We believe that being cruel to ourselves is a self-preservation tactic. We pick out our flaws because we are survivalists by nature. We have an itch to be aware of what other people could deem unworthy and insufficient. So we dwell on every possible flaw someone could rip apart and use against us. But it never makes us stronger. It doesn’t make us immune to someone doing so simply because we got there first. Believing what other people could say before they say it doesn’t give us a defense against it.
You have to stop believing that you need other people’s permission to be okay with yourself. That however you do or don’t align with what other people value determines your worth. That however the world does or doesn’t show you kindness is a direct reflection of how much you deserve it. You have to be kind to yourself. Even, and probably most especially, when it seems least deserved.
Telling ourselves everything other people could possibly use against us doesn’t numb us to it. It only makes us believe we are worth those words, and that those accusations would be valid. Besides, there are so many variables to whether or not someone will grace you with their approval and praise that it’s nearly impossible to blanket over everyone, and everything, completely and universally. And that’s what’s required if validation is to be sought: definitive certainty. The exact kind we can’t find in ourselves.
But people’s opinions, especially negative ones, largely stem from what they know they don’t have and can’t do. You eventually have to stop basing your self-worth on the insecurities of others and start basing it on your own genuine convictions, no matter how long it takes for you to find them. I always knew that my belief that I wasn’t worth it wasn’t the reason I played my own antagonist. My fear of being hurt by other people was.
The only way you can ever really heal, or find some sense of genuine contentment, is in narrating your life as someone who loves you would. Because you should love you. So today, while I was getting down on myself for something writing-related (because that’s how life works sometimes) I was about to text my one friend who always encourages me and tells me to keep going, but I realized: why can’t I tell myself what she’s going to say? Why do I have to wait for someone else to give me those words? It’s not that I shouldn’t appreciate her encouragement, but why do I value the thoughts and opinions of other people more than I do my own?
It’s a shift of mindset. In that respect, it’s a choice. It’s choosing to get help, to move away, to end a relationship, to rekindle one again. It’s feeding yourself and making sure you get enough sleep. It’s tenderly, constantly reminding yourself that you are going to be okay, not because you’re delusional, not because that’s what everyone says, but because “okay” is where we all end up. Not because anybody else tells us that we will. But because we find it on our own, and learn to believe it for ourselves.