“Thank you, for allowing me to see myself the way you see me. Thank You.”
There was a period in my life when this was a theme song for me (I know I have a new one of those every few weeks, but we won’t worry about that right now). The topic of self-esteem is something that I periodically struggle with. I find myself using minimalization as a defense mechanism. I seek out ways that I can keep myself from standing out, not wanting unnecessary attention. A manifestation of this is the recurring thought pattern that I have a minimized place in the world at large. When I’m not feeling happy, I tend to shrink into myself and become reclusive. My internal reasoning works on a rotation of the following thoughts:
- It will not matter if I don’t show up for this event(s).
- I will just bring down the mood of <insert group or event>.
- I am too preachy.
- No one cares about <insert topic I am passionate about>
In a candid conversation with my friend Laura today, I realized that these are silly assumptions to make. We talked about my tendency to find inconsistencies with other people, but ignore them for myself (duh, classic cliché much?). I tried to think of what might encourage these thoughts recently and, of course, it’s because I’m in a “less than stellar” mood lately. However, in the way of a classic encourager, I sought some examples that spit in the face of these reasonings:
- People do care about my presence at certain events. My friend Beth thought that I was dodging her (how silly, yet easily misinterpreted) by skipping out on events. I also had friends reach out unexpectedly, to find out how I was doing and where I was.
- I sent an email to my small group, explaining to them that I had been struggling for a while and wanted to let them know why I’d been missing in action. I got many replies with kind words and offers to help by praying/talking.
- When I get out of my own head and try to be useful, it actually happens. I have great experiences to draw from and they can be useful to people. Also, my opinions on things are not always radically different from other people’s opinions.
- Even though I was preaching the magnificence of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for a little too long, people appreciate seeing my passions.They lead to great conversations and help me relate to people.