How You See Me, How I See Me
You see me as a leader. I see me as a failure.
You see me as real. I see me as a fake.
You see me as strong. I see me as weak.
You see me as a friend. I see me as a burden.
You see me as a mentor. I see me as a fraud.
You see me as helpful. I see me as lazy.
You see me as confident. I see me as uncertain.
You see me as pretty. I see me as ugly.
You see me as a communicator. I see me as an annoyance.
Each of the “you see me” statements are things people have said to me at one time or another over the years. The words in the “I see me” section are what I have often responded with in my head. The truth is I am all these things at any given time. But taking a compliment has never been easy for me and I judge myself harshly. Luckily, I am getting to a place where I am learning to take those kind things people say and cut off the negative responses in my head. Getting there hasn’t been easy.
All of us have confidence issues at some point so I know the majority can relate here. When it comes to mental illness, the judgements we make about ourselves are more rooted in a deep-seated belief system; one that is ingrained in us because of the way our brains work, or don’t work. I would never in a million years say the horrible things to anyone that I say to myself. They are cruel and hurtful. Yet I have spent the majority of my life telling myself these awful things. Why?
Journal entry, December 31, 2010 – I just felt like that fat, ugly, loser my dark side always tries to tell me I am. Some situations I can walk in to a place and feel strong and in control…other times its as if someone else takes over and tells me how horrible I am and that everyone is better than me. When that other part of me does take control, there is very little that anyone can say or do to make me feel like I am a worthwhile person. For the last few years I have begun to find ways to try and instill confidence in myself, to dare to believe that I am valuable to the world. I wish I could explain exactly how this has happened, but it’s hard to. There have been a million little steps along the way however the biggest one has been to learn to be aware of that negativity, acknowledge it, and replace it with positive statements, even if you don’t truly believe them at the time. This is not as simple as it sounds, and I likely will always have to fight with myself to see my worth.
I want to see myself as others see me and am striving every day to get there. Kind words that come my way are not forgotten or unappreciated. In fact, I often replay them in my head many times over and they give me a smile. So, thank you to everyone who shows me that kindness. If you know someone who lives with a mental illness, remind them as much as you can about what they bring to this world, what they mean to you. Tell them they make life better by being here. I promise you it makes a difference.