I have spent most of this morning (and in fact most of the last couple of days) feeling pretty down and miserable. I haven't been feeling the best about myself the last couple of weeks, as I haven't really bounced back from getting dumped a couple of weeks ago. I guess I've been sulking a bit. Then something happened this weekend, which made me realise that there's another relationship in my life that's pretty toxic too, and was making me feel rubbish.
Those two things on top of each other, have well and truly pummelled my self-esteem into the ground. I took the brave step (after a short delay) of ending that second relationship myself to save myself some longer term pain and I'm glad I did because I've known for a while I needed to but couldn't find the willpower to do it.
What both of those events have made me realise is this though: other people don't care for me enough to either put me first. Ok, painful. But that eventually led me to another realisation: I don't care for me enough to make other people feel the same.
I just don't like myself. There's bits I don't mind, I'll grant you, but there's far more I dislike.
I know from my councelling last summer, that part of this boils down to the double standards I apply to myself and the world - the ones for me are far, far stricter. I thought I'd started to move past that, but I guess I've backslid some. The other part though, is pure and simple that there are aspects of myself and my life that I. Just. Don't. Like.
So, what do you do when you feel like that?
Option A is sit and wallow. Feel miserable, and pity myself. Whine to my friends (my dear ever-patient friends), and drive them away. Have people respect me even less.
You know? While that might be tempting, it doesn't sound like it'll be fun for more than about 5 minutes. And whatever else I am, I'm generally a fighter.
So that leaves Option B. Option B is to figure out how to like myself a bit more. Not an easy task to be sure, but I'm convinced that doing something will feel better than doing nothing.
It turns out that the internet is a wealth of information on this type of stuff. A quick google reveals pages of articles and blogs and general scribblings on the subject of liking yourself and building self-esteem.
There seem to be lots of ways to approach it, but generally they seem to fall into 3 categories:
- Focus on what you do like about yourself. Make a list, write it down, appreciate the good stuff, and stop worrying about the rest. Sounds a bit like denial to me.
- Focus on what you don't like (yeah, I'm good at that), but do something about it. Make a list, write it down, but turn into a To Do list and work at improving those things. Hmmmm, confrontational and scary.
- Scare yourself. Apparently self-esteem is very closely linked to self-respect, so the act of doing something scary and conquering it bolsters your self-respect, and by default your self-esteem. Ummmm - I'm not sure I like scary things.
That's kind of as far as I've got with the thought processes so far .... a committment to trying to something, even if I'm not quite sure where to start yet.