I was at the gym a little earlier today and I saw a show (unable to hear because the volume was down and I was working out anyway) and it was about a woman who joined a dating site. It was discovered that she posed as someone else, using pictures, names and everything else. At one point, she was called out for the behavior and eventually confessed to it.
While that is certainly not all that uncommon, it was still sad to me that there are people out there who feel they need to hide who they are in that manner. Even for those who would laugh at the people who would do that, I can almost guarantee that they actually do the very same thing in different ways. No, you don’t have to hide who you are or be someone else on a dating site; but you can be someone else and hide who you are in real life.
I’ll start with me. When I was younger, I had LOUSY self-esteem. Horrible. That’s probably putting it mildly. I felt I was just physically a very ugly person. Unattractive, bony, weak, and the list goes on. I also wasn’t very outgoing along with being a nerd. When it came to girls, I sometimes chased after them very desperately and it was embarrassing. I wanted the girls to like me and everyone else to accept me and not often did either happen.
I don’t believe I was ever depressed by it, but I certainly did not feel very good and was probably very close to it many times. Being turned down by girls left and right, ignored by others and just hating to look in the mirror at times was a lot of my childhood.
Naturally, I figured that I needed to change who I was to impress this person and that person, behave differently to attract the girls, wear different clothes (I started sneaking my older brother’s clothes to school) and a bunch of other things. It was even bad to the point that I sometimes pretended to not be as smart as I was and instead of speaking proper English and using full sentences, I would attempt to speak more slang, even going overboard (most likely) at times.
While I did feel pretty good at times and this did attract SOME people, it was not nearly enough for all the effort I was putting in. I just reached a point when it didn’t feel right anymore and I was just tired of it. Tired of sneaking my brother’s clothes to school. Tired of pretending to be less than intelligent. Tired of being afraid to look at myself in the mirror. Tired of being anyone BUT myself.
I still had lousy self-esteem, but it was evident at that point that all the people I tried so hard to impress wasn’t do much for it. So I began to look at myself. I asked myself, what was wrong with me? Why did I hate looking at myself in the mirror? Why did I feel like I was so ugly? Why was being intelligent a bad thing? Why was I trying so hard to get girls to like me?
Even though it wasn’t easy, I felt it was time to take control of my self-esteem. It was time to stop being embarrassed to look at myself. It was time to stop trying so hard to impress girls. It was time to stop treating intelligence like it was a bad thing or believing what other blacks told me and that it meant I was “trying to be white.” Basically, I had to start teaching myself to ignore the bullshit coming from everyone else and start building MYSELF up ON MY OWN.
I didn’t know what to do or how to do it, but it happened. I realized that the face I had was mine to keep, so I had better get used to it. There was no need to be sorry for it. I also realized that if I had to try that hard to get a girl’s attention or to get others to accept me, then what would be the next thing I’d have to do? In other words, I bust my ass to get them on my side in some way now, but what would I have to do later to keep them there? I was just tired of trying so damn hard. I actually remember saying that to myself once. I sat on my bed and just said, out loud, “Robert…you’re trying too hard. You’re trying too damn hard.”
Over time, things got better. It didn’t feel so bad that people didn’t accept me, because I realized there was no rule saying that I had to accept them. I did manage to meet a few girls who were impressed with me being myself, even though I ultimately found out that many were looking for something else (I started attracting older women for some reason), and even in those cases, I didn’t blame myself or choose to change who I was.
Looking back today, less than three months away from turning 35, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. There’s no better and more freeing feeling than simply being MYSELF. I married the woman I wanted to marry, not who everyone else thought I should. I speak proper English and in full, complete sentences because that is who I am and people recognize that. If they accept it, great, if not, the hell with them. I have no problem admitting that I know things because hell, it helps to have MORE knowledge than LESS when it comes to just about ANY situation. That’s a no-brainer. Looks mean nothing. I’m too old to be all about looks. I get that younger people are into that, but once you get to your 30s, if you still have that tired mindset that looks are everything, you have problems. As for me, I feel great and couldn’t be happier. Not so much because of where I am in life and where I’m headed, but because I finally made that decision all those years ago to work on MYSELF. My self-esteem now is great…and that’s because I am the one in control of it. No one else.
I don’t expect all of your stories to sound the same. I get that it’s harder for many of you. But when I look at so many of my friends who have very low self-esteem, despite what they try to say, I’m very sad for them. Some of you reading this just may fall into that category, whether you want to admit it or not.
The thing to remember is that self-esteem isn’t low because of what you tell yourself. It’s low because of what others tell you. Society has this way of imposing what certain “standards” are when it comes to some things. This is why many ignorantly believe that a physically attractive woman could NEVER have low self-esteem. This is when people say, “Oh, you’re too pretty to be single.” They don’t realize that not everyone follows what society’s standards are. You don’t have to, either.
If you feel bad because of things you haven’t even told yourself, then it’s time to START TELLING YOURSELF BETTER THINGS and get those other thoughts out of there. Just because someone says something about you doesn’t mean it’s true. That’s just THEIR viewpoint. Another person could say something totally different, but remember…stop putting all your stock in what others say. Form an opinion about yourself without the help of everyone else. Just because people say it doesn’t make it true. Besides, you see yourself all the time. Most others do not. You know yourself way more than anyone else ever could. Stop letting the half-assed opinions of others tell you what you should think, feel and do when they’re not around you nearly as much as you are around yourself.
Building good self-esteem isn’t necessarily easy, but I will say it definitely becomes easier as you go. Now most of you reading will probably ignore this because you don’t think this is you at all. Your self-esteem is VERY high. You have a bunch of friends, right? You’ve gotten some compliments on your looks, right? You’ve received attention from the opposite (or the same; nothing wrong with either) sex, so NO WAY your self-esteem could be low…right? Just look at how much you say about yourself and ask the question…how much are your thoughts and how much are everyone else’s?
If you can admit to have poor self-esteem, that is the first step. The next is to stop relying on others to tell you about yourself. Take a good look in the mirror and start forming your own opinions about yourself. Remember; if someone can say something about you over and over again and you eventually believe it, you can do the same for yourself…and you would be way more accurate than that other person could EVER be. You know yourself MUCH better than they do.
It’s about time you started acting like it.