Loving Yourself: Another Deeply Personal Post. Tread Carefully. Thank You.

Pain

Now and then, I get a brief spurt of high self-esteem.

It was during one of these waves that I wrote the post “Anthem For Misfits”. One person even commented to tell me how proud she was of me, and I felt proud of me, too.

And then…I fell. The next post I wrote was about how scared and insecure I am. These bursts of fervor come and go, and when I hit a low point, I go very, very low.

Overall, I am a very insecure person. Right now, I’m screaming at myself for writing so poorly while trying to convey my suffering. Right now, I’m berating myself for using the word “I” so many times, and using this blog as a personal dumping ground for my issues. I’m afraid to appear like I’m whining. I’m afraid people sneer at such self-preoccupation, because I know in the end we’re all inherently selfish, and it’s hard to bother about other people’s woes.

But tonight, I’m going to keep on writing. Because I know someone out there, in spite of the self-centered attitude of this post, in spite of the horrific writing (the words flow out without any filter, I don’t press the backspace button for these types of posts unless it’s to fix the spelling) will be able to relate.

I know some of you out there care about me, purely through the glimpses of my soul you have seen through my writing, and those of you astound me – truly, for someone who has struggled with low self-esteem all her life, and has felt unlovable for many years, I am gobsmacked by your care and kindness. I can’t even begin to convey my gratitude; I feel that if I tried, I’d just start crying, crying, the kind of crying that makes your heart squish and contract in pain.

Deep within me is a gaping maw of unworthiness. No matter how hard I try, deep down, I still feel very, very worthless as a human being. I feel inferior to everyone I meet. I criticize myself ruthlessly, a constant barrage of negative self-talk, and only now am I starting to realize the true extent of my own destructive thinking.

Honestly, I’m not sure where these feelings of unworthiness started. Perhaps it was in primary school, when I was bullied by a group of beautiful girls, who giggled and taunted me and made me feel low and small and ugly. I don’t think I’m ugly anymore. I know I’m not ugly. In fact, I’ve grown more beautiful as I’ve grown older. Facially, I can laugh and say I’m pretty, but deep down, a little gremlin sneers and says, in a gravelly voice, “Really? You, beautiful? Look at those other girls.”

It partially has to do with growing up Asian in Australia, as the ideal standard of beauty over here is a Caucasian woman, preferably with a tanned, sexy body, and blonde hair and blue eyes. I love my Asian heritage, and wouldn’t want to look any other way, but have to work extra hard to maintain my self-esteem when bombarded with images of white beauty by the media every single day. It’s one of the reasons I cut television out of my life altogether – the lack of diversity was starting to sicken me – and why I even change the lyrics of some of the songs I sing, such as describing “green eyes” as “dark eyes” instead, to be more racially inclusive.

Piled on top of this is my idealism, my introversion, my eccentricity, my desire to help and care and trust and love, love, love. Even I scoff at how sweet and sentimental I can be sometimes, pausing along my walk to smile at a pigeon pecking at the grown, or showering a surprised friend with excessive motivation and compliments and love, just to have someone to lavish the contents of my heart upon, when she simply remarked that she was “feeling blue”. I know I should love this part of me, this part of me that’s so nice, and so wants to be nice, but mostly I feel it’s taken for granted, and repulses people in its enthusiasm. Then, I just shrink into myself, and weep in my heart.

Oh, and for those of you who have asked to email me. I would love to, but if I accepted one, I’d have to accept every single one, if only to be fair, and I don’t think I’d be able to handle it. Nevertheless, what I’m typing right now in this post is exactly what I would write to you; though perhaps a little shorter, for fear of boring you.

You know. I know I say this a lot, but I so desperately want to LOVE. I want to love every creature under the sun. Kiss birds. Hug bullied children. Wipe tears from the faces of those who have lost their loved ones, commiserate in the shared experience of being human and feeling pain and being so fragile and yet so strong and yet so hurting. I want to know their sorrows and their woes.

It’s one of the reasons this blog has made me so happy – your loving comments, and the love I hopefully give you in return, has allowed me to expend some of my deep and untapped affection. I love you. We’re all human. We all harbor secret pains in our heart, and are lonely when we close our eyes to sleep at night. I love you, from the bottom of my heart. No matter what race, what gender, no matter how you look, how much money you earn, I don’t care! I love you. Look at you. You’re a living creature, and you’re marvelous.

Now why can’t I say that to myself?

Why can’t I be so loving and nice to myself? It’s as if all my love is fighting to be freed out into the world, while where it is truly needed is back at home. I need to start loving myself the way I love people from afar, and it’s so hard. It’s like walking in reverse: strange, alien, awkward. The boy I was talking about in my last post? I’m sure I’ve repulsed him with my coldness, and it eats away at me, because I want to get to know him so badly, but I can’t seem to take the first step, and I haven’t had the opportunity to in quite a while. However, the next time I see him alone, without a group of friends of judge me, I’m going to talk to him; even if I’m shaking in my boots, I’m going up to him and I’m facing my fears of rejection and repulsion and I’m going to talk to him.

In the end, in order to love myself, I have to face the battened down child within me who was bullied for a few days at school, many, many years ago. Bullying is always terrible, but for a quiet, sensitive, shy child as I was when I was six, seven, they might as well have stabbed me with knives and left me to bleed in a crimson pool. I can still remember their faces. Their eyes shiny with condescension. So much bigger and better than me. So much stronger, standing over me. I’m not going to cry, writing this. I promised myself I wouldn’t. Often, I just use tears to pity myself, and I’m not going to do that anymore; self-pity does nothing.

Action. I need to take action, and take control of my life.

I need to hug the sad child within myself and tell her she is worthy, that she is beautiful, that she deserves to have friends who understand, that she is a good, competent human being. That she deserves to be loved. My eyes misted then, but I didn’t cry. Kept my promise. I always do. I always try to keep my promises, and I try so hard, I try so hard at pleasing people. I try so hard I loathe myself for my own desperation. I can’t be secure and bold and confident and cocky – that simply isn’t in my nature.

I can only be quietly secure in myself, once I regain my self-esteem, and I know, I know I will. Once I stop cowing inside every time I smile at someone and they don’t smile in return, every time I greet someone and their eyes stay cold while their lips stretch, every time I walk towards a group of people and they turn their gaze and avoid me, once I can brush off slights, I know I’ll be okay. That I’m truly brave and strong. Not just a lost little girl deathly afraid of people disliking her.

And I’m going to talk to that boy.

He may not be my soul mate, he may be nothing, he may be a jerk, he may treat me with derision, he may be indifferent towards me while I’ve already built our wedding in my head, already pictured him picking out books for me at the bookshop and us making dinner together in our cozy little kitchen, but I don’t care. I’ll talk to him, and after that I’ll sigh and pat the head of the little girl inside me and say, “See? It wasn’t so bad. It’s just talking. They can’t hurt you. Only you can hurt you. Understand?”

Yes. I’m going to talk to him.

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10 thoughts on “Loving Yourself: Another Deeply Personal Post. Tread Carefully. Thank You.

  1. I needed to hear this today. Sometimes I read your posts and feel like you and I are kindred spirits living on different continents. Thank you for putting your feelings out there and giving me and others like me someone to finally relate with.

  2. Your turn of phrase always shocks me with how good it is. Your a brilliant writer and you seem like a wonderful person. Good luck on talking to that boy, I’ll have my fingers crossed for you!
    I’ve been bullied too, but instead of putting all my love into the world while saving nothing for myself, I do almost the opposite. I do my best to focus my attention on myself and try to love people, even my best friends, from afar. Strangers scare the fuck out of me, so I ignore them, even if they’re friendly. It makes me selfish and aloof, but at least I can’t hurt myself.

    • Thank for reading, and you’re kind words. Our beings are shaped through our scars. My love for the world tends to seep out in small, sudden bursts, and the rest of the time I have a tendency, like you, to wall myself from the world. It’s a defense mechanism. How grand and loving a society it would be, if everyone had our hearts (that sounds rather self-centered, but it’s true).

  3. Is it an INFP thing to fall ‘in love’ with a guy you don’t really know? To fall in love with the idea of him; an image that you have spent daydreams constructing in your mind.
    I was infatuated with a boy for the whole of 2014. I have never spoken to him before and sometimes I even questioned if I even liked him in that way. I would challenge myself to identify one ‘trait’ that I found attractive in him; and came up with very little. Yet I spent my days obsessing over him; I would arrive early for class to make sure I sat near him. In my mind I had rehearsed our first conversation a million times but I could never pluck the courage to even ask to borrow a pencil.
    I have high levels of anxiety which leads to insomnia so the doctor prescribed Zolpidem to help me sleep. I don’t know if you are familiar with the effects of the drug; but the short version is that the drug puts you in this state of ‘euphoria’… A feeling you could easily become addicted to. When I took the drug I felt like I could do anything; suddenly, in that moment, I wasn’t this shy, insecure girl anymore.
    Anyway, more to the point; it was during those times that I had the idea to anonymously confess my undying like for this boy via text. We texted back and forth for a while. My therapist suggested I tell him who I am and see what happens from there. The insecure me hated that idea for fear of rejection, this whole ‘affair’ worked well because I could walk passed him on campus and not feel like throwing up. But naturally the Zolpidem me didn’t think it a big deal.
    So one night I decided to call him to make the big reveal. I remember that phone call as if I just hung up the phone two seconds ago. Til this day, that conversation runs on a loop in my head and I just want to curl into a little ball and disappear.
    I also observed his reaction to me during the preceding days after.
    Once, he came into class put his bag down on the table near where I was sitting (without really looking…habit I guess) and stepped out. When he came bag he noticed me sitting there (I was determinately looking anyway but his way) and proceeded to take his back and ask his friend to swap seats with him. Now I must admit that there could be a thousand reasons why he decided to sit further, but I only identified with one. It was the most heart wrenching thing I’d had to go through then. I wanted to cry, in that moment I was a leper. I was a creature not deserving of love. It hurt. It still hurts, it hurts everyday. Rejection. I was so deeply wounded by that experience that I started to miss school for fear of going through it again. During those moments in life where I hate myself, I use that incident as evidence that my darkest fears are true.
    I know it’s just one boy in my class that rejected me, and maybe in the grand scheme of things it’s probably a blessing… But it hurts all the same. I feel it everyday. I don’t know how to make it stop.

    I don’t know why I just wrote about this here. Reading your entry just brought back all those memories. I guess I wanted to share a piece of me.

    xx

    • I know your agony. I deeply, deeply feel it. But, you must understand, no matter how much it hurts, it has little significance in the great scheme of things. Every day, people writhe in agony, yet others go on with their lives. You must lift your chin, and realize that he was not for you, and not kind or sensitive enough to understand or know you. Lots of love. I know the pain. ❤

  4. I have the feeling you are somewhat younger than me, but you have eloquently described my own INFP anguish. I too live in Australia, although I immigrated from the U.S. I have the same struggle with self-loathing and always have. And like you, I have always worked on self-acceptance, and still do. Of all types it seems ironic that ours seems to struggle with this so deeply. Unlike you, however, I have a cynical streak, which does not seem to be a common INFP trait. I also learned at an early age to use humour to hide my pain and deflect hurtful responses from others.
    Please don’t feel that you are being selfish, or worry about how many times you say “I.” You are giving a gift by opening your heart to show us that we are not struggling alone.

    • You inspired me to write my recent post. Thank you for reading, and for your kind, kind words. I wish you happiness. Yes: it is rather ironic INFPs struggle so much. If you think about it, we’re one of the nicest, kindest, sweetest types, and see the good in others so easily. Yet we have so much trouble seeing the good in ourselves. Funny. And kind of sad.

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