Archives for Self Worth
In the last few weeks I've been exploring the topic of embracing ourselves as we are---and actually letting others see us. The real us. Beautiful and bruised. Shattered and standing. Flawed. Vulnerable. A multitude of contradictions and hues. People with rich, painful pasts. People who've struggled, messed up, loved, lost, abandoned, been abandoned, triumphed, failed. People who've tried on different identities as teens and young adults. People who are still trying to figure ourselves out.
"Being someone we are not is nearly a guarantee for unhappiness," according to Christine Selby, Ph.D, a psychologist in Bangor, Maine. And these words couldn't be more accurate. After all, happiness happens when we create a life based on our values, a life that is meaningful, that includes activities that fulfill us, surrounded by people who truly understand us. Which are all things that we don't exactly do when we wear a mask. Or two. Or three.
Is it easy for you to be kind to yourself? If you're like many people, the answer is a big, clear-cut no. It's not easy at all. Instead you're more used to berating yourself. Instead you're more used to criticizing your every move. To being impatient. To minimizing your struggles. To minimizing yourself.
You have to organize your paperwork. You have to scrub the tub. You have to wash the dishes. You have to fold the laundry and start a new load. You have to make dinner and pack lunches. You have to hang up that picture. It's been leaning against the wall for months. You have to check your bank account. You have to buy that thing. Stop. Just stop.
Do you feel bad for wanting to nap in the middle of the day? Do you feel bad for wanting to set a certain boundary---like telling your friend to stop commenting on your weight? Or telling your in-laws to call before "stopping by?" Or like saying 'no' to something, to anything?
Every day, we face many annoyances that only weigh us down. Annoyances that sink our energy and our mood. Annoyances that genuinely affect us. Annoyances that take time and attention away from what really matters to us. We assume there's absolutely nothing we can do. And sometimes, acceptance is our best bet. But other times we can get creative. Other times we can become intolerant (in a good way, of course).
Our inner worlds are rich, vibrant, fertile. We sometimes forget this as we try to check off tasks, as we run around, as we focus on our full, busy lives. So it's understandable that we might not spend much time in self-reflection.
We fill ourselves with food. Food that we don't savor. Food that we barely even taste. We fill ourselves with alcohol. Too much alcohol. Parties. Endless gatherings and events. People who are critical, maybe even cruel. We fill ourselves with new clothes, new shoes, new trinkets, meaningless objects we don't need or even enjoy. And yet we still feel empty. Hollow. Depleted. Under-nourished. Maybe even starving or gasping for air.