Last July, I started blogging about self-esteem growth. I was in a very dark place last summer. I had been working in a stressful environment for months and had been entertaining unhealthy friendships that toyed with my emotions and had me questioning my self worth. Then I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and out of this arose the worst bout of situational depression I’ve ever had. I changed jobs and I don’t know how, but I managed to continue going to work every day. I remember going to the bathroom at work, looking at myself in the mirror and having the darkest thoughts possible.
An appointment with a therapist led me to start taking the idea of self-esteem a bit more seriously. I didn’t view myself as being someone with low self-esteem but then why was I feeling the way that I did? Why couldn’t I separate the idea of my own self worth from the expectations and opinions of those I loved? I explained to the therapist aspects of relationships that I found difficult, the exchanges that tended to get me down. She said that by working on developing a greater self-esteem and security in myself, I would get to a place where these things wouldn’t upset me anymore – because I’d be alright on my own. The idea of being stronger in relationships appealed to me because the way I was brought up conditioned me to be the opposite.
So when I was handed a laminated piece of paper detailing 12 steps we can take to increase our self esteem, I decided to utilise it to the best of my ability by modelling a blog around it. Not only was I trying to become stronger in relationships, I was trying to increase my creativity and productivity with regards to music – which is my biggest passion. In between writing about steps to self esteem growth, I also wrote more generalised posts about music, anxiety, enmeshment and parenting. This really boosted my confidence about my writing and I got some really great feedback from lovely people here on WordPress.
One of the most important things I learned throughout this journey was to trust my own intuition, especially in love. I also learned that people’s reactions to you don’t necessarily define your self worth.
I’ve had relationships with people, romantic and otherwise, wherein the other person has anger management issues. For a long time, I believed that any sort of outburst on their end was directly because of me. Not only that I’d caused it but that I was deserving of them lashing out. It’s been a process but I started to learn that this wasn’t necessarily the case. I had a lightbulb moment a few months ago while I was receiving telephone counselling: you can take responsibility for a lot of things but you can’t take responsibility for other people’s actions.
This realisation has allowed me to retain a sense of objectivity in the face of conflict which has been very helpful for me. Automatically assuming blame in difficult situations is a detriment to self esteem.
Writing as a creative outlet is an aspect of myself that is very much separate from romantic relationships. This is one of the things that I like about music, too. I remember the rapper Nicki Minaj saying something about how music is something that makes her feel good on her own, without the need for a man’s approval and I totally relate to this. Writing has been another way for me to assert myself irrespective of those close to me. If loved ones support my writing, that’s great – but the growth and confidence that has arisen out of my writing has not been because of them. It’s been important for me to increase my self-esteem separately from those close to me because it was the opinions of these people and my attachment to them that had been holding me back.
Growing up, I was always desperate for approval and I couldn’t truly feel good about anything I’d done until I received it. Craving approval and acceptance in this way means that you do not give yourself the permission to be proud of yourself. Instead you feed off of the reactions of other people. This also includes negative reactions. We all do this to a certain extent and it’s natural but it becomes unhealthy when it is at the expense of your own concept of self worth, independent of other people. Blogging about self-esteem and practicing ways of increasing it has nurtured my sense of self worth and revealed to me what it means to be truly confident; even if I still don’t feel this way all the time.
Soon after I started blogging, I made my third attempt at higher education. My first two attempts were dashed by the onset of depression, loneliness and low self-esteem. I’m happy to say that I’ve finished my college course in pharmacy and that I made it through the whole year with no resits. This is a massive accomplishment to me. It was an incredibly busy and demanding year but having my one day off a week which I dedicated to blogging was so great. I’m proud of myself that I managed to keep it up for the whole year – that sort of discipline was something that was quite new to me. It’s been a good reminder that we create our reality and that past habits do not need to define us. I watched a livestream on Instagram today of a therapist called Celeste Viciere where she said that as long as we are breathing we are able to change.
That’s one of the main things I’ve learned about myself on this self-esteem journey – my ability to grow and affect positive change in my life. Going through a break up and having things turn quite toxic was a good opportunity (albeit a difficult one) to put my self-esteem and self permission to the test. Giving ourselves the permission to move on and be happy when someone we loved isn’t granting us it themselves is difficult. But I did it. I went on dates, I had fun, I laughed, I opened myself up to new opportunities with music and allowed myself to be excited about them. I’ve had to work with feelings of guilt but something that has kept me levelheaded is to remember that someone who truly loves me will want me to be happy, even if it is without them. And if they don’t – forget them.
And something else has happened which I didn’t expect or intend – I met someone very beautiful who I really care about. It’s very early days but I’ve never gotten on with someone so well or had someone be so accepting of me. It’s a beautiful thing to see that life has many twists and turns that we could never predict and that after a storm could come so much joy and hope.
“This was the music that rose from the place in every conscience where lucidity is paid in pain and loss, where hope springs from the ruins of illusion, and where life, like a creeper vine, twists and turns to reveal fresh new blossoms. In spite of the ruins. In spite of the lies.” – Duong Thu Huong, Beyond Illusions
I hope my blogging about self-esteem has also been of benefit to others. I initially started it for myself but some feedback I’ve gotten has shown me that my writing as allowed others to be more self reflective which is fantastic to hear! Moving forward with the blog, I’d like to do a mini series about manifestation. This is something that is very new to me but it’s something I’m going to take seriously to manifest the sort of reality I want. Expect this mini series very soon!
Apologies for the lack of posts the past 2 weeks. I just finished up for college last week and then moved back to Shetland to start full time work straight away! Now that I’m back into a more normal working week, I will have more time for blogging.
Thank you so much for reading!
– SMUT. ❤ xxxx