Inspired by May 13th’s blog post Self-Blame, “I’m Sorry,” and Forgiveness. Her courage to write that blog post is now giving me the courage to write this one.
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My parents used to always tell me that I was “too sensitive”, that I didn’t have the thick skin to deal with even the tiniest of criticisms. But what they never realised was that I was stuck in a vicious cycle of self-blame. I used other people’s insults and harsh remarks as fuel to blame myself for not being good enough, and then I would blame myself for blaming myself, and I would hate myself for letting my self-worth be battered down by these words that weren’t even true.
I’m that type of person who will never show that I’m hurt, even if I’m being torn to pieces on the inside. Whenever someone insulted me, I would remain poker-faced and free of any tears, and it was only afterwards that I would found myself analysing and over-analysing every single cruel word they had fired at me. The truth is, I do have thick skin; I just have too soft of a heart.
It’s only been in the past year that I began to realise just how much unnecessary self-blame I’ve been placing on myself, and while that realisation hit me harder and more painfully than I would have liked, it gave me the push I needed to start adopting better habits and more positive outlooks, to start loving myself more, and to start loving myself for the person I am today.
I stopped hanging out with peers who ignored me, who excluded me from their whispers, who made me feel inferior, like I wasn’t good enough for them. I stopped fake-smiling and fake-laughing, and I stopped trying so hard to get into the good books of the more ‘popular’ crowd. I stopped fearing about what others would think if I acted goofy or made mispronunciations or declared that I actually enjoy a subject that everyone else detested. I stopped caring so much about their worthless judgements.
As my mentor once wisely said to me: Would you ever go to that person for advice? If not, then that person’s opinions are of no value to you whatsoever, so toss their words into the bin because they aren’t worth any of your time and consideration.
To reach out to anyone out there who’s spent too much time blaming themselves and not enough time loving themselves (as I have), I’m proposing a No-Blame Wednesday. A day when we reflect on our week, and recall 5 or more things (no matter how big or small) that liberated us from our moments of self-doubt and self-worthlessness and self-blame.
Write down that moment you stood up to a long-time bully, or that bittersweet moment when you finally realised just how much of an asshole Mr. Asshole-who-made-you-feel-like-everything-was-your-fault-not-his was and broke up with him, or that moment you forgave someone who was genuinely sorry they had hurt you. Write down those moments on small bits of paper, and then put into a jar – your Jar of Self-Worth.
Let that jar be a reminder of your self-worth. Let it remind you that you are worthy, and you are enough.