About a month ago, I started making a list of things I like about myself. I stayed away from physical attributes and focused more on personality or other intrinsic aspects. The list originally had 12 items. I was pleasantly surprised there were that many. Since then, I have added two more. Due to having Major Depressive Disorder, it’s much easier to enter the rabbit hole of negative self-talk than it is to offer-up any praise of myself.
Growing up I was often described as a grumpy child. I cannot say for certain that this definitely had an impact on how I came to view myself, but it makes sense that it would. Being the victim of bullying in the fourth grade didn’t help either. It was around that age I began to erect walls and started to be outwardly mean towards others. I found the walls I built around me kept me “safe” from others, but they also kept me from forming proper friendships and relationships. While, I did make friends, I found it wasn’t easy. It’s hard to let people in while simultaneously trying to keep them out. Sprinkle attention on me and I will head towards you like moth to a flame. However, if I feel I am bothering you in the slightest I tend to retreat faster than an olympic sprinter. This constant push and pull can make it difficult to maintain close friendships, but I have plenty of friendly acquaintances.
I’ve never been a fan of conceited people and never wanted to come across as such. I felt like any positive self-talk was to akin to bragging. Like a lot of people I am not comfortable with compliments. Instead of saying, “Thank you,” I tend to offer up a self-deprecating joke of some sort. Or, I minimize whatever I am being complimented on. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy praise, but I feel incredibly awkward accepting praise. However, being somewhat of a perfectionist doesn’t allow for the slightest hiccup. One error, and the whole thing is a failure; please keep your praise to yourself. I’ve found that being a perfectionist allows the fear monster to enter my thoughts whenever I want to try something new. I’ll either not try at all, or I’ll try, mess-up, and run away.
My goal for now, and to continue into the future, is to accept praise when I receive it and reign in the self-deprecation. It is okay to recognize and acknowledge faults, but that doesn’t mean I have to live in the negative. I am learning that stating positive attributes about myself is not conceit, it’s confidence. In stating these positives, I am not taking away from, or diminishing, anyone else’s shine. It’s okay to accept praise from a personal accomplishment even if I am not the best in the world at it. Like Demi Lovato sings, “What’s wrong with being confident?”
Love yourself! The way we see ourselves will tell how others see is. It starts from you.