You’re ugly, you’re not good enough, you’ll fail, why would anyone like you; these are only a fraction of the horrible things I have said to myself. I have suffered from a low self esteem for as long as I can remember. High school in particular was the worst time, people had no limits on just how hurtful they could be. Whoever said sticks and stones hurt more than words was probably home schooled or something, because kids can be horrible! Every mean word said to me stuck with me, on replay in my head. This just kept happening until I believed it all, until I was saying horrible things about myself before anyone else could. Honestly, the things I have said to myself, if someone else said to me, I would never want to be around them! Obviously I could not run away from myself, so I was stuck in this depressing, insanely negative environment that was my mind. Compliments became hard to listen to, let alone believe. I was drowning in self pity and self hate.
It was not until two years ago that I realized I have a problem and started healing myself. As you can imagine, 18 years of low self esteem does not just vanish over night. It has taken me ages to reach the point I am at today, where I can actually see beauty in myself, not just physical but internal as well. I thought I am fully healed and that that phase of my life is behind me but to this day, I discover new things that are broken within me, new wounds to heal.
Last week, I was talking to a friend about how I was bullied in school and she said something that really stuck with me. She said “you bully yourself”, such a simple statement, yet it felt like my whole world froze for a second. She was right! “I mean, you’re always beating yourself up about stuff, you bully yourself.” she said it again. I felt like I just got slapped in the face with realization. What I do to myself is definitely considered bullying! The worst kind of bullying, the one you cannot escape from, because it is in your own mind.
I was watching a Ted Talk that night (I am currently obsessed with them) and the speaker was talking about giving yourself credit for the things you have succeeded in. He spoke of writing a letter to yourself just to say well done for the things you actually did right! We are so caught up in the things we did wrong and we are just in this state of constantly beating ourselves up.
I went in front of the mirror and started congratulating myself for all the successes in my life. “Well done on getting distinctions both in your GCSEs and A Levels and getting into a great university”, “well done for flying across the ocean, to a whole new environment to study all on your own”, “well done for surviving through the homesickness”, “well done for being a good daughter, sister and friend”, “well done... Tears started to fall and before I knew it, I was sobbing so much, that I could hardly speak. I realized this was the first time I was applauding myself for the good things in my life and not bringing myself down for the things I could have done better. There are so many things that I did right but I never gave myself credit for and why not? Because it is arrogant? Narcissistic? What society deems as “humble” is really a low self esteem. There is nothing arrongant about privately congratulating yourself for your hard work and sacrifices. I spend all this time hating myself when I fail, it is only fair to congratulate myself when I succeed.
That night, along with being deeply emotional, was life changing for me. I did what any victim of bullying should do, I stood up to the bully inside me. I was nice to myself for a change, and since then, I applaud myself for every step I take outside my comfort zone, for every time I try, and for every time I make it.
You are not failing in life! No matter how bleak the situation seems, look for the good. You have done so many things right my dear, please turn your attention to them! Be as kind to yourself as you are to others and more! You deserve to be treated well by yourself, so stand up to the vicious bully inside your head.
Thank you so much for reading. I know I’m horrible with this consistency thing, but I get continual support from all of you and I really appreciate that. Here’s a link to the Ted Talk for anyone interested (you need to get hooked on them!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-HYZv6HzAs