Lose Myself

Crying Out for Acceptance, Approval & Appreciation

In this world, we find ourselves striving for material things, things that can be bought, things that can be studied or achieved. We want the nice house, the pretty clothes, the flash car, the good grades, the top job to fill our bank accounts with money, and the list goes on.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting these things, as most of them are basic needs and wanting our things to be nice or attractive to look at isn’t a crime. However, it becomes a problem when this becomes our main want in life and our desire for these things overtakes our need for happiness, love, inner peace or our own well-being.

We have a tendency to neglect our mental and emotional health, in favour of meeting the standards society has set for us, striving to make the most money we can, or get the best grades we can, or have as many things as we can. I’m guilty of this myself and I’ve been paying the price for it over the years.

I put myself under pressure and unnecessary stress to achieve the best grades possible at GCSE and A-level. I worked myself ragged as I did all I could to get into my dream university. I found myself emotionally drained and mentally tired, giving my all on a university course I hated, in an institution where I never felt comfortable.

Although my grades at GCSE and A-level were good, I got into my dream university and I persevered for two years at that university, it wasn’t worth the emotional and mental turmoil I put myself through. By putting myself on a pedestal and piling on the pressure, I ended up losing myself and a sense of happiness in the process.

My energy dropped, my mood could quickly worsen and I let little things upset me. I found myself easily getting into depressive states, I cried bucket loads of tears and I was self-harming over the years. I was emotionally dying, walking around in a daze and struggling to fall asleep.

Yet through it all, my desire to make others proud wouldn’t allow me to give up. I wanted to make my parents proud, I wanted to make my family proud, I wanted to make my Textiles teacher proud, I wanted to make my tutors proud etc, etc. However, I can’t say that I was making myself proud – all I saw was disappointment after disappointment.

My GCSE grades weren’t good enough for me. I wanted to get all As at A-level, just like my teachers had predicted, not just one A*. I was regressing rather than progressing at university, which depressed me more and more, because I was trying my absolute hardest and spending practically every waking moment on my assignments.

None of this was helping me and my desire to be the best (or perhaps the world’s idea of the best) was covering up the issues within myself. In trying to be the best, I was crying out for acceptance, approval and appreciation.

I wanted my parents to say how proud they were of me and tell me they loved me. I wanted to make something of myself so that people would no longer look down on me or look through me. I wanted to ensure that I wouldn’t be second best anymore.

Looking back on it all, I can see that all I want and all I’ve ever wanted is love, affection, support, care and appreciation from the people around me. I don’t want to feel lonely (despite not being alone) and I don’t want to feel like I’m second best all the time. Yet what I really need is to learn to truly love myself.

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What’s Good For Me

I really need to do what’s good for me now.  I need to stop doing what everyone else wants me to do and stop being what everyone else wants me to be.  I need to stop caring so much about what people say and I need to stop worrying so much about letting people down.  I need to do what’s good for me, otherwise I will suffer and lose myself in the process.

Yesterday, I finally admitted to myself that I was not willing to go back and complete a stage of my life that I thought I was finally ready for. Just reading a simple e-mail and thinking about what I had to do – as well as what I had forgotten to do – stressed me out more than I expected and then made me cry and cry.

I had not even returned yet and I was already crying and feeling negative.  All I kept thinking was: “How on earth am I supposed to become a more positive person if this just keeps dragging me down and making me feel terrible?”.  I realised that this was the sign I needed from God, as I finally saw how unhappy and distressed this part of my life made me.

God does not want any of us to be unhappy and I know that I definitely don’t want to be.  This part of my life kills me inside and I know that if I want to move forward, I am going to have to disappoint and go against some people by putting it behind me.  My health, well-being and becoming a better person means too much to me, and I refuse to let this part of my life jeopardise that.

After talking to God and taking a walk to release some of the negative energy – during which I saw the Primary School that holds such a special place in my heart – I realised that I had to go back to basics.  I not only need to become the joyous and carefree person I originally was, but I also need to go back to my first love and do what truly makes me happy.

Putting an end to this stage of my life will be one of the starting points in my journey, as I work on putting my past and the negativity in my life behind me, so that I can become a better version of myself and be baptised.  I want to be a new creation in Christ and completely start afresh, in all areas of my life.

Sometime soon, I hope to embark on a new path, move somewhere new, be around new people and leave my past completely behind me, with God by my side every step of the way.  I need to ensure that I get back to basics and do not only what’s good for me, but more importantly, what God wants for me.