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?”