Recovering from how I treat myself is one of my biggest obstacles. I never really noticed how much what I think about myself privately effects how I move publicly. One thing I noticed that has to change is I walk with my head down.
If I’m being honest, I’ve always had low self-esteem. I can trace it back to grade school, wondering why my friends got more attention from boys than I did. Even in high school when I did start to get attention, it seemed to always stem from boys being attracted to my booty more than anything. That made me feel like that may have been the only thing I had to offer.
Don’t get me wrong, there were times growing up where I thought I was cute. However, it had to be something extra. I had a nice hairstyle or a nice outfit. Even as I got older, in certain relationships in my life I found myself over compensating for what I thought was a deficiency. If I was really nice or gave him what he wanted, he’d stick around. It wasn’t because of me per say, but what I could offer.
The fact that so many women feel this way, even if they won’t admit it, is so toxic that it’s scary. I even had a conversation recently about God shifting my mind in regards to what I desired in a relationship. I didn’t desire to be wanted. I desired to be needed. I used to want to be needed. If they needed me, they would stick around. Now that I’m even typing this out, it sounds so sad to me. Who wants to live like that?
I never really noticed how this insecurity translated into every other aspect of my life. I had to get all the degrees. I had to do everything people asked of me to be considered dependable or irreplaceable. It’s an exhausting place to be. I was sick of it.
I’ve come a long way in regards to my self-esteem. There are a few things that I’ve done in order to build it up.
Say what God says about me
The world is full of toxic messages that stick to us. We are constantly comparing our images on social media and using them to torture ourselves. I’ve talked down on myself for decades (don’t try and guess my age) and it was hard for me to reverse that. So, I went to the source. My creator. Reading devotionals and scriptures where God talks about how much He loves me and how He made me for more than I could imagine helped me feel love. Once you love yourself, it’s easier to stop looking down. God says we must first love Him and then love others as we love ourselves. If we don’t know how to love ourselves…we can’t love anyone else.
Be unapologetic about my no
I am allowed to protect my peace. I am allowed to say no with a period behind it. I am allowed space to change my mind. To think differently. To move differently. To feel differently. I don’t have to explain that to anyone. Once I realized this and decided to stop feeling bad about it, I became a lot more peaceful.
Do what makes me happy
This should be self-explanatory, but I realize that sometimes its not. I love to read. I love to write. I love to take naps and baths with lots of bubbles. I love a good DIY project or watching my favorite movie. If you don’t know what makes you happy, try a lot of different things until you find one. Do it until you feel better.
Even while working on all these things and taking my self-care seriously, I notice slip ups. I walk with my head down a lot. Today, while walking from my desk to the bathroom, I caught myself walking with my head down.
“Look up girl, you can’t see that way.”
I laughed when this thought came in my head. I realized that it was God speaking to me. What am I looking down for? I can’t see what’s ahead of me if I’m focused on what’s below me. I put my head up and immediately felt a little uncomfortable.
“I don’t want people to think I’m conceited.”
Really Christian? Looking straight ahead means you’re conceited? Where did you even get that from?
Sometimes you have to talk yourself out of self-doubt. There was no rhyme or reason for me to think that way and I had to shake my head at myself. Looking up instead of looking down doesn’t mean anything other than I’m looking ahead.
We have got to stop using preconceived notions to stay stuck in toxic ways. As I prepare for my 2019 goals and the next steps of my creative journey, I don’t want to be stuck looking down. God didn’t physically build me to do so.
So do me a favor; look up and tell me what you see.