Part of getting on our own side is dealing with ourselves in good faith.
When we struggle, our self-esteem takes a hit.
It doesn’t seem to really matter why we struggle— if our pain is old or new, if we can clearly identify where it comes from or not.
It could be the pain of dealing with old wounds from childhood, abuse or other trauma.
Or, it could be the pain of having to live and try to function with chronic depression or anxiety— or something else completely.
Whatever it is, over time, as we’re forced to live with this pain day in and day out, a lot of people get down on themselves.
We often tend to view ourselves as “less than.”
We’re often acutely aware that we don’t experience the world or function in it like many other people.
We even develop elaborate fantasies about how easy and pleasurable life must be for people who DON’T struggle with what we’re carrying.
Over time, our wounded self-esteem just becomes kind of a baseline. We barely even acknowledge our poor self-image as abnormal anymore— it’s just, you know, how we feel, day in and day out.
It’s not like we wake up one morning and DECIDE that we suck.
It’s more like, we wake up one morning and don’t remember a time when we DIDN’T feel bad about ourselves.
A lot of people reading this are nodding their heads— you know what I’m talking about.
Over time, without our knowledge or consent, our self esteem just kind of erodes. And one of the things that happens when our self-esteem erodes is, we become cynical when we’re relating to ourselves.
We don’t talk to ourselves kindly. We adopt kind of an eye-rolling impatience with ourselves.
When our self-esteem has taken a beating, we tend to take ourselves less seriously. We often come to perceive our own perceptions and needs as unimportant or stupid.
Consequently, when we try to respond to our own needs, we kind of half ass it.
We may be aware, for example, that we NEED to rest…but we don’t go out of our way to get to bed at a reasonable hour.
We may be aware that we NEED water…but we don’t go out of our way to drink it.
We may be aware that we function much better when we take our meds…but we don’t go out of our way to make sure taking our meds is an un-skippable part of our routine.
All of which is to say: when we feel bad about ourselves, we don’t conduct our relationship with ourselves in good faith.
Changing how we feel about ourselves requires us to take ourselves seriously.
It requires us to really respond to our perceptions and needs— not just give lip service to them.
It requires us to consider ourselves important, EVEN WHEN we don’t feel important.
It requires us to treat ourselves with respect, EVEN IF we don’t particularly respect ourselves at that moment.
Dealing with ourselves in good faith often requires us to step outside our comfort zone.
After all, when we’ve spent years beating the crap out of ourselves, we’re not going to particularly feel like turning around and dealing with ourselves in good faith, with respect and compassion and deference.
But if we want to build a healthy relationship with ourselves, we truly do NEED to try a few things that won’t come natural to us at first.
Dealing with ourselves in good faith needs to start somewhere.
Go through the motions of liking and respecting and caring for yourself, even if you’re not feeling it at first.
Your relationship with yourself WILL start to thaw as you slowly warm up to you.
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