You are what you do 2


“You are what you do.”  I heard someone say this on television the other day while it was droning in the background while I was on the computer.


These words resonated with me deeply.  They are quite wise and utterly simple.  You are what you do.


In the “Fostering Self-Esteem” workshops* I’ve led over the years as an independent parent educator and when I worked for Families First Parenting Programs, I outlined some of the components of positive self-esteem as follows. 


Self-esteem is:



  • How you feel about yourself.

  • What you know yourself to be capable of.

  • What you do (daily, weekly, regularly).

  • What grounds and surrounds you (your beliefs and values).

  • What is expected of and for you.

What you do is one of the things you have control over. For me, it is important to have music, beauty, books, good food, and laughter around me. These are the things that I do nearly every day.



  • Notice and appreciate the beautiful things that I have and see the beauty that surrounds me in the world.

  • Cook a delicious meal (even when the cupboard is bare – that’s making me even more creative).

  • Listen to music.

  • Read every single day (thanks again to the library making it possible in frugal times).

  • Laugh – I have a friend who I talk to who is funny as hell.  I also turn on the TV and watch comedy shows and sitcoms now and again, or a favorite silly movie like 40 Year Old Virgin or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or, one that I can’t find frequently but will make me laugh as hard as I did the first time I saw it, Cold Turkey, directed by Norman Lear and starring Dick Van Dyke.

If you are what you do, then in this small moment, I’m doing well. (PTL)


*copyright 1996 by Candelaria Silva


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.


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2 thoughts on “You are what you do

  • LeeAnn

    You are what you do – and I tell my kids – what you practice, you will become good at. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But I usually said it after I found someone not telling the truth, or being sloppy. I’m trying to practice being who I really want to be. Great post. ~lee

  • Christina

    There is a quote that I use to inspire and drive me each day.
    “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit.”
    I think it is most important get into a stride with oneself, it is the only way to truly reach the goals we set for ourselves. As, I go through school, I use this quote to remind me why I am here and what I plan to accomplish with my degree. I love your writing, and learn from your with each submission. I would love to show you my more serious writing (outside of my blog).