If only we could see ourselves the way the world does. Another statement brandished about on Social media in Memes and stuff.
It’s meant to have some profound heart stopping thought behind it. And it does.
I mean, yesterday my beautiful (and I’m not just saying that about her as she is mine – honesty is the best policy and her little brother is cute but quirky!) almost 11 year old daughter came out of her bedroom covered in concealer. She needed to cover up the 3 spots of her cheek, in fact they weren’t even spots. Pimples. Skin coloured pimples. Then she said “why am I so ugly?”.
For me as a Mother and a human I felt like a massive fucking failure, if only I could make her see herself through my eyes. Through the eyes of her aunt, her step Dad, her grandparents and my inner circle of beautiful friends.
Esme is deep, has a huge social conscience, she wants to go to India on her GAP year, she HATES unfairness and has a understanding of humans that people pay for training for.
Thing is, in this age of social media she doesn’t have “the look”. And this makes her question her ENTIRE worth as an individual and a woman. It breaks my heart.
It seemed to be a theme this weekend because then I read a post from Joe Tracini on Twitter. He is an actor, who I first came across in Hollyoaks, he played the geeky, hilarious character Dennis Savage. I follow him on Twitter, and on Sunday he posted about his recovery from alcoholism but the tweet that struck the biggest cord was what he posted on 14th February :
“Valentine’s day. Another shit one if you’ve got an arsehole living in your brain telling you that you’re worthless. Don’t sit on here scrolling through other people’s happy for 12 hours. 100% not gonna help. Be kind to you. Put the phone down, eat, & remember it’s just Thursday.”
How on earth could this clever, articulate, HILARIOUS confident man possibly have issues with Self Worth? It blew my brains.
What is self-worth? Well, all I can tell you from personal experience is what LACK of self-worth feels like. What it does to your mind, your behaviour. Your VERY OWN self-destruct button that is never too far away - to using ANYTHING as a way to cover up the crippling disregard you feel for yourself – drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping – ANYTHING.
Toxic relationships and I put friendships under this umbrella too – I was a sucker for a twat, mainly people who I deemed cooler than me and who I then allowed to completely take advantage of me, be it with money, time, anything really. Just an attempt to feel accepted and good enough.
Sounds like a bit of a pitty party doesn’t it? And yeah it was at the precise moment I realised that something wasn’t quite right. That I was in a cycle of shit.
I’d love to say that it was an epiphany and I woke and up there in front of me was my self- worth, all wrapped up in a box. It wasn’t.
It was endless therapy and graft and acknowledgement and taking responsibility for situations and behaviours that quite frankly wanted to make me want to vomit – and sometimes did. It was digging deep and looking at what I wanted for me in my life. Not what I thought I wanted or what I thought others thought I wanted.
Self-worth is work in progress. In 2012, when my the next door neighbour popped up, the ‘wanker committee’ that live in my head and used to control my self-worth told me immediately that this beautiful smelling, well turned out, slightly geeky beautifully intelligent man would not look twice at me and I did what anyone who struggles with self-worth does and that was to divert any potential hurt or rejection and initiate a meeting between him and one of my ‘beautiful, sporty’ friends as they would be a fantastic match. Self-doubters are WONDERFUL at giving, we love leaving ourselves empty.
My beautiful friend straight away saw that this Man was for me, not her. Apparently, he only had eyes for me when we were out. The rest is history and Chris and I have been together 7 years now, in fact, he proposed to me whilst I was dressed in a onesie, sat, wiping snot from my tear stained face after watching Dennis Savage (played by Joe Tracini) say his final goodbye to his wife Leanne in Hollyoaks.
We laugh now because, once, at least 6 months before we had our first date, Chris came out of his house as I wrestled with my then toddler Esme, into the car, walked passed us and said very breezily – “you just came up in my recommended match on Plenty of Fish”. My response? To roar with laughter and then jump quickly into the car. I mean poor guy. It wasn’t about him. It was about me.
As a Mum, Aunt, Friend, Sister, Daughter and Coach I vow that from now on I will do all I can to help everyone around me see for themselves their true worth. YOUR own worth comes in all shapes and sizes, no one person is the same. YOUR story makes you unique, there is strength and a lesson in all that we go through, every experience good or bad, every relationship.
I beg you though, PLEASE look – look at yourself and root around inside. Are you accepting less because you don’t know how to get more?
Get help, ask questions.
The most important lesson I learnt was never EVER judge a book by a cover. Some of the most up together ‘looking’, confident and in Joe’s case famous, does not mean that they have any more self-worth than you. Learn resilience, learn to let go, learn to say no and learn to appreciate your mind, your body, your soul.
For me, I have boundaries and I love them, they are what remind me of who I am, what is acceptable to me, and sometimes they slip, however now I have a bench mark and that’s a start!!