One of my many New years resolutions was to learn to love myself. Over the past few years, my confidence and self esteem has taken a nasty hit, and trying to get back to the girl I was 6 years ago hasn't been an easy feat. My low sense of self-worth undoubtedly came as a result of my past relationship. For a reason I still don’t understand, the negative words seemed a lot easier to absorb than the positive ones. They were deep-rooted in my mind. It’s only recently that I’m able to see that the words he used had no value or meaning. Those verbal beatings were never about me, they were him projecting all of his ugliness on to me to make himself feel stronger, and as a result, they made me feel weaker. It was a negative circle that, with help, I am at last breaking free of, and it feels good.
So, why is it so hard to love yourself? Or even to like yourself? I had no problem seeing the good qualities in other people, so why couldn’t I recognise my own? Its quite easy to look at others and think “I wish I was more like her, she’s intelligent, funny and successful” and then look into my own reflection and see the opposite. While everyone around me seemed to have their shit together, I was struggling to keep my head above water.
Over the years, I became a bit of an expert at concealing my lack of confidence and I found most social situations excruciating. I’d often have to lock myself in the toilet to try and slow down my breathing as the anxiety would make my heart race out of my chest. It got to a stage where I couldn't hear a positive without immediately twisting it into a negative. During a night out with some friends, one of them said to me “you’re so much fun”. My immediate thought was that she was taking the piss out of me and she actually thinks I'm really boring!!... absolutely no logic in that right?! But I couldn't see any positive qualities in myself, therefore, I couldn’t understand how anyone else could see any.
We’re all born to love ourselves. I see this in my two boys, who are both brimming with confidence. They have no qualms with telling me that they are the “strongest”, “bravest” and the “bestest”. When does it all change? Low self esteem is learnt. It could be from a parent, a friend, a teacher, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a bully. However innocent or unintentional those words may be, they can still have a negative and enduring effect that is carried through to our adult years.
The more honest I was about my own insecurities, the more people opened up to me about their own. I’ve always held my friends in such high regard; to me they are godly-like creature who have everything good going for them. They are all high achieving, hilarious, beautiful - inside and out. To learn that they have the same insecurities as I do came as a complete surprise to me - I was like “WAIT...WHAAAAT??!!” It got me thinking, does anyone really have their shit together?.. Probably not.. I sure as hell don't, but that’s ok. Whatever our past experiences are, we all have insecurities. It’s how we deal with them that defines us.
I refuse to let my past effect my future so I am making the conscious step in learning to love myself. The first step was meeting a great counsellor, Bridgette, and following her advice to have a course of hypnotherapy - it reduced my anxiety dramatically. As my next step, I am going to start on a Wolf Urban’s 6 week Wellness program with Bridgette and I will be writing about my progress.
Most importantly, if you are experiencing, or have experienced, domestic abuse then don't suffer in silence - there are loads of organisations that will (and want) to help you.
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