I have pretty low self esteem; And while I combat this with memes and self indulgence in joking about my hideousness, a lot of the time I’m not joking – I’ve just learned to laugh at my low self esteem instead of wallowing in it. But that doesn’t mean that I ignore it, or can get past it some days. Every day I dry my hands in the work bathroom I look at my side profile and think “Look at that bucket of lard”. Every morning doing my makeup I think “Ugh, double chin”. Every day I doubt my capabilities, my work ability, my reason for existing or why the people around me choose to interact with me. My confidence in myself doesn’t exist.
I manage to push through by looking at myself as a puzzle. A game that I can only get better at. I find work-arounds and I push myself to be better than I was the day before. I find new ways to do my makeup, I find creative ways to dress myself to feel better, I ignore the voice telling me I’m no good.
Laughing at myself has been a mental heath breakthrough. I’ve always been able to laugh at the fact that I’m not “normal” (whatever that is). But learning to laugh in the face of my depression and negative self talk has been life saving. I have photos of myself – truly hideous photos of myself – pinned up on my wall a work where everyone else can see and laugh with me. I rarely take a nice, well angled, smiling photo. I mock the process and indulge in the silliness.
But there are absolutely days where the self talk hits home and I cripple myself. I see the excess flab around my belly, my hips, my chin, and I feel downhearted. I groan and mumble about there not being a (cheap) easy solution to rid these little “problem areas” from my body. I then curse myself for being so lazy, for giving up on myself so many times, for forgetting my healthy meal prep at home and opting for the hot chips at lunch.
Self esteem is such a roller coaster and it’s hard to explain it to people who don’t see their bodies, their personalities, their very being as flawed. Trying to explain self esteem issues to people who love you is just as hard. They know you’re flawed, but they don’t see it. They see the best in you; and they try to make you see the best in you despite the murky lens you see yourself.
I think the trick is listening to the people who love you, and replacing your internal monologue with their voice. Or, if you’re a champion for your friends, and encouraging them all the time, turn THAT in to your internal monologue! What would you say to a friend who was vocalising their self doubt? What would you tell your partner if they were telling you they thought they were rubbish?
Another great tactic I came across is from a fantastic text post:
All credit to the original authors of the text post. It made me laugh, and gives me hope for my self esteem and mental health. I hope it makes a difference to you too, and I hope you know that you are awesome, strong, resilient and wonderful.
Just remember, you’ve survived 100% of the days you’ve faced. You can get through one more day. Stay safe, stay golden. xx