23rd February 2017 - 4 mins read
Message: Hello, well I don’t know where to start, one thing that I find difficult is to let go of things. A lot of people see me as a very strong girl so they feel the need to insult me or throw words at me of things I suffer with (such as my weight I have PCOS, and calling me a slut because apparently, I look good). It builds up in me and I feel like a crushed cookie inside. I always feel the need for acceptance and become quite desperate for others to like me. I know I may sound all over the place but I feel I am all over the place.
Dear Female, 23
First, thank you so much for opening up and for your trust.
Your message, I must admit, angered me a little bit. But not because you are feeling the way you are feeling but because of the society that made you feel like this. Believe it or not, one too many times I have to try to help undo the damage society opposes on us. We all have the need to bond and belong somewhere and if we don’t have this soft place to fall to build healthy self-esteem and self-confidence we end up fishing for attention and compliments to compensate what we couldn’t really get in the first place. Acceptance.
But this is a double-edged sword because even though we need a secure and healthy social network, we should not depend on it too much. I tell you to know what many self-help books preach. Acceptance begins from within. Every single person who roams this planet carries insecurities you wouldn’t know of. And some even master the art of hiding it, that one would think the don’t have a worry in the world. But the reality is much different. Those models you see on the covers of many publications are often haunted by demons you wouldn’t know of.
Being a target of hatred and ridicule isn’t easy and it can lead to serious cracks in the own world view and the way people around us are perceived. As though they were a better version of the human kind. But remember this one thing, almost everything that has been ever said to you, was also a projection of the things the other person was feeling/seeing. Happy, or let’s say settled and content, people don’t spread hatred and pain, they act with kindness and when advice is sincere, they will make you understand that advice is sincere, you will simply feel it as it will not be an attack against you. People who sincerely care about you and your well-being will listen to you and try to help you find a solution for inner and outer conflicts.
Now, do all people who mock you and make fun of you, or even insult you, hate you? Certainly not, some of them can be the closest people in your life, such as your parents or siblings for instance. They do love you. But they are, much as you, in too much pain to realize that they are hurting you too. Or maybe, they realize that they hurt you but they don’t want to be the only person in pain.
People in despair are not simply people in despair. Many awful crimes are committed by people who cannot stand their pain anymore and never learned how to regulate it.
I have two little tips for you to go on about your day whenever you are under attack and you feel too weak to stand up for yourself. Or maybe you feel that in the moment you are not witty enough to say something back to take control of the situation. Before you allow pain to get to you. Do this:
The first one is easier than the other. Rationalizing simply means to follow a guideline of well-put steps. And they always include questions you must as yourself. Like, is this attack really about me and the way I look? Is there, even in the slightest, a possibility that the person addressing you is not feeling good about themselves? How was their upbringing? Is that maybe the only way they were ever taught to bring up things they dislike? By using harsh criticism. You will realize very quick, that things are not always necessarily about you. And when you find a bit of truth in what they say to you, ask yourself, do you want to change this? Or is this worth saying, this is who I am and whoever dislikes it, can just go away?
Regulating emotions is much harder but strongly linked to rationalizing the situation. To regulate an emotion or make you feel okay with a situation it requires some self-work. Be certain of who you are and who you want to become. This does include everything from a personal and professional point of view. Once you have an idea who you are, it will be easier to detect feelings that not necessarily part of this vision. You can exercise by detecting any emotion during the day and try to actively change it by distracting yourself or telling yourself that a situation is not what it seems. Let’s say you are afraid of flying and on that day you have a flight to catch, remind yourself that flying is actually one of the most secure ways of transportation and that accidents happen less often than car accidents for example. That will quickly calm you down.
One last thing that crosses my mind while writing is talking to the person who hurt you. Sometimes people are not really aware of what they are doing. We all are the main character of our individual lives. We see things from our own perspective most of the time. And sometimes we do not realize that words or actions can hurt someone else around us. If you feel comfortable enough to speak to that person because you see them as someone important to you, you should bring it up next time you are having a good moment together. Their reaction may surprise you. You may realize that their intentions were pure but the execution was poor.
One last thing, you are beautiful. No matter what. We are born unique, the more we adapt to our environment the more we forget that.
I hope I could help you out a little.