When it comes to self love, I’m a huge advocate.
For other people. Not so much for myself. I mean, it sounds awesome, in theory. It’s not so easy, in practice.
Spending your life being put down by those closest to you, your mother, your former husband, supposed friends, makes it difficult to see the good in yourself. I’ve never had very high self esteem. I would even venture to say that I truly don’t have much at all.
Through the years, some of the harsher things I’ve heard have stuck with me like glue, and I can’t seem to find the Goo-Gone. Sadly, I have a much harder time remembering the good things I’ve heard, though I know they are there. My current husband tells me I’m beautiful and smart. I tell him he’s delusional.
I don’t take compliments well at all.
It’s not that I don’t like to hear them, I really do. I just don’t respond well, because I always wonder why that person would say them. I’ve thought so little of myself for so long, it’s difficult for me to believe that someone else would think anything different.
Today, a fellow writer, Leslie Wibberley, posted an essay about what your future self would say to you, given the chance.
If Your Future Self Could Give You Advice, What Would They Say?
Maybe we can all use a little tough love.
“Because saying all those horrible things about myself means that someone else doesn’t have to. And if I’m the one saying them, it doesn’t hurt as much.”
This hit home, hard. When I allow myself to think about it, this is exactly why I do it, too. I’m horrible for calling myself fat, unattractive, a bad wife, bad mother, bad friend. Deep down, I know that I’m at least partially wrong, but I feel this must be what others see when they look at me, so I say it, so they don’t need to.
It hurts less. But at the same time, more.
I would love to be the woman who is confident in herself, who knows she’s attractive in her own way, intelligent, worthy. Not cocky, but carries herself in a way that says, “I’m a bad-ass and I know it.”
I can pretend to be that woman. I do it quite often actually. But when it really comes down to it, that’s not who I really am, just who I aspire to be.
When we’ve gone through trauma and abuse, it seems it’s harder to accept ourselves. Sprinkle in mental health issues, and you may find yourself at full-blown negative self esteem status. I know I have. I still struggle every single day.
But it does get better, even just a little. And that’s better than nothing. The biggest change you can make is the conversations you have with yourself.
Rather than say, “I’m fat”, talk to yourself about your health. Could you change the way you eat to a healthier plan? Could you add exercise to your day in some way? Don’t go all-in, make small changes each day. It’s easier to stick to baby steps than a huge chunk of change all at once.
If you’re worried how others view you, well, that one is tricky. Honestly, what someone else thinks of you is none of your business. It’s what we think of ourselves that matters, and the only thing we can truly change. You can be the best person in the world, and someone will find something to complain about. Instead of worrying about others, take that time to reflect within.