Define yourself..don’t let anybody else define you.
I’ve struggled with self-esteem issues for years. It’s not even about self-esteem. It’s just that I don’t seem to really know who I am. I used to be like chameleon. I became whoever my mom wanted me to me..was a total clown in school so I wouldn’t get bullied. I continued to hide my true identity (my mixed ethnic heritage) to survive in a very conservative and extremely homogenous school. It was a lot to take on as a teenager. I tried really hard to blend in with everybody even though it meant that I had to ride a bicycle for 45 minutes to commute to this high school, when there was one which was much closer. I guess I did whatever to survive and it was critical. My mother suffers from borderline personality disorder so it was really important for me not to instigate her at home but of course I didn’t know what would set her off.
Anyways those days are over. I live in America right now and I have been struggling even more because I am so used to letting other people define who I am, what I am supposed to like..I used to see myself through other people. I became an approval addict by the time I graduated from college. It was especially important for me to have men’s approvals. It makes sense to want to be accepted by other people and of course you want to be in a relationship with someone whom you can be who you are. I think it is natural to seek such unconditional love, support and affection even though that doesn’t really exist in romantic relationships..only parents can give that level of love. But anyways it was particularly important that guys that I was dating really liked me..really loved me. Even though I didn’t even really like them, i felt like a total failure unless they loved me.
Now, more than ever, I try to decide who I want to be. I no longer let other people define who I am or who I am going to be. I am always open for suggestions but at the end of the day, I am the only one who can decide who I want to be, and the reason why I say this-“I will decide who I want to be.” because I am pretty sure that I will struggle with my identity for the rest of my life. Identity is gradually formed as a child tries new activities, explore different options and learns to be comfortable in her own skin. Actually identity is a process and we never stop growing. But people who grew up in an invalidating environment are more likely to grow up not trusting their likes/dislikes, not knowing who they are, not even knowing that they can be whoever they want to be. But it is never too late to start being YOU. So I am ok with the fact that I don’t really know myself. I frantically searched for my identity especially through relationships and it really didn’t work out. That’s how I invited abusive men in my life and they were willing to define me. lol But you are the only person who can decide for yourself..how you want to live your life. If you struggle with identity issue,,,like me, you may feel anxious in general but that is ok. In the past, I didn’t allow myself to feel uncertain about myself. That is why I had to be in a relationship..find a new man before this one ends because otherwise I was going to have to deal with that shaky feelings. So what? I don’t really know who I am right now..I can still learn who I am and most importantly, I am determined to discover who I am..but not through other people. I validate myself and am willing to take the time to let that authentic feelings come to me.
Authenticity..which is sometimes to accept yourself for who you are. If you are not quite sure about YOU, that’s also part of who you are. Let’s discover our authentic self together and it is always good to know that you aren’t alone.