There are a lot of things I’m struggling with lately. Some are things I’ve had trouble with my whole life. A few of these I’m finally making some headway with lately though. The biggest one is self-worth.
I’ve never been good at valuing myself. In examine my thoughts and attitudes on this, on me, the parse that comes to mind is “It’s only me.” Wrong attitude, I know. I’m working to change that, but acknowledging this is my starting point. I have always placed more value on everyone in my life, especially those I love, than I ever did in myself.
This isn’t good on a number of levels, partly because I tend not to take proper care of myself. “It’s only me, I can make due with less.” But then it makes it hard to be there for those I care about. But it’s more than just that. I sabotage myself in so many ways because I don’t typically feel worthy of the things I want. Putting myself forward for things at work or home is something I pretty much won’t do if I have any choice. I mean, it’s just me. What could I possibly have to contribute to anything that anyone else couldn’t do? At least, that’s the thought in my head.
If I commit to doing something and it’s for someone else, I will do whatever it takes to get it done. If it’s just to me, like going to the gym on my own, I routinely let it slide. I only promised myself, after all, and it’s okay if I break that promise, even though the thought of breaking a PROMISE to someone else makes me want to cry.
Please note that this last bit makes my commitment to writing over the last few years nothing short of miraculous. I put other things off and avoid making commitments because I need time to write. Maybe there’s hope for me yet? ;)
This “it’s only me” attitude is very evident in the way I let people treat me, to the point that it’s begun to alarm me. Many of the people I know are wonderful and a lot of you remind me that I am valuable. I must be, because some of you definitely think a lot of me. You guys even manage to shock to silence the little voice that whispers about how worthless I am. Some of you have been there for me in ways I would never have expected. Thank you, from the depths of my heart and soul.
But at pretty much every point in my life, I’ve had people who used me for what they wanted and disregarded everything about me that didn’t serve their needs. And in hindsight, it’s occurred to me that I have invited this treatment in some respects. After all, if I won’t value myself enough to demand a certain level of respect, why should others feel compelled to offer it? If I will accept shitty treatment without complaint, how can I expect better?
This post isn’t about blame though, not even assigning it to myself (there’s a whole other post I could make on me and blame). It’s about taking a new step forward in my life. It’s about learning to value, honor and respect myself. It’s about caring for myself properly, and believing in myself. Most of all, it’s about finally refusing to allow those who won’t offer me these things to have any place in my life. It won’t be easy, but I’m going to do it. Because yeah, I’m worth it. And I believe I can do this, that I can turn my thinking around and learn to value myself.
Yesterday, I had a fabulous day. I mean, I felt awesome. I felt that I was awesome. It started with another determination that I was going tot have a good day regardless of what the world sent my way. But then I went a step further.
Music has always been a big thing for me and is to this day. Probably always will be. If you see me walking around the world alone, chances are excellent I have my headphones on. It’s part of my writing too. I need music to write and always create a playlist for my major projects (novels or series). And sometimes, I get a song stuck in my head and just have to listen. I can’t not listen to it.
This last happened yesterday as I started my work day. It was Just The Way You Are, by Bruno Mars. I love this song. The feel of it alone often lifts my mood, unless it was pure black to begin with. But yesterday the lyrics, which I also love, struck me in a new way. I saw, for possibly the first time in my life, that this is the way I SHOULD see myself.
“You’re amazing, Just the way you are.”
That this realization kind of floored me is probably not a good sign of how I’ve treated myself. Okay, that’s not surprising to me. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t change how I am in future, how I view myself, right?
So I listened to that song on repeat all day. Not kidding. I do that sometimes. (My current record is literally a week and a half with one single song on repeat.) I wanted to really internalize that idea, that feeling of me just being awesome for being myself, who I am, no matter what anyone else says, suggests or does.
Wow. The song’s playing in my head now, just from thinking about this. Pardon me. I need to hit play on my iPod…
Anyway, I’m saying that I’m going to try to stick with it, this whole valuing myself, even loving myself. Not because you wonderful people care about me and in many cases think I’m wonderful too. This is something I’m smart enough to know has to come from within. No, I’m amazing just because I am.
I’ve been through some real shit in my life, some of which I’m very much not disposed to talk about. I’ve fought depression for two and a half decades and still managed to accomplish stuff that’s pretty wild and certain worthy of respect from myself. I’ve chased my dreams, put my writing out there and will again in future.
Maybe I’m not perfect and I don’t always do the absolute right thing, but I am amazing and still pushing myself to get even better.
Yes, I owe myself some respect. I am worthy, just because I am.
And I’m not ever going to let anyone tell me otherwise, not for ANY reason ever. I won’t let others who act disrespectfully toward me, or treat me with disregard, to remain in my life. I hereby demand better of the world because I am fucking worth it, dammit. I won’t accept anything less anymore. Especially not from myself.
Fair warning: This new attitude may result in a little more book promo for my own work than I’ve done. It’s my writing and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’m going to get loud about that. I deserve that too.
I want to close this post by inviting everyone who reads it to recognize your own awesomeness, especially if you struggle with that too. You’ve faced challenges in your life. I know that because we all do. Whatever your struggles, don’t compare them to those of others. Nothing in theirs diminishes yours. Yours are real and difficult and that’s one of the only two things that matter.
The other is that you survived and you’re still moving forward. Whether you do it in big steps or little ones, it doesn’t matter. Size doesn’t dictate value. You are strong enough to keep going. That’s what matters. That makes you fantastic. Acknowledge it. Remember it. Fucking own it. And don’t let anyone treat you as anything less, EVER.
Love you guys. Thanks again for being there. You’re a blessing in my life. Yes, you. All of you.