Yesterday, I sat down to a list that I had written over the past two weeks. The first part of the list was names. The names written were of the people that I had grown to resent in my life. It was a list of 175 people. I know that sounds like a lot and you’re probably like “Bitch, you need Jesus.” But wait, there’s more. I was instructed to go back through my entire life and leave no stone unturned. I started with my current circle of people and moved backwards: college, high school, junior high, etc.. The list dated as far back as elementary and surprisingly enough, I wrote with ease. I recalled each of the names with clarity. I remembered those bitches like it was yesterday on the playground. Still salty about it, 15 years later.
The next addition to the list would be to describe why I resented this person. Over 75% of the reasons behind my resentments were, “This person doesn’t like me, thinks I’m ugly, annoying, and dumb.” Not necessarily in that order but almost certainly containing all or one of those things.
The further and further I got into my list, the more drained I felt. It was as if all the dust that had settled had been swept up by a tornado and proceeded to fly into my eyes, and stick to my lip gloss. I was getting all of this out and onto paper and it sucked. However, It was a necessary process and therefore, a sacrifice of my positive emotions. I had to look at these things and I could no longer run from them. It’s something that I’ve learned to accept in self-discovery and self-improvement. If I face the things I’m scared of, I grow.
As the list got longer and bigger, I began to see a pattern. I found that the people I grew to resent were people that didn’t like me or so I perceived. These people were holding space in my heart, mind, and soul because they didn’t like me? I was giving energy to this person because they didn’t like me? I was wasting precious positive energy because of my perception and their apparent disdain towards me. It’s only when I put this down on paper, that I saw this heavy weight I was carrying.
For the third part of my list, I was to write what part of my life that this resentment impacted. Was it my self-esteem? My wallet? My sexual relationships? My pride? My ambitions? Believe it or not, most often (I’m talking about 90% of the time) it was my self-esteem that was hurt. Because I took the time to write it all down, I was shown that my self-esteem and lack thereof was not only a source of huge grief and pain in my life but that I needed to pay attention to this habit and make changes in the way I handled my interactions so that I would never again have to uncover a list of this length and density.
There are two clear problems I see with this situation:
- My fixation on people liking me
- My perception of myself
Okay, so, I have come to the conclusion that many people will not like me. I am outspoken, have lots of opinions, am a feminist, and am quite self-centered. I am working on defects of character but sometimes, they slip through my fingers and I’m not able to reign in my insensitive comments or rude remarks. I have to accept that there are people out there that will not like me because of who I am and there are people out there that will not like me because of who they are. It is not my responsibility to figure out which of the two it is. I have decided that I will always strive for integrity and compassion in these situations but I will not search for approval.
What is most clear about this list is the beliefs that I hold of myself. According to this very frank, unedited list, I fear that I am dumb, ugly, and annoying. Is this true? I’m willing to wager that I have a group of people waiting to affirm this to me. So, if I accept that they exist and I accept that their opinion is valid (not necessarily true) do I have to hold it inside of me and harbor this feeling about myself? No. I do not. I will address that these three things clearly show to me my largest insecurities. Next, I can clearly see what I value. Those things are beauty, positive personality traits, and intelligence. Rather than stating that I am dumb, ugly, and annoying, I will work on embracing beauty, intelligence, and positive personality traits in myself.
It is very likely that I will struggle with this for many moons to come. Will it be an issue forever? With continuous work and self-improvement, I will probably find some solace in my journey and it won’t be such a dense problem in the future. As long as I am aware of this problem, I am able to make adjustments and it will not have the same strength in the future.
I was inspired to reflect on this by a YouTube video I found while perusing interesting TedTalks. She reflects, and dissects, on her self-love journey and breaks it down into poetic, strong pieces. I admire her confidence and her obvious investment in improving the world around her.
“I am the most important person in the world to me. I accept that person. I admire that person and I will do everything in my power to see that person’s dreams come true.”
The Curvy Broke Girl