Imagine having someone follow you around all day long telling you how crap you are. Every time you eat something they tell you you’re a pig, every time you make a small mistake they tell you you’re a giant fuck up, no matter what you do it’s wrong. That is basically how I lived my life for a long time except there weren’t two people in the scenario, it was just me.
I had this idea of perfection in my mind that I was constantly grasping at and anything that fell short of that felt like devastating failure. I hated the way I looked, I felt like I wasn’t a good enough person, I was a bad friend and a disappointing daughter, I never felt good enough at my job, my blog was rubbish, my house was mess…the list goes on.
Not surprisingly, beating myself up mentally every single day took its toll. I lacked confidence in every aspect of my life and it was making me miserable. I knew I had so many good things in my life but I couldn’t fully enjoy them because there was part of me that felt I didn’t deserve it. And eventually I cracked and suffered a really bad period of depression.
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Initially my reaction to the depression was ‘I have so much going for me in my life, I shouldn’t be feeling like this’ and ‘There are people so much worse off than me, I’m pathetic to feel like this’. This thinking only made me feel guilty and added to the giant stick I was already beating myself with.
Through counselling, I realised that a major cause of my depression was the fact that I never ever gave myself a break. Every day I told myself nothing I did was good enough and it was totally exhausting. I thought that to care about myself was a selfish act, compassion was something you should only have for other people.
Over the last few months I have been putting my life back together again and working on changing how I think about myself. It’s a work in progress, but I am learning that if I can be kind to others I can be kind to myself. More than that, I deserve to treat myself with kindness.
Just small changes in how I think about myself have started to make a huge difference to my life. I feel more confident in my abilities in my job, I feel better about my appearance and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I know it sounds cheesy but by shedding the negativity I have made more room for other things in my life that I enjoy.
At 31, I finally feel liberated from all of the stuff I have been dragging around with me for years and my future looks pretty good. I know life will always throw the unexpected at me and it’s not always a smooth road, but I feel more prepared. So what if I am not perfect, I'm pretty darn fine the way I am.
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