I’ve become a different person, or that I always was, deep down. For the longest time I was broken, insecure, and full of doubt about everything. Any time I was out I was worrying about what other people thought and whether they thought i should be there or not. My whole world was like that in the grips of my mother. Every little thing I did I was aware of and I shook with fear the the inevitable criticism and anger directed my way. My father did it too. I cannot really recall a time where I was actually complimented on anything. “Don’t eat the third burrito. You always do everything backwards” (I’m left-handed). My mother used to say things like, “No one will ever love you the way that you are” and “None of your friends really actually LIKE you.” This lead to a devastating self-esteem issue for me. To me, my father was letting me know that he was concerned about me becoming too fat, therefore a bad reflection on him, and awkward. On the other hand, my mothere was telling me that I was basically unlovable (She did actually say that once), which was just enough from both sides to make me believe it.
I went through life believing these things, that I would never be good enough for anyone, especially if I was slightly overweight, that my personality and my heart would never be enough to gain any type of companionship, and that I’ve never been pretty enough. I walked around with me head down because practically everything I did was wrong in my mother’s eyes. I walked on eggshells to not invoke her anger and did everything I could to make her happy; it was never going to be good enough. The more I gave of my heart, soul, personality, dreams, and efforts, the more power she had over me. I was a prisoner of her sick mind and I didn’t think that I would ever get out. To this day, I still have to swat away thoughts, like obnoxious no-see-ums, swarming around my head that embody her snide remarks about myself.
There are times when I’m hanging out with friends, they say something nice about me, and I’m immediately caught off guard. I am stilll astounded when people say that they love me. It makes me want to cry sometimes, to have ever thought that I wasn’t worth of another’s love, that nothiing about me was good enough for other people to admire or enjoy. There is a friend that I have that said once that I was hard to love. This is the same person who also said that I have been through so much and still managed to keep my integrity intact, which says a lot about a person. I know now that that comment about being hard to love was just her projecting, it has nothing to do with me. She has a preconceived notion of how I should be and refuses to acknowledge how I deal with anxiety and occassional depression. I won’t accept that kind of talk anymore. She only says that beause I don’t meet her expectations; I don’t have to do that for anyone. All that matters now is to meet my own expectations and to not be too hard on myself if I fall short.
A lare part of me feels like she tears me down a bit just to think better of herself and I’m not about to be someone’s conduit for self-esteem anymore. Self-esteem should come from yourself, otherwise it’s manufactured from someone else’s pain, and that’s not something that should make anyone feel powerful. Healthy power comes from unconditional love and acceptance. You have to meet people exactly where they are and foster that in order to build the trust that it would take to be themselves unabashedly, and subsequentially flourish. After all, expectations of another are your own and not the will of the other. That is not loving toward another person, to impose your will onto them. It’s more kind and supportive to simply accept a person as they are and make them feel as if they can be themselves without worrying how you’ll react to it. To me that is love, to accept everything about a person because your love for them does not come from them fulfiling the expectation of who or how they should be or what you think they should do, you just love them because they are them.
It took me until was about 33 to figure this out and every once in a while I have temporary amnesia. This was only one year after going no contact with my mother. I hardly see my father at all either because he and his girlfriend can be so critical. I just feel like it has to be said, that I’m finally comfortable in my own skin and that I know that I can be loved, so there is no more anxiety when it comes to how anyone feels about me. I know now that another’s acceptance or rejection of me has more to do with them and not myseelf; I have no control over that. I can however control how I think and speak to myself. I am beautiful. I am lovable. I am amazing.
I hope that you can always feel the same way about yourself too, no matter how much anyone has torn you down. We should all be here to build one another up. That’s the route that I choose to take. Choose your journey well.