That quote from Joan Rivers seems to go a long way to explaining why she spent her life altering her appearance. For so many of us our view of ourselves is set by others. We see ourselves as others see us and not as we are. We can spend our whole lives wishing that we were different.
I doubt that any of believe we are perfect but in today’s society it would be easy to believe that you are ugly. The norm set for beautiful by fashion models is unreachable except by 13-16 yo’s. There are so many ads on media telling us what to do to be beautiful…use this face cream, wash with this soap, go to this plastic surgeon.
The truth is that the criteria set by society is not reality. None of us can live up to it and we can make ourselves miserable trying to change. Even the “beautiful people” have a history of being unhappy. It seems that no matter how you look there can be shadows underneath. Remember how many rich and famous people have committed suicide.
In my lifetime I have never thought myself beautiful. I was an awkward teen and as most girls I wished I was prettier. It took some time before I began to see the things that were good about me and they weren’t all physical. By the time I married and had children I was reasonably happy with myself. I felt able to “fit in.” Even though this felt good I think this is part of the problem. We want to fit in.
The thing is we don’t always need to fit in. We need to be ourselves. We have to learn to be the best at who we are. This requires accepting ourselves. This is not always easy. Many of us have things that set us apart from the norm. It could be appearance (being in a wheelchair, having a deformity, etc.) or it could be mental illness.
You are unique. There is nothing wrong with being who you are. Learn to be yourself! This is one of the most valuable lessons that you can attain. Accept who you are with all your warts and scars. Those things are what make you YOU. Don’t let others tell you anything different.
It is amazing to me how closely linked my anxiety is to my IBSD. There is a connected pathway between the two. It goes both ways. For the last few days I was really stupid and didn’t take some of my medicines. The results were what you would expect. I ended up with a bad episode. It’s what happens when you get disorganized and don’t follow your regimen. Now I’m suffering for it.
It shows how life goes along just fine and then we ignore what we need and we bear the results. I know there are people who don’t deal with issues such as this but no one is perfect and they have other things to deal with. Life is never perfect and we would be bored to death if it were. It would be like living in Pleasantville (old movie). Nothing changed and life was desperately ordinary.
Sometimes it is hard to cope with the things that plague us but most of the time I can see other problems that I wouldn’t want. I once went to a lecture where the presenter asked everyone to write their biggest problem on a piece of paper and pass it to the front. She then asked who wanted to come up and take someone else’s problem. No one did. Like it or not we have a relationship with ourselves and have developed the coping skills to mitigate our health issues.
Each of us has the life we have been given and our purpose is to make the best of it that we can. This means continuing to learn, grow and live!
It is really sad that our culture wants to find ways to put people down. They are too fat, too thin, too poor, strangely enough- too rich, too sad, too ugly, too drunk all the time….I could go on and on. My experience over the years has been that those judgments are made to move the viewer up one notch…..”I am not that fat, thin, old, ugly….etc. By comparing myself with you I can make myself feel better. The actual problem lies with their own self esteem.
We each want to feel good about ourselves and in some part it can be enhanced by how others see us. We all need positive affirmation. We especially need someone who can reflect our goodness back to us. We are communal people and yes, we want others to like us.
Only someone who is totally secure in themselves can survive without affirmation. It is the rare person who can achieve that kind of security in themselves. (or someone who is a narcissist or a sociopath)
All of this is why we need to stay with those who support and uphold us. People who tear us down and are negative need to be let go. We don’t need that in our lives. Some people can seem to be supportive but are really undermining your self esteem in subtle ways. Beware of them. They are probably the most subversive and worm their way in by seeming kind. Turn away from them.
We grow and strive toward acceptance of ourselves and if we are blessed we achieve some achievement of that as we grow older. I almost think it takes age for us to realize our own worth and not depend so much on others. If we do it earlier we are rare.
Learning to understand and appreciate ourselves and our abilities is a lifelong journey. Each life lesson brings us closer. Keep learning and growing.
Someone said recently “old wounds never heal.” I so disagree with that statement. In medicine, there are wounds that are difficult to heal. Some may take a great deal of time and attention. With work they will heal.
I think that the wounds we encounter in life do heal. At least if we let them. It is possible to keep picking at a wound and re-opening it. We may not want to turn loose of that hurt. It is possible to keep it going forever. However, what good does this do us? Just having the wound is painful and offers the possibility of infection. Infection is when the hurt digs down inside of us and causes, not only mental pain, but also physical symptoms. Deliberately holding on to wounds hurts no one but ourselves.
So what happens to wounds? They heal. There may be a scar to show that something happened to us but it may not even be noticeable. It may stay there forever but most of the time we will not even notice it. The healed scar may also help us to see the things that we have overcome. It can give us courage to face the next thing that appears. We can also use our scars to prove to others that healing is possible and give them hope.
Don’t keep wounds open. Let them heal and move on.
I have been listening to an audio book by Alexander McCall Smith from the No1 Ladies Detective Agency series( Tea Time for the Traditionally Built). I love these books and the audios are so well read I think I am there.
The main character had blister on her foot from walking. She had that day put several band aids on it and it had now popped and felt better. She thought to herself (my rendering)”If we will just do what we can about a problem to fix it and move on after that things will work out.”
This thought really resonated with me. We spend a lot of time worrying about a problem and trying to make a decision. In the meantime the problem continues. If we would just determine what can be done and do it we would be ahead of the game. The other piece of the puzzle is that once we have done that we have to let it go. That is also very difficult. We would rather pick it up and chew on it again like a cow chewing a cud. Somehow we have to learn and implement these important things.
Identify the problem.
Decide if anything can be done.
Determine the best solution (for now).
Do what we can.
Let it go.
This is hard for those of us who obsess and worry. Can you do what is possible and then move on?
This struck me as being profound and encouraging. I heard it somewhere else and then found it. Sometimes when something comes to an end we feel a let down. Something is over. We don’t think ahead and see that something new is beginning. We may not know what it is or when it will begin but it is there. Each time we start something we are beginning at the end of something else. It is a sort of circular thinking.
In the past year I have struggled with where life was taking me. Something 20 years long and fruitful was ending and I couldn’t see the beginning of anything else. Now I realize that the ending was but the beginning of a new journey. One that would teach me much about myself and force me to spend time with me. Not something I really enjoy doing.
Now I am in a different place. I still have a journey ahead of me and a lot more to learn. I have turned loose of the desire to be “out front,” I had always needed this to counter my sense of unworthiness. Hubris still rises from time to time but I am learning to push it back down. Anxiety can still attack but I am better at fighting it. I don’t always win but learning takes time. I have learned much from hearing the stories of others.
Each day is a new beginning. It is the end of the old day. Change can happen.