Like so many other young adults, my tragic flaw is my desperate longing to be liked by everyone. I feel uneasy and anxious when I find out someone doesn’t really like me. I start racking my brain for what I did wrong to this person or how I could have acted differently to win the approval of someone I don’t even really know.
Perhaps it’s my anxiety talking, or perhaps it’s my overemotional nature, but I’ve always found myself craving social validation or acceptance. And when shit happens and friends and relationships come and go, I tend to drag myself through the mud.
“What is wrong with you? Why can’t you just be better? Why can’t you fix it?” I’d often ask myself. And the loathing and self-abhorrence continues on from there.
I’ve always genuinely envied those people who, for lack of better words, just don’t give a fuck. The people who don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks of them, the people who are confident enough in themselves to not concern themselves with the opinions of others. Every time I try to put my inner-bitch pants on, it always ends up being a sorry attempt at a façade and I only feel more isolated and alone.
So how can you change this?
It all starts with self-care. Building confidence and self-esteem can only come from you and you alone. If your worth is dependent on your partner or the approval of your friends, then you may want to reevaluate how you see yourself.
Confidence is built from within. Finding it is a personal and intimate journey of self-discovery.
I realize now that for so long I’ve valued the wrong things. I overvalued my appearance and attention I was getting, to having a wide circle of girlfriends that I could tag on social media. My esteem revolved around likes and shallow connections with others.
Only recently have I shifted my ideals to revolve around things that truly matter. Things like having a moral compass, compassion for others, distinguishing right from wrong, and having deep, meaningful friendships that don’t revolve around the latest gossip and talking shit. Genuine human connection seeks to lift you up and heal you, not to tear you down and make you feel unsafe.
So when you think of your life, think of it as an immaculate dining room table. The fine china and the perfectly folded napkins and goblets represent the effort, kind gestures, time, encouragement, and energy you put into others. Place value on how well your table is set.
And instead of being sad someone doesn’t want a seat, be selective about who you invite to sit with you. Instead of thinking, “Why don’t they like me?” think “Do I even like this person? Do their morals align with mine? Do they deserve a place setting?”
You and your table deserve to be respected and appreciated. And when you continue to love and value yourself, you won’t settle for less.