I suppose I’ve known this for some time now, but it hasn’t become so frustrating until lately: I am so hidden from people and so apologetic toward them, left alone to contend with my increasingly chaotic and self-deprecating internal dialogue.
There is no circumstance, no misfortune, no reason really that I feel so small. There is no reason my unnecessary, incessant, internal banter should be allowed to annoy anyone other than myself. So I keep it locked up.
I wish I could shut off my negative mantra concerning self worth altogether, but it feeds itself:
“You’re doing fine, you have nothing to complain about. You have everything you need, and most things that you want. Shame on you for still wanting more.”
“But if I’m already good, why can’t I be the best? Why can’t I be prettier, be nicer, be more motivated, be less uncertain? I have to compare how well I do things with how other people are to know where I stand…why is she so much nicer? Why is she so much prettier? Well her personality probably sucks. And why are his grades so good? At least I do so many more meaningful things with my time.”
“Why am I so judgmental and mean?”
“I should just stop considering myself altogether, how I’m viewed and how I am relative to others, and instead just channel love and positivity to others… be selfless… “
But that last method of thinking is no proper conclusion. More and more I have been realizing what a lie I have been telling myself. I cannot simply neglect my sense of self entirely, or else every time I return to it, it is still at a stagnant negative state. It causes me to need other people around me to fill my void of positivity, to bring me to a good mood. Simply put, I have resorted to using people for selfish means in my attempt to be selfless; I have been made so small in my own eyes that it is only with the reassurance of other people that I can be substantial.
Recently, in multiple cases, I have been told that I seem optimistic, kind, put together, confident, content, …..And I am that way – to you. I’m not putting on a front, and I’m not pretending to be any of these things. But I am these things to you, yet only a few or none of these things when I am alone. I am perfectly fine when I can focus my attention and thoughts externally, but when I return to myself, I wither. I can hardly think of a single thing about myself with which I am satisfied, so I crave the constant reassurance that I can instead turn my energy toward others.
This causes me to say “sorry” again and again in attempts to excuse my neediness. Whenever I try to make plans, I do it while thinking “I’m so sorry to take up your time. I know you would rather spend it with someone else,” and whenever plans get cancelled, I think, “that’s another person I can never reach out to again, because they’ll probably have better things to do.” At the same time, I feel that I am probably busier than them, and if I can afford to spend time with them, surely they can with me. And the fact that they won’t indicates the complete undesirability of my presence. These are all automatic thoughts, even though I know that, logically, they are probably not entirely true.
Yet these pulling and pushing feelings of perpetual inferiority and superiority are not without reason as I had so adamantly told myself for so long. I am finally coming to terms with the fact that I have been imbued with the practice of self-comparison having done it so consistently since childhood, and I have been heavily affected by abuse and misuse of my trust and affection. My tanked sense of self worth is not due to an inherently weak and self-absorbed character, but having been conditioned by past experiences to believe that I am not, and will never be, as good; that I am annoying; that how I like to spend my time is a waste of time; that I am wrong to question and ramble; that my uncertainty is unnecessary; that I should be and have done so much more by now given my uncountable blessings…
I am still searching for, and hoping that I have, the ability to self validate and salvage my self worth and not have its current condition continue to gnaw at me, further disabling the self I perceive from reconciling with the self I become around others.