I have been struggling lately with a number of things and I finally decided that it was time to have a “coming to Jesus” talk with myself and a hard look at my emotions and why I was feeling the way that I have been.
You see, on this blog, I try to do a good job of projecting as much positivity as I can, and discuss how I have overcome various struggles… but I am slow to chronicle my struggles when I’m in the thick of them and flailing my arms, trying to find my footing in life.
All of my current struggles in life all stem from one central theme: self-esteem.
My entire life, I have always struggled with depression and low self-esteem. Freudians might speculate that the reason for this stems from crises I encountered in my childhood, with my parents. Perhaps Freudians might be correct, then again, perhaps not. I honestly don’t know where it comes from. But it is a constant daily struggle 24/7/365.
Recently one of my cousins who is an amazing woman was approached to be part of a new blog that is getting ready to launch for divorced moms. Her blog, Sweet Cicily, is an inspiration. Reading her blog makes me happy. I enjoy living vicariously through some of her posts as she talks about her vision board and some of the life experiences she has carved out for herself. She is a beacon of positivity and a woman to be admired.
When I first learned her news, I will admit to being a lot jealous, but when I sat down and examined things, I knew I had no reason to be jealous. She exudes so much self-confidence and self-assurance. I love looking at the various pics she posts of all of the fun things she is experiencing in life, or pics of herself (how many women can muster up the courage to do a pin-up photo shoot and post those pics online for the world to see?). When I’ve thought about doing that sort of thing myself, I become a giant chicken shit. That nasty negative inner voice gets the best of me.
Every. Single. Time.
That nasty negative inner voice will argue with me. “No one wants to see your ugly mug on their computer screen.” “You still haven’t lost your baby weight even though your youngest is nearly 18 months old now – you’re too fat to post pics of yourself.” or my personal favorite, “Do you really think someone else will really even care?”
So, more often than not, I stick to stock photos and generic posts. That is what’s “safe”. And doing that gives me no right to be jealous of her for succeeding. I have no right to be jealous of someone who has the guts to do the things I am too chicken shit to do. Period.
Every once in a while, I try to put myself out there. It is like a beginning swimmer jumping off of a diving board for the first time. I take a deep breath, and despite my inner doubts and fears, I feel the fear and do it anyway. Such was the case recently.
A few months ago, after realizing my birthday would fall on the eve of my family’s annual family reunion, I put the word out that I wanted to go out for my birthday. My thought was that the relatives coming in from out of town could celebrate with me, perhaps I’d have all of my kids at some point or another, and we could have a lot of fun. Not long after that, I learned of plans that some folks close to me had made to do something fun together, out of town, that same weekend.
I took it personally.
I was crushed. Their plans fed right into my insecurities and right into that nasty, negative inner voice that I keep trying to strangle. That nasty negative inner voice had an absolute field day with that knowledge. “See, you knew no one cared! Now you have proof!” “Did you really think anyone would want to spend your birthday with you anyway? It’s not like you’re 7 and need parties and candles and a cake every year anymore.”
Needless to say, when I voiced the hurt I felt, it only made the situation worse. Now, on top of choosing to do something else the same weekend as my birthday and the family reunion, I was now on the receiving end of white hot anger and accusations of being childish for feeling hurt. After we were able to talk through it a few days later, we were able to come to a better understanding of one another and what had happened. I took the actions of these other people personally, but their choice of weekend plans had nothing to do with me, nor was it a deliberate attempt to take a proverbial swipe at me or snub me. Those plans had been made six months prior and it just happened to be coincidence that it fell on the same weekend as my birthday.
Why do I continually do this to myself?
I’ve realized what a double standard I hold myself to. It is more than okay for others to put themselves out there – post pics of themselves and their wonderful life experiences – but not for me because no one will care. It is okay for others to speak up and make a claim on something they want, but it is impossible for me to do the same. It is wonderful when others speak up and demand to be treated respectfully, but I often allow myself to be treated as a doormat by some.
That nasty negative inner voice is extremely destructive. Does anyone have a bazooka? I think it is time to blow that bitch up!
How has that nasty negative inner voice prevented you from being the person you want to be? Do you also hold yourself to a double standard? Let me know in the comments below!