It’s not easy to do things you’ve never done before — it starts with walking, continues with learning to accessorize and applying to university, tests your patience when you become convinced that Wits or UCT left several key steps out of their instructions, and gets a little dicey around the time you realize the baby in your arms isn’t made of plastic (it’s actually your cousin Emma), and is relying on you to make sure it doesn’t die.
(bahahaha okay I just think this is so funny....)
Luckily, there are things and people in place to aid us with taking on such tasks.
Our parents are there to hold our hands until we know it’s okay to let go. Our friends and the latest edition of Vogue let us know that skinny belts are on the way out and our guidance counselors help us see that rocking brassy highlights isn’t what the essay prompt meant by “overcoming adversity.” The parenting classes we attend assures us that our baby doesn’t hate us, and our mothers inform us that we also dabbled in the art of feces finger painting and we turned out just fi– well, we turned out, didn’t we?
If you’re anything like me, however, you start to notice that there are things nobody really talks about. Things nobody can really help you with. Things that are kind of a big fucking deal. Like balancing what you’re supposed to do with balls with what you actually feel like doing with balls, how to recover from hitting “reply all” on an e-mail with less than favorable sentiments regarding half of the recipients, and, most importantly, your self-esteem.
My approach towards my self-esteem has always kind of been like, whatever. It’s like a grumpy drunken uncle who I deal with whenever I have to, but other than that, I sort of live my life pretending it doesn’t exist. So far, so good, right? The thing about self-esteem, though, is that you don’t actually notice there’s anything wrong with yours until you realize how much it has led you and your life down the pathetic path less traveled.
It begins easily enough: You talk yourself out of buying the dress you want because you’re convinced your boobs are too small or your stomach is too big or your hips are too wide. I mean, everyone feels that way at some point or another, so you justify your disgust by thinking it’s natural and basically acceptable to completely despise your reflection. A mini-meltdown in the dressing room over a piece of cotton is just the way you roll.
Later that night at the grocery store, you bump into the guy who sat next to you in your English literature class two years ago who you always thought was charming and funny and adorable and insightful, but a little shy. You think about asking him if he wants to hang out sometime, but decide not to because he probably doesn’t feel the same way. I mean, why would he, right? Goodbye, almost future husband, you whisper as he walks away from you in the cereal aisle.
The following week at work, you discover that a colleague who performs the exact same tasks as you and has been with the company for less time has received a promotion. For a moment, you think about asking for a raise, but then quickly decide against it. You don’t want to seem pushy or ungrateful or annoying or jealous.
After work, you go out with your friends and one of them poses a moderately intellectual question. You think you know the answer, but you begin to wonder if you really know the answer, and so you bite your tongue to avoid embarrassment in the event that you’re wrong. A few moments later, someone else answers instead — with your answer — after Googling the information on his or her Blackberry.
This is the sort of shit that you’re used to. And you wonder why your life sucks.
It’s not easy to do things you’ve never done before — which is why this is going to be challenging — but it’s time to get real and call self-esteem what it really is: Self-doubt. There are three things that are good about self-doubt. Can you name them?
Trick bloody question! Nothing is good about self-doubt. Self-doubt cheats you out of a cute wardrobe, sabotages your opportunity lure eligible bachelors back to your pad, annoys your friends, causes unnecessary anxiety, and ensures that you will always be questioning your competence and crossing your fingers when you check your bank balance. Self-doubt is the only thing standing in the way of the life you deserve.
This is why you have to kill your self-doubt. Seriously______ it needs to die.
Its weaknesses are compliments from other people (pay them if you have to — this is vital!), flattering lighting (public mirrors are public tears), convincing yourself that people who reject you just can’t handle all of that perfection (it’s not lying if it makes you feel better), and, if you’re taking notes, get out your highlighter: Simply not giving a fuck.
Say it with me: Fuck you, self-doubt. We’re fabulous :P