Things were bad for a while. I had no real reason for things to feel bad. Complaining about being sad seems silly when my postcard-perfect family always have my back, and I’m just finishing my 16th year of education.
But who I am to judge myself? I felt bad, and that’s okay.
I would describe it as my mind becoming infected; a fever of negative thoughts that I couldn’t shake. Nothing was going wrong, but everything about me seemed wrong. I have never been so consumed with self-judgement and self-consciousness as I was this term. Going anywhere – the bus, the library, anywhere – became a chore as everyone around me would be a model on whom to compare my inadequacy. Every girl was prettier and every boy too good for me. Everyone was getting better grades and seemed generally to be coping with life much better that I.
It became this terribly twisted, introspective battle and wherever I looked, I just wasn’t good enough.
A couple of weeks ago I took a step away from myself. Like stepping out of an overcrowded, suffocating box and observing from the outside for a change. The air is much cleaner from out here.
I listening to a lot of Ted Talks and started an inward chant of (oh boy) ‘you’re doing okay’. I started to be kinder to myself, something I feel like we, as a species, are awful at. The thing about self-worth is you think you only deserve it when you’ve reached the level of goodness you want to be at. So, we keep fighting ourselves and criticising ourselves, but it’s terrible difficult to reach your goal with someone shouting ‘lazy’ and ‘fat’ and ‘unkind’ right into the depths of your mind.
Just like playing music through headphones into our ears, our thoughts consume our minds and block out all other noise. They become our world and it tends to be the terrible songs that get stuck and we unwittingly play them on repeat until the sickly and unwanted lyrics have carved themselves onto our brain’s nerve endings.
Don’t stay plugged into these thoughts. They are not you’re world, only a minimalised version of it which has been so cut up and mis-shaped that they don’t resemble who you are, and how other people actually regard you.
Humans tend to love dangerously quickly; our friends, family, significant others, any dog that we might see in the park. We override the terrible qualities of others, make excuses for them, and highlight why we love them, rather than why we shouldn’t. And yet, almost baffling, we do the exact opposite to ourselves.
Every since I turned on myself and demanded more self-respect, things have got better.