Realising your worth

This is a blog post I wrote a few months ago about realising your self worth. I came across it this weekend and felt that it is still relatable. Enjoy! x

I’ve written versions of this I guess in the form of scribbles on post-it-notes, chalk pen on windows and giving myself the regular pep talk in a mirror or to myself in the shower. Thankfully I live alone so nobody can hear me rambling on. However, I think it is worth sharing.

When you go through school, and even higher education through to university you put all your effort, and I mean all of it, into fitting the mold. Being accepted. Acknowledged. Deemed ‘cool’, or the word in my university years, ’edgy’. Which if you summarise it basically means you dress slightly scruffy, with a hat on the wrong way, and dance to ‘beats’ in the dark in some underground club. Each year group and generation will have their own version of ‘edgy’, but the same principle behind it never changes. There are always individuals who feel the need to bend over backwards for others in order to be accepted. Fixated on meeting the requirements of others that you slack in meeting the needs for yourself. You don’t realise your self worth.

Almost immediately after university I was a nomad. Just traipsing through life unbelievably confused, and trying to get myself back together after the massive fall from university life into the unknown world of being an adult. I tried jobs here and there. The biggest transition was moving back in with your family. You gained independence, and then all of a sudden, it’s gone.  My parents certainly didn’t abide by the rules of being, ‘edgy’, but that didn’t stop me from trying to still please people and be accepted in the new world I was in.

Sadly unbeknown to my younger self, being you is actually okay. I know if somebody told me this when I was 16+ I would simply roll my eyes and carry on trying to dress in garish clothing and go to events that I found mind numbingly boring. However, I can’t stress the importance of knowing how valuable you are. In the ‘real world’, those that fit the mold are dubbed as boring, characterless, average. If there is something different about you, all of a sudden you are like a diamond in the rough. I’m by no means an expert, it is only just coming to my realisation now, and so 23 years of my life has been spent people pleasing.

I just want to share this feeling and almost mantra that I’ve started to live by:

‘Speak to yourself the way

that you would speak to a

loved one’.

I read it somewhere while subconsciously scrolling through Instagram as us millennial's do. It stood out to me. If I spoke to my friends and family the way I speak to myself I certainly don’t think I would be able to call them friends and family anymore.

You look fat’, ‘lose weight’, ‘your roots look terrible’, ‘you have no money’, ‘he won’t find you attractive’, ‘feel ashamed for wearing spanx, you’re the only person that does’, ‘eat less carbs’, ‘people are looking at you when you workout, you sweat too much’, ‘she finds you boring’, ‘I’m so lucky to be with this guy, why would he choose me’, ‘stop eating so fast you fatty’, ‘you sit like the hunch back of Notre Dame’, ‘you’re stupid because you don’t know all the ins and outs of Brexit’, ‘I hadn’t heard of the term ‘mansplaining’ before, therefore I am so stupid’, ‘you’re in-between jobs, how pathetic’, ‘don’t spend that kind of money on makeup, you should be saving’, ‘gosh you look rubbish today, definitely don’t wear that’, ‘god, you have to pretend that you’re listening, you're a terrible person’, ‘your friend won’t call you back or check in on you, that must mean you are meaningless to them’, 'you're back on anti-depressants, what a failure'….

I could carry on for the foreseeable future.

If I said one of those comments to somebody I cared about they surely wouldn’t want me around. So why do I put up with it? A good friend of mine and I were discussing self-love one evening and she had what I thought was a brilliant analogy for the mean voices in your head. She compared the negative thoughts as like having a horrid roommate. You wouldn’t want to live with them after a while if they kept insulting you day and night. You’d either end your tenancy early, or you would decide that you were going to last until the agreement was done and move in with someone much nicer, or indeed live alone. You can trust you.

Sometimes, and this is the truth in my case, it takes really awful situations to make you realise your importance. Going through tough relationships, break ups, family feuds. They all make you into a much stronger and wiser person each time. I now know, that despite my inner core constantly claiming I’m inferior to others, and perfecting this act when I’m socialising to come across as ‘cool’, ‘in the know’ and ‘happy’, I know it’s quite the opposite. Despite feeling low and so out of touch, there is a positive among it all. I now know that I have to look after me. And enjoy me.

It actually angers me now when I look back at how I let some people treat me. But, this all comes with experience. Those that have gone out of their way in the past to lie, ridicule and insult me, will always be them, they won’t ever be like me. Sucks to be them.

I am by no means an expert I still really struggle with ignoring what other people think. I feel that almost every decision I make I’ve already considered about 50 different people’s opinions, and these can be of people I don’t even speak to anymore. And that can be from the most mundane things, such as posting a photograph on Instagram of some flowers from my parent’s garden. ‘Edgy’ people from uni might think I’m lame and have become a grandma. Or if I’m ‘feelin myself’ (I will never be cool enough to use that phrase!), and take what I think is a pretty selfie, I imagine all these past individuals mocking me. In actual fact. So what? There is nothing selfish or wrong in doing something that makes you feel good. Those who truly care about you will always support you and love the things you do for yourself. It only took me good friends to realise this, prior to that being called ‘uncool’, and ‘embarrassing' and receiving judgemental glares across the room were my norm. Would you speak to someone else like that? No? Then why let someone else do the same to you? I’m learning now that by selecting whom I want in my life is in itself a form of self-love.

During a session with a local therapist when I was 21 for low self-esteem (and the rest), she created a really lovely analogy that I hope helps you as much as it did me. Picture yourself on a clunky Greater Anglia service going from your hometown to you don’t know where. All you know is that you’re on it. People will jump on and jump off. Some ride for longer. Some are only there for one stop. Some stay with you until the very end. Similarly, you can put yourself on someone else’s train and as much as you may feel like you need to stay on because they are riding what feels like the equivalent of the Japanese Bullet train, you know that it’s not for you. You will work out that you need to head back over to your temperamental train with chewing gum squelched into the seats and screaming children running up and down the aisles while the overhead speaker lets you know ‘you are now approaching Tottenham Hale’. Who wouldn’t want that over fine dining and traveling 300kmh? It may look and sound incredible but in reality, it’s the exact same principle. Just another train going from A-B. People will come into your life, and they will also leave. The one’s who care for you stay for the entire ride. The person that will always be there for you hogging the window seat is you.

Essentially what I’m trying, and failing to convey is that you need to do things for you. If you enjoy sitting around reading, ordering in a regular takeaway, having a 2hr long bath and keeping the water warm by flicking the hot water tap on with your toes, then that’s great. Simple things that make you feel great are surely worth it? Be the person you want to be, and treat yourself the way that you treat others. Be kind, be supportive and look after yourself. Nobody is going to look back in 5 years time, or even a month’s time and wonder why you had a night in to yourself to relax with a nice face mask and glass of wine, instead of going out binge drinking. Those that care for you will treat you how you treat them, and those are the ones to keep around in your life. Equally, if you feel that you need to distance yourself from individuals that don’t treat you the way that you should be and make you feel rubbish about yourself, that’s also okay. It can be really tough, but remember, you come first.

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