I have struggled with low self esteem for the most part of my life.
Growing up, I didn’t have the internet to compare myself with Photoshopped pictures. I didn’t pay enough attention to the media for it to instruct me to look or act a certain way.
Then, at one point, some people came into my life. They forced an imaginary ideal on me, thrust it hard upon me. I crumbled under the idea of perfection. I doubted myself, created impossible standards for myself and beat myself up when I failed to achieve them. I hurt myself, both physically and mentally, because I couldn’t meet the expectations I had created for myself.
I managed to sail through life with this issue. I was somehow able to dodge it; I found ways to cheat my way around my lack of self worth whenever it challenged me- when I lacked the confidence to talk to people, I convinced myself that I was happy with the friends that I had. When I was too hard on myself and my music to the point that it impacted my life negatively and hindered my growth, I talked my brain into believing that I was doing something good to myself.
But the past few months were a revelation. I passed out of school and was out in the open for the first time, after being sheltered in a conservative environment for several years. One of my closest friendships ended some days later for no apparent reason. I failed in my very first step towards a professional qualification. And some more drama ensued.
I knew that I had to do something to handle this situation better, to save myself. The realisation that I had failed to love myself all these years was easy to accept. The acknowledgement part was easy too. It was the ‘building self esteem from scratch’ part that was horrible.
To the outside world, to all my friends and my family, I still had to smile, crack jokes and behave normally. What happened inside me was nothing short of a battle.
Accepting compliments gracefully, even accepting that I deserved to be complimented…… it was tough to come to terms with. Some days were especially hard. I had to cry, console myself, and pull myself back together. These bad days made me question my existence.. and there were a lot of such days.
I was terrified of putting my words out there. It’s been several months since I created this blog. But it has taken so long for me to finally post something because all this time, I have been judging myself very harshly.
I’m still not there yet. I’m on this journey, riding on, letting life and love lead me. So far, it’s been extremely rewarding. I’m looking forward to the day when I can openly, genuinely say “Yes! I love myself! I’m a beautiful woman, who totally owns herself and doesn’t let anyone’s opinions and judgements matter! I am ME!”.
It’s only a matter of time till this happens.
Author Credits- Saipriya Nagarajan
I’m an 18 year old CA aspirant and a student of Carnatic music, who is extremely passionate about music, books and food. Writing has always been an activity that gives me joy and a feeling of contentment. But when academics became stressful and I had lost the practice of penning down my thoughts, Quora reminded me why I love expressing myself through words. I’ve now started blogging – which used to be my biggest childhood dream. As a part of Madras Misfits, I hope to listen, learn and grow.
Saipriya blogs at Aaroh and she is well known in the Carnatic music circuit of Chennai.