Your Feelings of Inadequacy Are Legitimate, and Often Not Your Fault–But Remember, You Are Already Very Blessed

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For years, I blamed myself for having excruciatingly low self-esteem. Everyone else was happy, capable, confident, self-assured—why not me? Something was wrong with me. I had done something wrong.

Now, I know better.

Reasons for my low self-esteem:

  1. An unaffectionate and father abusive both towards his wife, my mother, and myself, who abandoned me just as I was entering the last phase of adolescence. He never told me I was beautiful or worthy, never touched me, never showed any interest in my life, and only interacted with me to hit me as punishment for transgressions, or because he was upset himself and wanted to take it out on someone. Because of him, I feel a constant, deep-seated sense of uncertainty, insecurity and fear in regards to men, other people, and the world.


2.  was born extremely introverted and awkward, and rejected, more times than I remember, for being too quiet, too shy, bullied, shunned, excluded at every turn. I was also born a very highly sensitive person which multiplied any pain that came my way a thousandfold.


3. I was born creative. In order to be creative, you have to be different, have a “caterpillar in your brain”, see the world from an odd slant, be idiosyncratic. To be creative is to be deeply, deeply lonely. It is the price you pay. And if you’re weird, you experience more rejection, which, need I say, does nothing for your self-esteem.


4. I was born Asian in a society dominated by Caucasian faces in the media, in books, in positions of power, resulting in my struggling with identity and self-hate issues for many years.


5. I was born a woman, with traditionally “womanly” traits, like empathy and a highly-developed intuition, downplayed in the world based on logic and efficiency around us today. And of course, women, because of the pressure to be intelligent and beautiful, often suffer from higher levels of low self-esteem than men.


6. I suffer with anxiety and depression, and relate to Female Asperger’s traits.


7. All my life, I have struggled with money issues—namely, there not being enough of it. The situation worsened after my father left, as he didn’t leave any money for my mother, who had worked as a housewife. This has had far-reaching effects on my self-esteem because I was always ashamed to tell friends what my parents did for work, and often the social standing of your parents and the respect they are given in society mold how you feel about yourself. Having well-off, kind, and emotionally mature parents gives you an immense advantage in life—instead, I had an abusive father, a mother who catered to her husband’s every whim, and constant problems with paying the rent, the insecurity of moving from place to place.


So. It’s quite a list. From now on, I will try to remember the circumstances of my life before I start mentally whipping myself mercilessly until my heart cries out in agony for being uncertain, unsure, not confident, so stupid, so unlovable. But these disadvantages do not determine my life. They can be advantages, as well.

Reasons to feel good about myself and my life:

  1. Creativity is a valuable skill, immensely necessary for success as a true, original artist.


2. Being introverted, anxious and mostly housebound means I have more time and energy, at least when I’m not depressed, to devote to my passions, and to learn, grow and work hard on my own terms.


3. I am proud of my Asian identity. I believe I am beautiful, inside and out, even when I sometimes don’t, regardless of my ethnicity, just like everyone else is. Straddling two different cultures allows me to see the world in a different way, and broadens my mind and experience.


4. How some people treat me, with rejection and scorn, is not indicative of how everyone in the world might treat me.


5. I will always have writing, and I will always have books, and I will always have the power and beauty of the imagination—those things, unlike my father, can never leave me. All the pain in the world is worth one day holding my published books in my hands. For the sake of writing, and one day being an established writer, I can endure any agony under the sun.


6. I am lucky enough to have food, shelter and clean, drinking water, as well as Internet access. I have been educated, I can read and write. I am, compared to millions in the world, very, very privileged, and very, very wealthy.


If you suffer from low-self esteem, and blame yourself for it, I encourage you to make a list like this one. The next time I feel bad for feeling bad about myself, I’ll just remember that the reasons why I feel bad, the combination of everything listed above, dosed with extreme sensitivity, are legitimate. If you dig deep, you’ll find there are true, very legitimate reasons behind your feelings of inadequacy, even if you are privileged in certain respects. The world is full of abuse, cruelty, standards, and very few of us emerge from it unharmed, but one must not forget that, in a world of seven billion people, we are often already very, very blessed.


2 thoughts on “Your Feelings of Inadequacy Are Legitimate, and Often Not Your Fault–But Remember, You Are Already Very Blessed

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