A true-life makeover—the real kind

Years ago, Groucho Marx reportedly quipped, "I wouldn't want to be a member of a club that would have me." That self-deprecating humor was funny. And today many comedians, such as Ray Romano and Conan O'Brien, use the same self-effacing shtick in their routines. And maybe that kind of humor is popular because, underneath the laughs, there's an element of truth—people relate to feeling kind of worthless.

Where does all this low self-esteem come from, even in people with every reason to feel great about themselves? A lot of people say that life has dealt them too many disappointments and failures, which makes it hard to handle pressure or to get anywhere in life. And this lethargy in the present causes anxiety and depression about the future. No wonder that for these people, living "happily ever after" exists only in fairy tales. In a culture that often equates happiness with money, fame, youth, beauty, and plain good luck, achieving happiness for so many people seems out of reach.

'NURTURE body and spirit'
May 31, 2004

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