Photo Credit: 3 Little Birds Photography
Self-love, self-esteem, and confidence are all topics that are frequently talked about on my social media timeline. I’ve chosen to follow fitness influencers and authors and entrepreneurs in addition to people that I personally know. These people often discuss issues like self-love, how to be confident, and how to make it through times when you’re struggling. More and more people are opening up about mental health, anxiety and depression, and feeling inadequate. It seems like the norm to be vulnerable and to admit to struggling. So why is it still so hard for me?
Because I do see so many posts about mental health and transparency, I forget that not every one is focusing on these same topics. Not every one is following the same people, not everyone is engaging in the same conversation. There are many people who don’t understand the struggle of having low self-esteem. There are many people who don’t realize how damaging it can be to not feel confident in yourself and your abilities. A lot of the people I encounter in my every day life seem to fit into this category. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it does explain why I’m experiencing a disconnect.
I’ve heard the phrase over and over again, “confidence is sexy.” It’s not seen as attractive to admit that you’re not confident in yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I have days where I feel totally confident and comfortable and awesome. But I also have a lot of days where I struggle.
My most recent tattoo is a simple phrase on my wrist. I got it during a period in which I was heavily struggling with self-confidence and feeling inadequate. To be honest, I’m still struggling with these things. I often feel like I’m not good enough. Not productive enough. Not smart enough. Not fit enough. Not a good enough daughter, friend, employee. Not funny enough. Not cool enough. Not strong enough. Not enough. So the phrase that I got permanently inked in a place where I see it often is simply: “I am enough.”
For me, my tattoo represents a number of things. It reminds me to be confident. It reminds me to trust myself. It reminds me to love myself. It reminds me not to worry about what other people think. It reminds me that I am NOT inadequate and I do NOT need to fit a certain box to be considered “enough”. It reminds me that I am beautiful from the inside out and that I am worthy of love and that I am incredible. These are all things that I know, but sometimes the little demons in my head try to tell me otherwise. I love my tattoo, and the phrase resonates deeply with me and it is a daily reminder to tell those voices in my head to f*%# off. But, I get embarrassed and clam up whenever someone asks me about it. Kinda paradoxical, right? Here is my tattoo, telling me that I’m enough, but here I am, getting all self-conscious when asked to explain it.
The truth is, I struggle with being openly vulnerable. I struggle with putting my emotions into words. I struggle with opening myself up to criticism and judgement. Weird right, because I have a blog where I share some pretty personal feelings? The reality is that yes, I share personal things on the internet but I physically cringe when someone tries to discuss my blogs with me in public. Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE hearing from people that they enjoyed my blogs. I love seeing the number of people who have read it slowly creep up. I love when people share it. But actually discussing the feelings that I share in my blog? Yeah I’m not so good at that (I’m working on it though so don’t be afraid to talk to me about it in person!)
The internet is great for an impersonal way to share personal information. I don’t have to watch someone react as they read. I don’t have to read into their body language and worry what they’re thinking about. I can share my feelings while being removed from the response to those feelings. But when I’m standing in front of someone who wants to talk about me and my personal shortcomings? Yeah I don’t feel so comfortable with that. And that’s a problem. I am working on being more comfortable with being vulnerable. And not seeing vulnerability as a weakness. I know that there are others out there who share the same feelings that I do and that I’m not alone.
Recently I’ve come to the terms with the fact that I’m often too sensitive. I react to things too harshly, I take comments to heart too easily (if you missed my earlier post on my hypersensitivity, read that here.) I believe this stems from that underlying low self-esteem issue. The not feeling “enough.” Like I said, I’m working on it. So when people scoff at my tattoo, I take that as them not caring about my low self-esteem. Actually, they probably just don’t struggle with the same issue so they cant relate, or they are also struggling with being able to be open about their issues. But, it’s probably not about me and I’m just reacting egotistically. I’m working on that, too. I talk a lot about the importance of not caring what other people think, but I still struggle with that every single day.
The reality is that allowing myself to be vulnerable is uncomfortable but necessary for me to feel heard. And to share my struggles to help others and receive help in return. So here I am, being vulnerable, sharing that lately I’ve been struggling sometimes with self-esteem, self-worth, and self-love. I have good days and I have bad days, too. But with my daily reminder, hopefully it will become cemented in my brain that I AM enough. Struggles and all.
Thanks for reading and allowing me to be vulnerable. Hit the share button if you feel so inclined. I sincerely appreciate every view, every comment (in person and online), and every share.