I need to talk about something that is very personal to me. I think it’s important that people read this and at least think about it.
It all started with Ashton Kutcher’s speech at the MTV movie awards, where he talked about jobs, being sexy and building a life. After I watched that video, not only did I have a new found respect for the man but I re-realized some things. Watch it here if you haven’t : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNXwKGZHmDc
This made me think of what I value in a human being and more specifically, what I value about myself. I have spent years figuring out what self-worth means and I feel like it’s time to be honest about it.
I have had a uphill battle with self esteem for many years. There have been nights when I laid awake crying, doubting my value as a human being and as a woman. It has gotten better through some counseling that I received at my church. but it still gets to me. I have tortured myself over the fact that my eyes cross, or that I’m not a size two. I have literally withheld myself from doing things because I didn’t feel like I was good enough. I wouldn’t do my hair, because I didn’t see the point when I didn’t think my body was up to par. I wouldn’t write, because I was afraid someone would make fun of my grammar and think I was stupid. I was ashamed that I didn’t obtain my diploma until I was 22. I didn’t have a proper high school education and I had to really work to get where I am today. I finally realized just recently that, that is something I should be proud of.
I know that’s crazy and I have since worked my way out of that horrible, untrue, mindset.
I’d never want anyone to go through that the emotional instability that I have, even though I know many people have gone through much worse. This is why is it so frustrating and angering when people point out the negatives in other people. Last semester, I had a fellow classmate tell me that I was big boned. She also told me that I had a “hidden penis” because I like fly fishing and shooting guns with my dad. I also had people ask me why I haven’t gotten my eyes fixed (I can’t). One guy told me I was repulsive because my boobs are big.
I know that I’m not the only one who has bullied. Because that’s what it is, bullying. These things can seriously damage a person’s view on themselves. And though I want to say shame on the haters, really it’s shame on me for listening to the haters.
It is our responsibility to surround ourselves with positive people. I have spent years trying to make myself into what I thought was good enough for people. The point is, is that people are going to have good and bad opinions. Also, people are going to have the opinions that they want to have. When that girl told me last semester that I was big-boned, something clicked. At a size four, I wasn’t about to let myself think that I was big. I had come a long enough way through my own personal issues to know that, that was not true. It still hurt though. I still felt bad after she said that to me. That’s when I really realized that it’s my responsibility to maintain my own self-worth and self-confidence. Since then, I have worked at surrounding myself with only positive people, and when I can’t do that, I just use polite manners with the bad-mannered people. I don’t think about what they think of me. I don’t let myself wonder. It takes a lot of self-discipline but when I let those people’s back handed comments or their opinions even slip into my mind I’m validating their effort to degrade other human being. It’s a philosophy that is so simple, yet it’s one that took me over ten years to learn.
I think we need to take it a step further though, I think people, including myself, should make it our responsibility to put other people in positive environments. I would never want to be the person that made another person feel less than what they really are; most people are really nice, and really great, and we should never want them to feel less than that. Similarly, I work to not get jealous of other people. We all have things that other people want, and we all have baggage. Admire what people have, and help them with their baggage. As Ashton Kutcher said, Be kind, be generous.