I’m overwhelmed with feelings of self doubt and self consciousness in everything that I do at the moment. Since the beginning of the year I constantly feel like I’m not good enough, not nice enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not anything enough. It’s horrible, and it makes me feel very sad. What’s equally as frustrating is that I never, ever used to be like this. I used to know my worth, I knew who I was and I was happy with that person. I was confident, out going and occasionally out spoken but now I feel like all I do is second guess myself and care far too much about how other people see me and what they think of me. I guess a lot of these feelings come back to not being able to be all that compassionate with myself, and I think it’s because I still don’t feel very deserving or worthy of kindness at times.
I don’t want to be preachy, or ungrateful sounding but sometimes it really does anger me when people dismiss my worries around this kind of thing by saying something like, “whaaaat? don’t be silly”. I’m not trying to be “silly” and it’s not like I’m fishing for compliments, I just have these worries and doubts. It generally takes quite a lot for me to open up to someone, it isn’t something that comes naturally so sometimes when I feel like I’m being dismissed like that it just makes me feel ten times worse. I know it isn’t said out of badness, and they probably don’t think anything of it but these are the types of things that I overthink to death.
I’m not saying I’ve never been self conscious in the past, of course I have. I think that’s quite natural. For example, I’ve always hated how tall I am. I also don’t like my skyscraper forehead or the fact I have an enormous mouth, and most recently I’m very aware of a scar that I have on my side/back from an operation in November. But I noticed that these small things that mildly annoyed me in the past have intensified and grown in recent months and spread over into other areas of my appearance and personality. I find myself getting flutters of nerves in my stomach when I look at myself in the mirror, and when I’m out I often feel uncomfortable and paranoid that people are staring at me negatively. Rationally, I know they’re not and without sounding obnoxious I do generally tend to get a lot of attention from the opposite sex but that isn’t really any comfort to me. It just confirms this fear that I find myself having that people only want one thing from me, and that’s all I’m worth. Sometimes I wish people would notice me because of me, and not just how I appear but even that’s hard when I don’t really feel like my personality is all there anymore.
It’s a hard thing to try to say to myself, “You are enough”. It’s not something you would naturally say to yourself, is it? We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others and I think a lot of that comes from this rise in social media and seeing people’s lives plastered in front of you all the time. If you know me personally, you’ll know that I actively removed myself from these things and I do feel it’s much better for me as it let’s me focus on myself instead of doing things for the likes or worrying that I’m not doing as many interesting things as other people. But even having doing that before my real esteem issues came into play, there’s still this cloud of pressure over my head all the time to do better, be better, be more. And why? For what purpose? That’s the really frustrating thing. I was obviously confident in my own abilities and self image before, so why now am I questioning myself? Whose benefit is it really for, because it’s certainly not mine?
I know deep down that I don’t need or want validation from anyone else, and that’s a good thing. If I felt I was craving it, I would actively seek it out in whatever way I felt that would manifest – but I don’t. I just find myself second guessing, over thinking and constantly apologising. I feel like I need to please people, to be this omnibenevolent pacifier and that really isn’t healthy. My therapist once told me that my borderline obsession with putting other people’s needs before my own was a defense mechanism; it deflects attention away from my own needs and stops me from confronting my feelings and emotions. I didn’t agree with a lot of theories and explanations that she gave me, but I fully accept that one. It doesn’t take a genius to work that one out does it? This avoidance of my own feelings has always been my thing, it’s just the way I am and to be honest I’m alright with that but this newfound need to please and appease is just gross. I end up doing things that I don’t want to because I feel like I have to in order to keep others happy and then I feel monumentally guilty if I then say I don’t. I’m starting to lack assertion with others and that’s a toxic and dangerous place to get yourself into.
I’ve been reading a book recently called “The Nice Girl Syndrome” by Beverly Engel and it deals with a lot of the issues that I’ve been writing about it this post, particularly due to sexual abuse and emotional trauma. I’m not big on self-help type books because I find a lot of them overly sentimental and cliché, using terms like “journey” which truthfully just makes me want to shit on the pages and post it to the author. But, she actually raises some pretty valid points and I’ve found myself nodding and making agreeable noises while I read. She writes at one point, “Survivors who don’t stand up for themselves often develop physical and emotional illnesses. Many become depressed because they feel so hopeless and helpless about being able to change their lives. They turn their anger inward and become prone to headaches, muscle tension, nervous conditions and insomnia.” – and OH, would you look at that? It’s me in a crazy little nutshell.
I know that I can be a lot of contradictions with my personality and my behaviour and that isn’t really helpful when I’m in a position of trying to work myself out and do what’s best for me, but what I am noticing more and more that this isn’t something I can take on alone. More than ever I think I need the help of those around me, and in doing that it isn’t seeking validation, it’s just admitting I can’t do this by myself and it’s okay to do that.
At the end of the day: I am enough. I’m so enough. People can tell me that until they’re blue in the face but I just need to realise it for myself, and when that does happen and however it comes to be I think a huge weight will lift from my shoulders.