible world. And she has humor. And kindness.

Every time I hear her or read something of her, my heart gets squeaky clean and full of good feelings.

Over the past twenty years Martha has built a powerful practice as a life coach. She is a fine blend of worldly knowledge, accademia, street smarts and a mother’s heart. She is wild, too! Literally. She has broken free.

In the last few years (perhaps five or so?) she has started taking people to Londolozi, a private game reserve in South Africa. Looking in the eyes of free, roaming elephants and other wild animals heals the human soul – and sets it free.

I have been reading Martha’s newsletters on and off as of late. I don’t have as much time these days, what with my writing and my family… But tonight I happened to click on the link that led me to a video that I needed to watch.

If you are unsure about your life purpose, if you feel insecure, inadequate and small, if you think your past will forever haunt you and drag you down, then you need to watch this too.

If you feel called to be a healer but are not sure you are good enough, you double-need to watch this.


Rock on, wild soul!

“Feel your life while you are in it” – quotes that make it on the fridge

i-want-to-feel-my-life-while-i-am-in-itWhen the soul speaks…

I’ve been a fan of Meryl Streep for a very long time. I like her as an actress – but I also like her as a person. Not that she and I have heart-to heart chats… or any kind of chats… (I wish!). But what transpires of her personality from her movies, interviews and other appearances makes me think and feel that she’s a mensch (“The Apartment” anyone?).

Inc. Magazine has published an article on 17 Meryl Streep quotes to inspire success and happiness.

Here’s a preview:

“I want to feel my life while I am in it.”

Meryl Streep

The other favorite:

“Don’t give up or give in in the face of patronizing ridicule, amused disdain, or being ignored.”

Read the article on Inc. Magazine’s website.

Feel good,


How successful do you really feel? A short test.

woman-1245840_1920One of the most common pieces of advice for success is “Find someone who is already successful and emulate them”.

By this people usually mean “Do what that person does – and you will become successful too.”

As always, the focus is on the doing. But how about the “being” and the “feeling” part?

If we stop for a few seconds to think about it, the “doing” is just not enough. How many people do you know who do all the right things and yet don’t become as successful as they want to be? Or, conversely, you know people who do all the wrong things and yet they find success that makes their relatives bite their nails…

What is the difference between the first set and the second set?

To me, the difference that makes a difference is this: how those people FEEL… about everything really: themselves, others, the work, the world, their “chances”, failure, setbacks and on and on and on.

Which one do you think is more likely to succeed: a person who does things correctly but is profoundly insecure, or someone who messes up here and there but has an unshakable feeling of self-confidence?

Self-confidence is just the most obvious example but there are a million others, of course.

To go back to the beginning of this post, have you ever asked yourself this question: “How does my idol/role-model feel on a regular basis?”

It would be helpful to mull a little over that one. While doing so, you will discover your own “areas for improvement” – if you are not as successful as you would like to be.

me-vs-my-idol-1The good news is that you can cultivate the feelings of a successful person before you actually have that success. Your own story will be different, of course and your own “constellation of successful feelings” will be different too.

For example, some people feel an immense sense of relief when they “make it”. For others, it is pride. For others still, it is contentment or ease.

By cultivating the “it feeling” that represents success for you, you will put yourself in the right mindset.

I’ve written a book with 33 such feelings. It’s free for download today.

success“Success is an Emotions Game”

Sunny skies and good feelings,


The ultimate foundation for happiness, joy and fulfillment

girl shhhI wrote about this a lot in Your Inner Child is a Winner – How to reclaim your natural confidence and self-esteem”.

People with self-esteem problems know this as a fact. So do people with depression or anxiety. Or other health problems. Or any other kind of problem.

This is the fact:

Self-love is the very foundation for our well-being.

And yet, many people think that it is wrong to love ourselves. That it is a narcissistic sport that will lead to loneliness because others will ultimately repel us, egotistic / egoistic monsters that we are.

But I am not talking about narcissism when I say “self-love”. That, by the way, is not self-love but the opposite of it. I actually think that Narcissus must not have loved himself very much if he sought constant validation for his looks. Makes sense… doesn’t it?

What I mean by self-love is this:

  • having a warm relationship with yourself, like you would have with a dear lifelong friend. It doesn’t mean there won’t be mistakes necessarily, but there is respect and there will always be the benefit of the doubt. Patience too..

People who love themselves are okay with the fact that they (and everybody else) are a work in progress. Failure is a moment in time (although failure itself is only a point of view).

People who love themselves enjoy life. They are kind because they love more.

Happy people love themselves. Or at least like themselves.

Then, why does self-love have such a bad reputation?

I’ve just asked the question but I’m really not interested in the answer.

I’m more interested in cultivating this thing, this constellation of feelings towards self.

In the book I talked about in the beginning of this post, “Your Inner Child is a Winner”, I said many times that children have no problems with love – or with self-love. They come wired with a very healthy sense of self and they have no reservations in showing it.

I have seen this in all my years as a teacher, having worked with hundreds of children in different countries.

The younger they are, the stronger this feeling is. It is like the sap inside the plant – it loves them and guides them towards what is good and nourishing for them. It also alerts them when something is not good for them.

The younger they are, the more natural the feeling of self-love. They don’t know to call it that. They are simply home there and they live from it.

But then, something happens with some children. This feeling gets thwarted. Somehow, somewhere, they get the idea that it is wrong to love yourself, or even like yourself.

That they are bad. Guilty. Irresponsible. Worthy of punishments…

The connection to that source of love for their very being is twisted and diminished. That is when the problems start.

In a plant, you see the leaves turning yellow.

In humans you see the children starting to act up and act out.

If the connection is not restored, the problems get bigger. The self-hatred begins. And, with it, self-sabotage and maybe even self-destruction.

I was on that path for many years. I know many people who are on that path.

I have gotten off of it. Now I write books about how I did it.

Sometimes I write about how to heal depression and anxiety. Other times I write about love and success. But these are all ways in which self-love appears in one’s life.

I have written a book about self-love itself. Called it “The Nourished Soul”, because this is what self-love does: it nourishes the soul. It keeps it fed and healthy.

The Nourished Soul self-love

In it, I talk about approaching self-love slowly. If the connection is diminished, it can’t be hot-gunned back.

But there is a way.

And the way is this: understanding that “love” is a constellation of feelings. It is kindness, gentleness, patience and others.

Never mind “love”. Don’t even call it that. It’s a big word.

Go, instead, for being a bit more patient with you. Or cutting yourself a break by being gentle instead of harsh when you think you “messed up” (or whatever thing you do that makes you beat yourself up).

For me, “kindness” really does it all. You can be a little kind to yourself, every once in a while. And if you keep it up… you will change. You will remember how you felt… and you will realize that the sap inside of you has always felt that way.

And, shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but kindness is love in action.

The Nourished Soul self-love “The Nourished Soul” is free for download until this Sunday, Dec. 11th, 2016. 



Sunny skies and good feelings,


2016: The year of soaring

New Year Resolution seagulls soaringI have many goals and plans for 2016. I want to spend a lot of time with my family, write many books, take lots of trips, catch up with all of my friends and generally have a lot of fun.

But what I want most of all is to enjoy what I already have and realize, each and every day, how happy I already am. This, I am sure, will make it all grow – and truly make 2016 the year of soaring.

May you feel good and loved, may you feel showered with blessings, may you feel the goodness that is all around you and may you soar high this year. Happy 2016!

You don’t need to work at being worthy. You were born worthy.

baby sleeping worthy you were born worthyLook at this baby. What does she need to do in order to be worthy of love, happiness and all the goodness in the world?

That’s right, nothing. And neither do you.

You don’t need to work at being worthy. You were born worthy.

The more we remember and know that, the better we feel.

The better we feel, the better we are.

The better we are, the better we do.


It’s okay to take care of yourself, say no and go your own way. Letter to my teen self.

teenage girl feet sneakers jeansToday I happened to read a question posted on a forum by a 15 y.o. girl. She said, “I feel depressed and probably anxious most of the time. How should I deal with my feelings? “

It resonated very deeply with me because at one time I was a depressed, anxious teenage girl. There were problems at home… a lot of them actually and this was the reason for my depression. I did not know how to deal with any of it – most of all my feelings. I felt like I was drowning in them and I was forever doomed to suffer.

What I would like to say to my teen self – and the 15 y.o. who posted the question – is this:

Your problems have more to do with other people than with yourself. It’s okay to take care of yourself, even if they are not. It’s okay to say no, too. Most importantly, it’s okay to go your own way. You don’t have to play dumb or stupid or please anybody with your choices. Your life is your own and feeling good is a choice. Look around for the good people, the good books, the good music, the good weather and the good things happening every day. There will come one day when you will be on your own. You will grow a lot and it won’t always be easy. But I can say with 100% certainty that everything will turn out okay. In the meantime, just take good care of yourself and try to feel good (at least a little bit) about something every day. In time, this will grow into a whole life of good.



Feelings vs. Actions. Does it really have to be a fight?

goats locking hornsHumans are obsessed with actions. We need to be moving, out and about, DOING something – even if it’s bad. It’s better than nothing. We just can’t sit still.

Feelings, on the other hand, have a bit of a bad reputation. Given a choice between doing something or feeling something, most people would choose to do instead of feel.

The irony of it is that we always DO because, in accomplishing whatever it is we think we will accomplish, we believe we will get to FEEL a certain way!!

So then, if FEELINGS are the end goal, why are we so afraid of them, embarrassed with them, annoyed with them, controlled by them and other…(insert whatever else “bad”)?

Instead of looking at “the goal”, how about we start looking at the end-end goal?

You want a car because you want to feel, say, comfortable.

You want a relationship because you want to feel, say, cherished.

You want a fortune because you want to feel, say, free.

So why not try and feel those right now, before you even get the car, the relationship and the fortune?

Comfortable feels like taking off my high heels. It feels like sleeping half an hour more. It feels like a warm, easy meal.

Cherished feels like a happy old couple. It feels like family heirlooms. It feels like a sculpture done by my father or my childhood pictures.

Free feels like taking a walk on the beach. It feels like dogs frolicking in the park. It feels like going to the movies.

Keep going like this and in a very short time you will end up feeling exactly how you want to feel. Consistently.

And then, as a bonus, you will receive the other stuff you wanted.

And, strangely enough, it will probably require very little action on your part – or very fun, easy action. Try it and see!

C.M. Ellis



Before you get angry to get back at “them”, take a second look

angry catMy husband changed jobs in the beginning of this year. Before that he worked for 13 years for the same company.

The last project he did with them was awful. He worked very long hours. He had an insanely long commute. The work itself was rather boring. And there were no opportunities for moving up in that company.

So why didn’t he leave? Good question. He is a very stable kind of guy. He doesn’t change things easily. And he’s very loyal.

Enter… THE BOSS FROM HELL. The project was managed by a guy who thought shouting was how people talk. He hurled insults as a way to motivate people – or so he said. If anyone had the audacity to do something “okay”, that meant that they didn’t do enough for “great” – and there was no “great”.

Sure, he was going through a divorce and was about to start seeing his only and much-adored daughter only a few times a week… but he was still horrible to work with no matter how much you understood his situation.

So my husband left. Because of him. And he has to thank him for it. Because now he’s in a much, much better place, with a reasonable commute, better money and plenty of opportunities.

In my very recent past a bunch of rowdy kids made me want to quit teaching altogether. Six months ago I would have thought that was impossible, as I love being a teacher. Or, rather, I loved being a teacher. I’ve known for a while now though that it’s time to move on.

Because of those kids I have written more in the past couple of months than in the previous two years. I’m going for it with my writing. They, naughty and wild, were the push I needed.

So before you get angry with “them” (whoever they are who are making you mad), look and see if they aren’t pushing you towards your next step in life, kicking you out of a situation you have outgrown.

I’m willing to bet that’s the case and that the next step is pretty awesome.