When I was young I was constantly being told how I didn’t measure up. Not in anything. And to make matters worst basically all my social interactions were not good and that was made to be okay because I started to believe that I was worthless as well. It was difficult being judged and critized not only from the outside world but having to make myself believe it as well so that I could cope with my relationships. I had to make myself believe what people were telling me so I could maintain our relationships and at the end of the day we could relay how inadequate I was. What my young mind never fully grasped; however, is that people could treat me horribly but in making myself believe their statements I would have to think about it 24/7/11. I was constantly negative and sad and unfulfilled. I couldn’t understand what was wrong with myself.
But as time changed so did some of my interactions and by not receiving the negativity from all sides I was able to break free from it. However, after that I found myself in a conundrum. With eliminating some very toxic relationships I realized that there was no longer constant scorn from others…It was now mainly coming from myself. And though this whole rollercoaster had started because other people brought me down constantly now I had to accept that I was doing the same thing. In realizing my hand in my own disparity I chose to make changes to myself. By goodness I would start liking myself!
It started off with positive comments when I looked at myself in the mirror. I wasn’t going to cry any longer after looking at myself. This was challenging for a long time because it would be one nice comment followed by 5 negative ones but eventually I could do it without being negative! I also got my PCOS diagnosis around this time and decided to make a change for the better! I was able to loose quite a bit of weight and was more fit than I had been previously. During this time I was also upgrading my grades from High School and was accepted within my current educational program which proved to myself and to others that I was smarter than a doorknob.
Improvements were not noticeable immediately. And to be completely honest I don’t think I’d realized how far I’d come from that negative place until I was in my second year of school and could look at myself and think “you know what I look and feel good”. I had improved my psyche so that I was no longer hurting myself with undeserved scorn, I loved my body (which I had never done even when I was smaller), and I could accept myself. All components of myself. And be okay with the fact that no I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. And though I strive for perfection in certain avenues I do not have to achieve 100% to see an improvement or to make strides forward. Sometimes a 75% or even a 30% difference in your behaviour can garner a big payoff!
With that being said I can say that I am a self-assured and happy individual. However, this is where things get sticky. You see all that time I spent making improvements to myself and my own self-perception were just that on myself. During that time I basically became socially stagnant and it wasn’t a big deal because I still had friends. Until they started disappearing as well. And I suspect that since I never worked to improve how I felt in context of others and their perceptions of me that things got worst. Worst because for so much of my life others had scorned me. And after I let people become close to me they quickly faded away for self-motivated reasons.
This leads to this odd situation in which I am completely secure with myself but baffled by how others may perceive me. I am still in that area where I believe they view me negatively and will hurt me. Though I shouldn’t feel this way I am simply unsure of what others expect of me or what they see when they look at me. Generally, I feel like a sack of potatoes in social settings hobbling along ungracefully through minimal social exposure.
The funniest thing is that this fear of others perceptions of me is selective. It’s not always (i.e. interactions with professors), adults that seem older/more mature, or with work. However, make me interact with a group of people my age and I am a fish out of water flopping around gasping for that last bit of oxygen before I end up sliced, diced, and crumb coated fish stick. And I will invariably end up feeling like Jabba of the Hutt in that social situation.
I do not think it was bad for me to work on myself because my confidence and acceptance of myself were very much needed. However, I think there needs to be an improvement even if it is a little one in how I think others perceive me. As I am almost certain that I more negative in how I think others view me than they actually do in reality.