I’ve never been “that guy”… the one with the striking face or gorgeous butt or any other physical attribute I feel will make me Hollywood sexy. I have great legs and amazing teeth… but I bought the teeth in Beverly Hills so they might not count. Too often, I glance in a mirror, and nothing good comes from it. I’m too fat… I’m too old… I’m too short… I’m too ethnic… I’m just “too”…
The truth is I’m a blessed man. I’m recovering from a lifetime of drug and alcohol abuse; I have someone who loves me as much as I do him and a couple of dogs that adore us both. My family, especially my parents have never turned their backs on me, even in the darkest of days. I’ve traveled around the world and have more education than nearly everyone I’ve ever known. But with all the things I’ve overcome and accomplished and enjoyed…. I’m still Rob. The guy who never felt good enough or smart enough or validated.
Look… I know all the happy crap that is supposed to make me feel better about me. I’ve read, written, preached and sometimes believed the messages about being “good enough”, but when the room goes dark, and it’s just me at the end of the day… Rob is still the insecure guy he’s always been facing life on life’s terms…
Sometimes, I get stuck in my head and allow my inner critic to tear completely apart my self-esteem until I hate myself too much to do anything except play Joni Mitchell songs and seek the next educational degree that’s gonna fix me. The other day, while I was beating myself up over something I can’t even recall at the moment, I read a comment from someone on Facebook who mentioned my honesty about addiction was helpful to them…. those few words from a stranger helped me more than they will ever know. For a fleeting moment, I felt validated.
Lately, I’ve been trying harder to catch myself when I feel a non-serving, self-depreciating thought coming on… While my self-acceptance journey is on-going, I spend a lot of time attempting to learn from others on how not to be so mean to myself… Madison Sonnier is a writer who seems to look at life clearly, so I want to share what I’ve learned from something she wrote:
The people you compare yourself to compare themselves to other people too.
We all compare ourselves to other people, and I can assure you that the people who seem to have it all do not. When you look at other people through a lens of compassion and understanding rather than judgment and jealousy, you are better able to see them for what they are—human beings. They are beautifully imperfect human beings going through the same universal challenges that we all go through.
Your mind can be a very convincing liar.
I saw a quote once that said, “Don’t believe everything you think.” That quote completely altered the way I react when a painful or discouraging thought goes through my mind. Thoughts are just thoughts, and it’s unhealthy and exhausting to give so much power to the negative ones.
There is more right with you than wrong with you.
Until you stop breathing, there’s more right with you than wrong with you.
As someone who sometimes tends to zoom in on all my perceived flaws, it helps to remember that there are lots of things I like about myself too—like the fact that I’m alive and breathing and able to pave new paths whenever I choose.
You need to love the most when you feel you deserve it the least.
This was a recent epiphany of mine, although I’m sure it’s been said many times before. I find that it is most difficult to accept love and understanding from others when I’m in a state of anger, shame, anxiety, or depression.
You have to accept fully and make peace with the “now” before you can reach and feel satisfied with the “later.”
One thing I’ve learned about making changes and reaching for the next rung on the ladder is that you cannot fully feel satisfied with where you’re going until you can accept, acknowledge, and appreciate where you are. Embrace and make peace with where you are, and your journey toward something new will feel much more peaceful, rewarding, and satisfying.
Focus on progress rather than perfection and on how far you’ve come rather than on how far you have left to go.
One of the biggest causes of self-loathing is the hell-bent need to “get it right.” We strive for perfection and success, and when we fall short, we feel less than and worthless. What we don’t seem to realize is that striving for success and being willing to put ourselves out there is an accomplishment in itself, regardless of how many times we fail. Instead of berating yourself for messing up and stumbling backward, give yourself a pat on the back for trying, making progress, and coming as far as you have.
You can’t hate your way into loving yourself.
Telling yourself what a failure you are won’t make you any more successful. Telling yourself, you’re not living up to your full potential won’t help you reach a higher potential. Telling yourself, you’re worthless and unlovable won’t make you feel any more worthy or lovable. I know it sounds almost annoyingly simple, but the only way to achieve self-love is to love yourself—regardless of who you are and where you stand and even if you know you want to change.
Look, I have five decades of experience in self-loathing and imperfections. It’s time to let things go I can’t change and change what I can… this is me… this is now, and this is all I have to work with today. I’m going to make this work.