Ideas come to me in some weird ways. I’m either washing my hair, driving or pacing in my house with a glass of wine or tea and rolling thoughts around in my head until I can piece something together. It’s a little neurotic, it makes me stay up way too late and drive around way too far, but I’m actually thankful for a lot of these “mind rants” and what they’ve taught me about myself.
Today was one of those days when I was thinking about my future, how some of my relationships are ending now that I’m moving, how some that have ended are trying to start again, my relationship patterns, and what I think (and hope) my relationships will be in the future.
I’m a little standoffish when it comes to being close. It’s not that I don’t like people or that I’m not friendly, it’s that I really don’t trust people to care about me unconditionally. I feel like most of what I have had in the past is very conditional and always perched precariously on the edge; waiting for me to shove it off with one word, action, or by the mood of another person. I’ve watched my closest relationships die and fade away, and I’ve just now started new ones that I hope are going to be fulfilling and last.
Those new relationships though are not coming easy for me because of how I see myself. I don’t hate myself like I used to, I seriously used to tell myself that I hated myself in the mirror before going to school (talk about self-love amirite?) I thought I wasn’t attractive, that I had an annoying personality, I was too needy, etc. I couldn’t get anything right in my own eyes and thought I couldn’t in anyone else’s either. Later when I started feeling a little better about myself and being more positive I thought that I had somehow “fixed” my problem. I had proof then; I can make eye-contact most of the time), I don’t need sunglasses or earphone when walking through crowds, I can go places on my own, I can make friends and actually make plans with those friends and establish relationships. Things I couldn’t bring myself to do or that terrified me before.
What I’ve come to realize though, is that there’s always something missing…and I realized over time (and with counselling) it’s still my self-esteem and self-worth. It doesn’t matter that I know that I am a capable person (in the relationship arena) when I still feel like my feelings and experiences don’t matter to my closest of friends. This isn’t even their fault, I’ve finally picked people who treat me really well unconditionally well even. I mean, graphic, but true, one of my best friends has seen my way too drunk and emotional, held back my hair and put me to bed and then made me coffee in the morning… (So glad I only vaguely remember some of this, when I woke up I was mortified…in my defense, I said I couldn’t take any more shots.) My other new friend has been there for me when I’ve been really irritated and when I started being a lot more open with my feelings with no judgement whatsoever, only saying supportive things and being very understanding.
I’m there for them too, but I know part of me is missing, the part where I actually can rely on them and trust them to be there for me when I need them. Which I know isn’t fair, they haven’t done anything for me to feel this way, it’s how I view myself.
When I started to realize I had a self-image problem I Thought it could only affect me. I needed to work on it so I could lead a fulfilling life and enjoy the time I have. As I’ve started branching out into more relationships, however, I realize that I’m not the only victim of my low self-esteem, so are the people who love me.
It doesn’t matter how much they do, or how much they tell me they care about me or they understand me, I can’t feel that connection and the distance are actually palpable…even hurtful to some extent. I can tell them how much I appreciate and love them (I really do), but this is something that holds me back from having truly fulfilling relationships with others and for them to have truly fulfilling relationships with me as well.
This is true even in the dating arena, I have yet to date someone I actually shared an emotional bond with even though I’ve been in relationships. I’ve ruined opportunities with people who wanted to care about me and wanted to be there for me, but because I couldn’t see it, I blew it and probably have really hurt feelings when I didn’t mean to.
My self-esteem journey has taken quite a few turns, but I think this is probably the most important thing that I have learned, you really do have to find some way of loving yourself to accept the love from people around you. There are people around you that love you and want relationships with you just because you are you, not in spite of. They really do exist (My mind=blown). I’ve spent a lot my life thus far thinking that I am unlovable because I was listening to the wrong people and I’ve let jade me to the point that even when it’s right in front of my face I doubt it and push people away that really want to be there. I’ve shifted from my self-esteem being a me-centred issue to something that is really an everyone-I-care-about-in-relationship-with-me issue, and you know the truth is? We all deserve something better.
Low self-esteem is a liar. There isn’t anything we can’t accomplish or anything we are less deserving of than anybody else. We deserve great relationships with people we love and that love us; and as much as we want them to know we love and appreciate them, we owe them to accept that love back. To let them know that how they feel about us and how well they treat us is truly felt and that their love is strong enough for us to feel.