I’ve never hidden from anybody, especially the readers of this blog, my struggles with self esteem. Growing up AS/HFA, my self esteem levels have always been decidedly low. It’s hard to feel high on yourself when the simplest actions seem to go awry. I’ve had it pounded into me that my thinking is at times “wrong” and that acting with good intentions, I manage to wreak havoc. So yes, I have issues.
There comes a point at which that becomes unacceptable though. There is a level to which tireless self hatred becomes destructive and purposeless. So it is with me. I’ve reached a level where my tireless disdain for myself has worn me out. I need to improve.
For that reason Amanda challenged me to each day for a week thing of three things I liked about myself and to think about them all day. She felt by doing so I would improve my self esteem and develop a more positive opinion of myself. I did as promised and every day on the way to work, I told her three things an I thought on them.
What were they? Many of them were traits I like. I like my passion for my interests. I like my energy for my writing. I consider myself a kind and devoted person. I’m willing to upend my life at a moment’s notice for other people. I know a lot about a lot of obscure topics. I think I’m somewhat funny.
How did the experiment go? I’m not sure. I think the results were generally successful. It certainly forced me to take a hard look at myself and expend a lot of effort to find things. The first few days were easy with surface ideas I could mine but time forced me to think harder on things I hadn’t considered.
The result was introspection that went counter to much of what I see in life. Many of us need to look harder at our flaws and admit they’re there. I had to do the opposite. It challenged me to go against what I believe in: the need for such deconstruction of the self. I had to build myself up despite my distrust of the person I might find.
And ultimately I found things to celebrate. The things I listed were things I believed in. Do they heal the darkness within I still fight? No. But they are there. We have to force ourselves to look for the light in our lives, even when it’s hard. It can gie us some small embers of hope.