I always try to find the good in people. I embrace their differences, their quirks, their mannerisms. I embrace what makes them their own unique selves. But, I am unable to do this to myself. I am a hypocrite. I am my own worst enemy.
When I look in the mirror, I see all that is wrong with myself. The imperfections, the excess weight, the ragged eyebrows and chunky thighs. I have never been blessed with an abundance of self-esteem, and this year has reduced it further. I feel diminished. Rejection has reduced my feelings of self-worth little by little, like a cliff being worn away by the sea. Tiny chunks of self-love being eroded until I look at myself now, at the end of 2016, and feel bereft. I do not like who I am. Physically, emotionally, intellectually. I am not enough and I am too much, all at once.
I am surrounded by wonderful people – people with an inner-beauty that lights up their faces from the inside. They have bright souls that shimmer with kindness and generosity. They tell me that I am beautiful. They tell me that I am clever. They tell me that I am wonderful. I am truly grateful for their words, but 98% of me doesn’t believe them. I am lacking in so many areas – why can’t they see what I see? Why can’t I see what they see?
Holidays always make me ponderous and reflective. I have time to myself and I’m not driven by a relentless list of to-dos. Over Christmas, the prospect of a new year, a new start, looms before me and I envision a better version of myself. A fitter, healthier, more worthy me. In previous years there has been a part of me that thinks, ridiculously, that these things will naturally occur. That the new year will arrive and bring with it a clarity, a sense of wellbeing and purpose. But January 1st rolls round and brings with it the impending return to work/study and I am still exactly the same.
I am not happy with who I am and therefore I must do something to change that state. If I cannot love myself, how can I ever expect someone else to? If I cannot look into the mirror and have confidence in who I am, how can I expect a future employer to? Only I have the ability to change who I am, to shape myself and find myself. I must try listen to what other people say – you are capable, you are clever, you are wonderful – and carry their words like a talisman. I must try and cultivate a feeling of self-worth, to reignite my self-esteem and recognise what I have to offer this world. I must stop living with fear and worry and, instead, try to strike out with bravery and determination and carve a new route for myself.
I feel that it has taken a long time to get to this point, but I am relieved to have reached it. I cannot stand by and watch myself fade, I must instead take myself by the hand and pull me to my feet. I must be the one to tell myself – You are enough.