self-reflection

I have never been content with myself, on so many levels. The thing which often gets me most upset – when it’s really the one thing that I have no say over, to a certain extent, due to genes – is my physical appearance. I’ve struggled with low self-esteem largely due to a skewed opinion on how I look (and how I respond to eating certain, favorite, foods!). Sometimes I think I’m over-reacting and just need to get over myself and my idea of what I should look like, but other times it really bothers me and uses up so much of my time and energy obsessing. In order to affect much change in this area, I need to spend much of my time exercising, strategizing my meals (without spending too much money), find flattering clothes that fit (again, without spending too much money). It’s a continuous struggle for me, and if I didn’t have to deal with it so much space in my head, in my life, would be freed up. But there’s always something, isn’t there?

The second thing which bothers me to no end is my lack of personality. (pause) Well, maybe that’s a poor choice of words. I guess I just don’t like my personality in general. I’m rather quiet and shy, not the best in social situations. I think I’ve grown a lot in this area thanks to experiences in my life, so many people think I’m friendly (which I do think I am) and outgoing… when really I tend to get stressed and anxious about things involving people. Especially If I don’t know anyone – what will I talk about? I have a sense of humor, but I don’t always have some witty banter to throw around like some people. I don’t have an interesting “career,” so can’t really go anywhere with “what I do for a living” (and I don’t have the time and money to further my education right now). My marriage isn’t the best, with no [immediate] prospects for a family, so there’s not much to share in that respect… I pretty much have to make sure I keep the conversation focused on the other individual, and if it gets to me, I’m ashamed at my lack of substance. I feel the need to apologize for myself – oh, I just clean houses, nothing special; oh, I just went to high school, I didn’t go to college. *nods* Yup, I’m a loser. I think these things, and believe them.

Thirdly, but not necessarily last, is my spiritual depth and maturity. I grew up in a Christian home, so was brought up with certain beliefs. Sometimes growing up in that type of environment serves to strengthen your resolve, your faith – but I feel it may have hindered mine. I went to church (was sent to a Christian elementary school, homeschooled and later a Christian high school) and adhered to a specific mindset because my parents did, it’s what they taught me – I didn’t necessarily believe it for myself. There comes a point when you have to figure out what you believe for youself, and I feel I will *always* be at that point, forever searching, trying to figure out who I am and “what I want to be when I grow up.” There are things I do believe, but I’m not necessarily sure *why*. I couldn’t defend my beliefs or convince someone else they should join me, and that’s scary. I want to be passionate in my faith.

How do you change yourself without changing the things that make you special, unique? For instance, I hate the fact that I’m shy… but I also think it’s good to know when to be quiet, listen to other people. As they say, “it takes all kinds,” and it’s so true. Even though my limitations and perceived faults get me down, I have to remind myself that at least I’m not a cookie-cutter individual, and there are certain things about me that make me ME, that make me special. We are all blessed with different things, different talents.

One of the major ways people unfairly perceive me, is that because I’m shy/quiet, I’m either snobby or in a bad mood. People still throw it in my face, that I’m never in a good mood, just because I don’t always have something to say, or because there’s not a perpetual smile on my face. That just makes it worse, because there’s really nothing I can do about it and it just perpetuates the frustration. So I worry about not only the social situations, but now what people are thinking and perceiving!

I do have a tendency to get depressed about things, and oftentimes people will minimize my feelings. For example – about a certain someone paying too much attention to members of the opposite sex. In these instances, I’m expected to get over it, keep my ideas to myself. My mother especially gives me unrealistic and oftentimes unwarranted advice, expecting me to be perfect. Growing up, if I was ever unhappy about something, my father always used to say, “Just change your thinking! Be happy!” I agree many things are mostly psychological, but your feelings can’t stop and turn on a dime that easily. You can’t just DECIDE that you will now be happy. You can distract, divert, but not just change. Now, when I’m upset about something, I hear his words ringing in my head and I wish I could just cheer up…. but it’s not that easy.

On a slightly different note… people will try to tell me all the good things about me when I go through this list of things that I don’t like about myself. They’ll tell me – but you can cook and clean! Lots of people can’t do that! You have so many talents, you can carry a tune and decorate wedding cakes and make jewelry, yadda yadda yadda. I understand where they’re coming from, but I feel I only know how to do many things to a certain degree, I’m not proficient at any one thing. Yeah, I can carry a tune… but I don’t have a nice voice. Yeah, I can make wedding cakes… but I always need to get help from my mother regarding all the steps and my technique is severely limited. Some people try to tell my that I look good; my father used to say, “but you have such pretty hair!” I cut it all off. I understand that you need to look at the positive, look on the bright side – but oftentimes people just get carried away and don’t really help at all. Sometimes they say good things and I’m not in the right frame of mind to accept what they have to say, but much of the time I just don’t accept it – period – because I’m too fed up with my limitations.

I know I’m hard on myself at times; I don’t know that I’m a perfectionist, per say, though there have been some that call me “anal,” “obsessive-compulsive.” But there are times when I not hard enough! I would love to prove myself wrong, as it were, to grow and change and hopefully become a better person. Most of the time I just want to be rid of the OBSESSING over these things; even if the THINGS THEMSELVES didn’t go away, that would be fine.

inspired by fears departing

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