Susan's Blog

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Extreme Breakthrough

I had an idea for a new reality show, quite unlike what is out there. It would be an extreme makeover of a very different kind. I would call it: Extreme Breakthrough. In this show, there’d be no surgery, no new wardrobe, no makeup sessions, no dental work. The success would be based on how well the person does when bathed in praise and love.

The contestant would be a low self-esteem neurotic type, perhaps perceived as overweight or plain, or nebbishy, and for three months, she would be completely surrounded by positive energy and praise. People would talk to her about things she’s done and why they were good things. She would be encouraged and supported to pursue a project of her dreams (living in Paris for a month alone, painting on the Left Bank, perhaps, or setting up a home for battered women; volunteering for Special Olympics, helping out at a hospice, making a whole new garden somewhere, going to cooking school, whatever). Family members would be required to tell her she’s beautiful, that she’s got perfect this or the best that. They would have to exercise total self-control for three months around her or else they could not be around her. Strangers would open doors for her, bosses would compliment and praise, children would behave around her, and spouse/boyfriend would be under oath to do all kind things for three months: backrubs, orgasms, cooking, playing with her hair.

Nothing would need to be bought, except perhaps the people involved would get some kind of reward at the end of it: a happier loved one in their lives. Someone who has seen what it’s like to be loved and cherished for exactly who she is.


I feel like this happened to me when I moved to Boston. I went from a negative environment (where I had lived for the first 24 years of my life) to a positive environment. I never thought I would feel so good about myself as I do now. I really do believe that it’s all a state of mind. That’s why I always think people can change their own lives, they don’t have to accept unhappiness.

— added by Shannon Brooke Davis on Sunday, April 6, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Please, can I be on that show? If everyone exercised total self control around me for even a week, and offered only praise, it would be so good. Maybe I could even start to believe I was wonderful

— added by goodnightgracey on Sunday, April 6, 2008 at 8:58 pm

Ah, but herein lies the rub: if we require certain kinds of words and behavior from others in order to get to feeling OK about ourselves and maintain that, aren’t we setting ourselves up for a continually rocky road? Sure it’s great to have kindness and support from those around us, and sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t but it’s rarely personal. Everyone is dealing with their own madness and sometimes ( lots of times) what we say and do to others is just a projection of that. It’s when we finally begin to discover that we are in our hearts and souls in truth beautiful and just fine the way we are, not more or less fine than others but equally fine, that we can begin to get out of our own way and really shine. My .02. Goodnight Gracey, you are already awesome! Em’s Mom

— added by Anonymous on Monday, April 7, 2008 at 8:37 am

Em’s Mom, you are clearly awesome yourself. I agree with you completely, but how many of us, as women and moms, can really live that? I hate that yearn for approval from others that I shouldn’t need, that when I “dance as if no one’s watching,” I am hoping something is thinking I’m doing a good job.

— added by goodnightgracey on Monday, April 7, 2008 at 9:04 am

And what I meant was a show where NOTHING glitzy would happen, nothing that implied that the woman needed to change, by cutting and painting, but which took a look at where these negative self-images came from!! What would happen, I ask, if we were surrounded by love and support and the absence of negative messages for three whole months?

A supermodel would not emerge, but a woman who FELT like one just might!

— added by Susan Senator on Monday, April 7, 2008 at 9:07 am

I love this!!!!

— added by Marla on Monday, April 7, 2008 at 7:57 pm

That would be an awesome show. Inner peace goes much further than any cosmetic makeover.

— added by Amy on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 3:33 am

Love it. Sign me up first. Then my daughter.

— added by Judith U. on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 6:27 am

I was struck by what a great idea this is, and how it is our duty to do this on a daily basis for the ones we love. Funny – when I first read it I never saw that it was a reality show for a woman, I read it as gender neutral.

— added by Grant on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 9:03 am