Friday, January 9, 2015

Self-love > Self-esteem

I am currently doing a short-story project (that’s actually long overdue). If you had a chance to catch the tweet I made a couple of weeks ago, you’d know I asked for story suggestions from whoever was reading at the time. They could give me any story they wanted told and I would write it out for them. I tweeted that tweet because I had a sudden urge to write a short story, but I didn’t know what to write about. I initially only wanted to do one, since I wasn’t expecting more than one person to respond to the tweet. Fortunately, several people ended up tweeting me their story suggestions. I am grateful to all of them, so I screen-capped the suggestions and kept them on my desktop to remind myself of the stories that I can write about.

I ended up postponing the project because procrastination, and by the time I finally made time to choose one to get started on and get some words down, I came down with a fever. Then when I got better, again, procrastination.

Just a few minutes ago I tried picking up where I left off, but admittedly, I am finding it difficult to put words into writing at the moment. Classic human, I point the finger outwards, to a certain blog a friend of mine brought to my attention, . This blog is run by one of the most amazing local writers to put words on paper (or screen, whatever), and reading her stuff, I can’t help but feel like my own writing now seems a lot like the scribblings of some dude fresh out of school and is still only writing at SPM-level, like, cukup-cukup nak bagi dapat A dalam SPM level, whereas she on the other hand is like way up there (imagine me gesturing with my hand up above my head in a salute-like motion), the big leagues, the pros, where one has got to be to be considered worthy.

And I guess I’m second guessing myself, feeling like anything I write on that story sounds just, ugh, bad, and tasteless, and bland, and hollow, and just, ugh.

But, yeah, I came across a tweet the other day, from Miss @arlinabanana who, upon being told on that she “got high self-esteem”, said:

I don’t think I have high self esteem. I am my biggest critic. Like…literally big. Ha ha. Anyway, a great psychiatrist did a research on this and he said self-esteem is not important. In fact, it’s even better if you don’t have it. What matters most is self love. It’s not about whether you can do something or not but it’s more to, if you can’t do it, will you still love and accept yourself? This way you can always try and fail and try again without feeling like a sore loser. That’s how you become a winner love.

She captioned this screen-cap with “self-love > self-esteem”. She later joked that she should open an advice column one day. I wouldn’t mind if that actually came true.

The point she raised about being able to love yourself, even with the realisation that you suck at what you are doing, that totally hit me. It’s been on my mind now for several days (or maybe just two? I don’t remember when she first tweeted that) and I feel that it’s a very important part of staying positive; and that's being accepting of who you are.

A lot of times, we tell other people and ourselves to accept others the way they are, flaws and all. Love them anyway, and that can only lead to good/better things. But we rarely apply that when it comes to ourselves. At least I don’t. I’m super critical about myself and what I expect from myself. I have a certain standard for myself and the stuff I do, so when I’m not up to par, I can be very unforgiving of myself.

This inability to forgive myself, in the end, cripples me and prevents me from moving forward, since I think and tell myself “you suck anyway, why bother doing it if you’re gonna suck so hard at it?” After that I just sit there doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself, which in turn makes me feel guilty because I’m not doing anything productive, not doing anything I love doing, which makes me feel worse because I am aware that I am in no way improving the situation and am only turning myself into a suckier person than I previously was, and thus the vicious cycle goes.

Now I see that the key to breaking that unhealthy cycle is self-love. I need to have the willingness to love myself enough to say “Yeah, I know I suck. But what’s important is that I’m okay with it.”

Being able to be okay with yourself, even when you’ve admitted to sucking can only bring positive results, because then you won’t shy away from doing the thing anyway, and by doing the thing, over and over again, you will surely get better at it, and you’ll suck less, and even your inner-voice will start to notice this and start saying “hey, you’re not so bad after all.” That will encourage and motivate you to do even more, becoming even better as you practice it more and more.

To conclude, yes, I suck. I know. And it’s not wrong to admit it. But I have to be able to say, hey, I still love me, no matter how good or how bad I am. So go ahead, do what I want to do, I won’t love me any less just because I’m not good (yet) at something. Do what I love and I will love me anyway. As long as I do things that make me happy.

Okay that last part got a little weird, even for my standards.

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