I am unsure of how to tell this story. It may not flow. I’ll start with a scene.
I was living alone when my ex and I broke up. I mention that I was living alone because for anyone who has, knows that when you are alone you tend to think. A LOT. I sat on my sofa and often looked out the window. What world was I living in? Where in this world did I want to be? But I didn’t budge. After that break up, my self-esteem was buried. I felt that if he couldn’t love me, no one could. I knew my faults. He did too. He liked to point them out to me. And this low self-image made me unable to progress. My self-worth was at nothing. I was the dirt on the bottom of his shoes. These feelings directly linked to how I felt about my appearance. I always thought that if I were pretty enough, my man would never leave me. Or cheat on me. There were days I felt so ugly I wouldn’t leave my apartment. Why should I burden the world with my ugliness?
This sounds awfully depressing and perhaps even a bit extreme and dramatic. But when we hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up. I had a wonderful friend who helped me through that difficult time in my life. Of not just the break up and lack of positive self-image, but also a time of self discovery. I had tried to be someone he wanted me to be. I changed myself to the point where I didn’t even know myself anymore. This friend of mine encouraged me to go back to my writing. So I did.
The first thing I did was write down everything I remembered about myself before I dated him. The places I loved going to, favourite foods, shops, outfits, and memories with friends. Making a list of all my favourite things domino-ed into other lists of myself. These lists became the definition of who ‘Nancy’ was and then I had to figure out who she IS. Along with the lists of my favourites, I also made lists of goals and the hardest one: talents. Because to name a talent, is to say something positive about oneself, and that can be hard. My friend helped by pointing things out. This started to boost my confidence.
I no longer remember the time frame exactly of how long it took me to overcome my depression, but I remember that those simple exercises of writing put me in a place within myself where I could say with feet firmly planted, “No one will ever make me doubt myself again. I know who I am. And I now know my worth.”
I have strived to live up to that standard all these years later. One of my favourite phrases my friends and I have is: “Don’t even try it.” (said with proper attitude!) When some guy tries to treat you bad, you just say, Don’t even try it. He lies to you and then tries to convince you to stick around, you say, Don’t even try it. Or whatever it is that he does that is not acceptable, you just say, Don’t even try it. And move on.
Now I am very lucky to be married to a man who treats me with respect, recognises my worth, builds my self-esteem and makes me feel like I can achieve all the desires of my heart. He believes in my talents and he encourages me all the time to use them. But sometimes I think, I am not just lucky, I had to decide for myself first that I am worth more than what I had before. x