Having spent time talking to people and observing certain behaviors including my own over the years, i’ve noticed that very few people really have a sense or awareness of who they are and what they are about. Because many of us don’t really think about what really makes us US. In fact, it’s considered a waste of time and silliness to think about how much we really know ourselves. There is a tendency to get so caught up in the external world where things like education, appearance and career matter a lot, so much so that we can’t look past that. Everybody has a past but quite a few people let difficult moments and situations from the past define who they are. Maybe it’s thinking you’re not attractive enough, maybe it’s being bullied at your workplace, maybe somebody else got the job that you wanted, maybe circumstances din’t allow you to get a good education, maybe you feel you lag behind in building a career.. the list is endless, so are people’s insecurities.
Up till a couple of years ago, I used to feel differently about myself and the choices i’d made in life. Readers who know my background will know that the latter part of my teenage years were rather unstable. I had to grow up really fast, and i did in a lot of ways. But equally i felt like i was robbed of my youth and opportunities. This in spite of having a decent job and paying off my loans etc. For the longest time, i used to feel like i’d been dealt with a bad pack of cards in life and that belief reflected upon my thoughts and behavior. The tipping point happened when i got to know that this guy i was set up on a date with was unsure whether my job was ‘good enough’ for him to be interested in me. This really got to me and i felt upset. That got me thinking and soon i realised what was happening. I was reeling from perceived rejections from other people when the fact was i had been rejecting myself all those times.
It’s strange because when we think about things like compassion, we often think of being compassionate towards others while completely ignoring ourselves. Aren’t you deserving of the same empathy? Why be so hard on yourself? By letting others size you up and spit you out like that, you’re essentially giving people (who are not perfect themselves) the power to judge you and make you feel like a tiny speck of nothing. How can someone who doesn’t know you in the least have an opinion on your worth and that opinion, by the way is valued more by you than your own opinion of yourself. Does that seem a little.. crazy?!
It’s important to remember that people can say or think what they want but the person who ultimately holds the key to your self worth is YOU.
Yeah sure, some people seem it have had it easy all their life. They have have a good job, nice bum or whatever.. But that doesn’t reflect who they are as a person. If i were to sit and moan about my past, i wouldn’t be able to carry on living. It’s convenient to keep revisiting old wounds or difficult moments of your life but it takes a strong person to acknowledge what’s happened as the past, learn from it and move on.
Hard as this is to hear, your problems are your own and while it’s romantic to think that you are the hero/heroine of the drama called life, you may find that looking for sympathy from others will not yield much if anything. People are generally too concerned with themselves and someone who hasn’t shared the same journey as you may find it tough to understand your baggage from the past. It’s up to you to sort it out in your head. I’ve had a few people put me down in the past being patronising and acting superior and while it was more reflective of them rather than me, i could’ve saved myself a tough time by choosing not to keep such people’s company in the first place. I was looking for validation of my self worth from others while it was my responsibility to learn to not judge myself like that.
You can’t move on unless you learn to empathise with yourself. It’s ok to not have had the first class degree from a top university, it’s ok to have that crooked nose, it’s ok to not be at the stage career wise as you think you should be and while it’s not great to have had a difficult youth, it builds character and will ultimately give you what you deserve IF you don’t keep living in the past.
Compassion and empathy towards oneself is an important part of happiness. If you keep putting yourself down, it will erode your confidence and self esteem. Learn to be kinder to yourself and not judge yourself based on artificially created yardsticks. Back yourself up in the face of difficulty or setbacks because these things ultimately build character and lead you to a fulfilling life. Self acceptance is key because if you are still holding on to all that anger and frustration, you will remain stuck where you are.
Yes, sometimes things happen, some were mistakes, most were not.. but that’s life. If you view every mistake as a failing on your part and keep beating yourself up over it or if you feel like you were let down or treated unfairly by people hence keep letting it interfere with your present and future, then basically what you’re saying is difficulties only crop up for losers whereas the fact is everybody has their own share of problems. The worst part is when we have selective memory and let pockets of time in our lives define our entire life experience. Looking back at my life, i find it incredible that i was so hard on myself for somethings that weren’t even in my control! What is it that you are trying to hide by engaging in this self blame game?
If you’re hurting from or analysing something which happened in the past, understand that it’s over and done with. You can either feel like a failure because you din’t match up to other people’s expectations or you can choose to live life on your time and terms. Also, if you really want to do something you must ask yourself the motive for it. Don’t hold yourself back and equally don’t hold yourself as the prisoner of your thoughts.
Thing is, you can’t expect others to do what you’ve got to do for yourself. We go through life’s experiences because they are meant to teach us something valuable. Pay attention to what you’ve experienced and understand what it means to you. That will, in turn will help you live the life you do deserve.