“I am a paradox. I want to be happy, but I think of things that make me sad. I’m lazy, yet I’m ambitious. I don’t like myself, but I also love who I am. I say I don’t care, but I really do. I crave attention, but reject it when it comes my way. I’m a conflicted contradiction. If I can’t figure myself out, there’s no way anyone else has.”
Over and over we hear the words ‘If we cannot love ourselves then how can we expect anyone else to love us?’
I’ve always been one to think of this as the biggest cliché known to man – the idea that just because we are not happy with ourselves means that another could not be happy with us as well.
That is until now.
I’ve learnt some pretty big life lessons along the way; most of which I have come to learn on my own. I have had realisations, experiences, problems and situations that have all resulted in me learning something about others, the world and myself.
However, sometimes the biggest lessons in life are not ones that we can stumble across on our own. Sometimes, we need to be guided, pushed poked prodded or even broken before we can have the big epiphany that changes our lives.
There was no big ‘moment’ for me – no big realisation or coming of age experience that made me understand that not loving myself was the biggest form of self-sabotage I could ever commit.
It came from the decision that I could no longer sit around and complain about a bad back and some bulging discs, and about getting fat AGAIN. It came from understanding that every time I picked up a piece of chocolate or ice cream or chips or bottle of diet coke that I was sabotaging all of the hard work and pain I was putting in and going through.
Sometimes it is something this simple that opens the flood gates, something this uncomplicated that puts all the pieces of the puzzle together.
I’d always thought of myself as a ‘go getter’, someone who took action rather than complained. A young well adjusted female who saw the best in everyone and everything, and as long as the ‘everyone and everything’ wasn’t me or my life I was right and happy to see the best of every possible situation.
My life however was and is a different story – I have never been able to see the good in myself – I have never been able to imagine myself in a happy relationship, fit and healthy and exactly where I want and need to be in the world. I have always felt slightly out of place in my surroundings and uneasy when any attention is directed my way. Whilst I do love the person that I am, I don’t LIKE myself.
I have spent so long building up walls and playing them off as ‘normal’. When in fact if we are being completely honest with ourselves, we know that being so heavily guarded is never a good thing. Never letting anyone in and seeing the real us is and will only result in heartache, and not trusting ourselves to make the right decisions is the worst decision that we can make.
Compliments do not sit well with me, in fact they don’t sit anywhere with me. I cannot accept the nice words of others in fact they make me uncomfortable. I rebound them, deflect them, make sarcastic jokes at my own expense and generally just make everything into a joke so that the attention is not on me. This is so detrimental to me, someone who projects the image of a strong and happy girl, when in fact I am not strong, when in fact I rely so heavily on the approval of others. Unfortunately I am driven by others opinions of myself, and seek their approval, but when I get it I don’t know how to process it or what to do with it.
There is a part of me somewhere deep down inside that knows the person that I am, that knows my worth and my value. But that person has a really difficult time understanding why and how anyone else would ever feel the same, why another person would actively choose to be apart of my life.
But alas all is not lost.
It has taken literally being berated about my self esteem or lack there of and this self-sabotaging for me to realise that it is not up to me, and nor do I have a right to try and understand and comprehend and question why others feel the way they do about me, good or bad.
A compliment is just that, a compliment; accept it in the good nature and jest that it was meant – I should let it build me up and ‘pump up my tyres’, smile and move on.
No longer can I continue to look at the negatives in my life, the bad things that have happened or that have been said. No longer can I continue to put myself down, to stop myself achieving everything that I know I can, and most of all, no longer can I pretend to act ok when I am not – It’s ok to not be ok and to let people know.
It is with this self realization, that I put down the chocolate, back away from the soft drink, get into the gym, take pride in myself, accept the nice words said about me and to me, and vow to always see the glass as half full of vodka. I am making this promise to myself that no longer will I feel depressed and appologise for who I am – no longer will I hide behind what I think people want me to be and no longer will I not ‘like’ myself – because if not even I like myself…. Then how can anyone else…