I'm gonna be honest with y'all. I am the jovial, fun, happy-go-lucky person y'all have come to know and love. I enjoy being around people and doing things and taking advantage of life.
But I haven't been incredibly honest with y'all. Underneath that reality is a more darker hue. I have serious self-acceptance and self-esteem issues. I feel like I seem confident most days, but deep down, I lack a lot of confidence in myself. I really don't know where it comes from: I wasn't raised that way. I feel like my rearing was something that has made me into the public version of myself that I am today, the one I described opening this post.
I think it really starts with this nasty habit I have of comparing myself to others. It happened throughout my childhood, when I compared myself to how much my brother was able to woo girls and how much of the "cool kid" he was. The last bout of this nagging habit came during graduate school, when I kept convincing myself that I didn't belong because my peers had more mentors, had "better," more typical student affairs experiences than I did. I eventually came to realize that the work I did and do today is valuable and important in Student Affairs. I'd be lying if I said those same thoughts don't creep into my head occasionally, but I have more confidence in what I do.
For the longest time, I have struggled with my weight and size. And in many ways, both are really my fault. Bad habits in college, eating out too much, not exercising enough. Yet, despite addressing the blame, I still fight every single day to tell myself that my worth as a human being is not dependent upon my size and stature. That there are people out there that appreciate me for who I am. That I could attract a life partner despite my size and weight. One day, I believe all these things to be true. Another day, the doubt creeps in.
I'm only 24 but I obsess about having it all figured out. Having my finances under control, having my career laid out in front me, never making mistakes in life or my work, and making everyone around me proud. And some days, in fact many days, it's hard to see evidence of such. Please note that I don't say this to evoke pity or the like: I know I am one of a million people with the same problems and I have the incredible privilege of a great support network of colleagues, friends, and family.
Tonight is the first time I'm actual verbalizing that struggle publicly. I don't want to hide beneath the "problems" and not address them. This is a first step and I hope those out there dealing with similar or even graver personal and self-deprecating concerns can take a first step someday as well. Low self-esteem sucks y'all. And you can push through all you want, but it eventually catches up with you.