Although that most certainly does not help.
It’s the reception of my friend’s wedding, the toast has been given, the dinner has been served, the dancing commences. The music is all familiar, I recognize some of my favorite songs as the beats tap on my brain like rain drops collecting in a gutter. My toes are tapping, my fingers are rattling against the table and I am doing all I can to tame the beast within that wants to hit the floor running. But I can’t. I never seem to be able to grab all the energy that is harnessed up at this moment to propel me enough to spin around on the dance floor like my heart truly desires. Why not, you ask? Come on, I know that is what you’re asking!? You’re certainly not asking, “When is this going story going to get good?” oh well, if you were thinking that you would prove my entire theory.
My theory is that no one likes me and I suck in every way imaginable. I’m the girl everyone has “seen somewhere before”. Ya, I get it, I’m Plain Jane. People think I’m dorky, strict, straight-laced boredom. Everyone dances better than me, most people look better, no one is going through what I am mentally. Woe is me, problems abound! Being such a lowly, meek, despicable version of a human, I have little to no business shaking it like it’s a Polaroid picture, swaying, and drawing any additional attention to my lack of grace, svelte-ness, and rhythm. I’ll leave that to the people that know what they are doing, and look good knowing it.
I don’t really like myself. Lo, and behold, this week has been one where me, myself, and I have spent some long, tedious hours together. And this week has been a full, face-first realization of this fact. Not that this is the first, full-faced realization.
On a positive note, I am successfully coffee-free, and it’s almost been one week! I decided my new vice is going to be gorging on rice cakes, chewing gum, and drinking a bottle of wine every night. What, I can’t have THREE bad habits for every ONE that I successfully kick?
Ok, joking aside, let’s talk about me some more. I’m 27, and I’m broke as a wagon wheel from the Oregon Trail game. I have a happy relationship, and I live a happy life. Though like every American, I am always seeking for things to be PERFECT. In my mind, I’m a health guru gone bad. I’m a royal screw up gone postal, and I can’t seem to be the person I want to be. When you can’t afford plastic surgery, this is rather a large problem. I have uneven facial features, my legs of course have undesirable marks on them, we’ll just call them stretch marks. My skin still gets pimples if I eat popcorn, and I say really dumb stuff all the time. I use non-organic shampoo, and I sometimes curse at people that cut me off in traffic. I have a dark past, and I chew chemical-laden gum. When all this is not bad enough, and I’m looking just slightly too-normally-flawed, I increase the flaws 100% by blowing this self-berating out of proportion and beating myself up about small, meaningless moments in time, time and time again. I know this is dangerously detrimental, and I know this is the very type of behavior that has caused many before me to fall into the clutches of insanity. I warily straddle that line.
I can’t put my finger on the reason for it, but I have never really been happy with the person looking back at me in the mirror. Perhaps because she is not famous, or has not accomplished what she always dreamed she would’ve by now.
Often simply wishing this problem away along with wishing my existence away, I am seeking new ways to solve this overarching dilemma. I’m at that crucial age, where one must create a positive opinion of herself. I’d venture to say it’s do or die by now. She must begin to care for herself in ways that are loving, and kind, and able to stand days of being alone with herself. Or. Else.
The key is to not seek this approval from one’s work. Not to find it in your background, talents, your accomplishments. The way you dress. Your looks, the people you hang out with, your religion, the books you read, the degree you have, or how many jumping jacks you can do. Not to leach onto the compliments or praise of others, or worse yet, self-berate in public and FORCE the encouragement from those around. Instead it is to somehow have a REAL picture of oneself, seeing both the negatives and positives and using that to gain momentum in making changes, accomplishments, and ultimately, loving who you are and are becoming.
It’s all seemingly very yogic and impossible, to just realize how wonderful you are because of the very fact that YOU ARE YOU. And there is a delicate balance between this behavior, this stability and confidence, and an ego that is so big it can’t fit through the door when your friends invite you to dinner. Both being insecure and overly secure are a crime. My ego is bi-polar. Or maybe that’s called balance?
When I Google, “How to Like Yourself”, it pulls up some great, handy list with an 8-step program to self-love and fabulous pictures featuring that chick on the right. Much more convenient and easy than the AA 12-Step Program.
While I wish I could write a blog with as sure-fire tips as WikiHow has done (there I go, wishing something that I’m not again…), I am going to attempt to really get all the guts and bones out and boil it down to FIVE of my own personal mantras/reminders: Five things I can do to learn to like myself exactly as I am.
1. Stay Positive. No matter what. This is a brain trick we must learn, our brains and our bodies listen to what we tell them to do. Staying positive means having the best possible outlook no matter the situation or outcome. Things are not always great, but you can truly trick yourself into thinking that they are much better than they are and a smile….changes EVERYTHING. You have to figure out your “trigger” for getting positive. Is it caffeine? Getting to a public place? Having flowers o your table? Make yourself SMILE anyway possible! It’s possible, even through the pouring rain. Enter more energy, motivation, determination, production….and eventually….a YOU that you will start to love even more.
2. Be True to Your Word. This means being true to yourself. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. If you aren’t OK with something, say so. This will help you to be in the RIGHT PLACE at the RIGHT TIME, and therefore surging you further into the life that you feel satisfied living. Connecting with the right people helps to encourage you on your path. The more situations you walk away from feeling like it was meant to happen, the better for your psyche.
3. Baby Steps. If you don’t like yourself, how do you feel about other people? I find that I give other people a harder time than I need to sometimes, it’s time to loosen up the reigns a little and let them just BE. Start finding great things in other people, even those who pester you. If you have a hard time doing this, I suggest listening to other people talk SMACK about someone else. Whenever I hear someone gossiping about someone else, I suddenly take the victim’s side and find all sorts of wonderful things about them. People are not really bad at all! That means you must not be either, because YOU are a person too! It takes baby steps, you’re not going to magically adore yourself over night. But the more you stick to you word, stay positive, and commit to working on yourself little bits at a time, the more you begin to transform.
4. Read and Write. Or run, or walk, or sing, or dance, wear a turban, drink 8 glasses of water a day, stand upside down on your head, learn to cook, eat less, whatever it is that you say you want to do. Start doing it. You are your own biggest cheerleader, your own best friend and your own personal motivator! Whatever you put your mind to, you can do it! Set goals, write in on your calendar when you achieve it. Treat yourself like a little kid learning to use the can for number two. Yes, give yourself GOLD STARS and HEARTS by your name. But make sure that what you are aspiring to do, you carve out a way for yourself to do it. The more you align with your heart’s desires, the more you feel like you are YOU. And remember, YOU are pretty damn, awesome.
5. Stop Making Excuses. Part of the reason I dislike myself so much is because I make excuses. Rather than going to the gym as many days as I mean to, I build in a buffer of X lazy days. Rather than stick to my reading goals, I blow an hour on Facebook. Rather than landing the job of my dreams, I tell myself some reason why I should not have it or am not good enough and don’t bother applying. Would I ever offer candy to a small child only to decide that they can’t have it? No! Why. Because, I am not a mean jerk to kids. Stop being a mean jerk to yourself and follow through with your promises. You’ll like yourself for it, I promise.
So, it’s as simple as that. Just eat more parsley, sip more kale, and suck on a lemon or two and you’ll be on your way to hugging and kissing your own face. Who knows, you might even be the star of that morning TV talk show you have been wanting to host. Then everyone will like you. Just look at Kelly Ripa and Michael. God, I love them. And if anyone asks where your newfound confidence was bred, send them my way…then maybe I’ll start to like myself for HELPING YOU.