I am always quick to say I’m Sorry. Fearing I may offend, or that my purse is overlapping some ill defined space in a public place, I apologize. Always assuming that I am doing something wrong, or that I might bother someone, I relent. Reasonably certain that this comes from a lack of self esteem, this is how I have lived my life. From childhood to the present, I live in fear of bothering others. I live my life seeking to please others. Oops… sorry for the space I take up… sorry for breathing…. just simply sorry for being in your way, somehow.
Enviably staring at people who do not fear alienating others, I watch in awe. I can write anonymously with bravery, but I am suddenly angry at myself for not demanding more. I live in anger towards those who should have nurtured my sense of self esteem, and desperately wonder if there is still time to turn this around.
I have been fairly successful at not recreating this personality failure in my kids. Each, in their own way, seems to be strong enough to look in the mirror and appreciate their own value. Along with providing financially for our kids and emotionally for them as well, helping kids develop a strong sense of self is one of the most loving gifts we can give to our kids. My parents, may they both rest in peace, never gave me that. Sadly, I married twice, and both times married men, not like my dad, but more like my mom… quick to criticize and struggling to show love.
Can I learn to love myself at nearly 50? I can easily see the series of events in my life that has made me the way that I am, but because they happen over and over, I must be party to them somehow. Consciously, I dismiss some of the parenting ideas that I grew up with. Long ago, I made the decision that I would raise my kids in the way that I want to, and not allow my parents rules to invade my home. Somehow, I am unable to do things differently for myself. My kids are worthy of being listened to. I never felt that my mom listened. I am a great listener. My kids know that they can tell me anything, and I will listen, without interruption, then begin the discussion process.
I keep silent, and fail to give myself the same dignity that I honor myself with. I have married men who fail to remember my birthday; I date men who fail to do much better. I am worthy; I know I am.
I am just scared to say so.
Still, two divorces, and many dates later, I fail to speak up for myself. Silently telling myself that if I have to remind someone that I matter, maybe I don’t matter, at least to them. Unable to shift, to being responsible to my own self esteem by saying that if I don’t matter to them, it is not me who is at fault. I owe no apologies to anyone for being me.
Easy to say, harder to enact. I breathe…. I exist… I take up space, and love me or not, I am here, and worthy of love and respect.
In the mirror, my flaws magnify. I forgive myself nothing, yet have forgive others some pretty egregious things, in an effort to attain peace and calm.
My goal… instead of watching others with envy as they live in the space that they inhabit, I am going to learn. I challenge myself to breathe deeper and fill my space. I deserve it, just like everyone else does.
I will stand straighter. Posture. The lesson we are taught as children is to stand up straight. Good for the back, good for the soul…. stand up straight and be counted. Self respect demands that I work on my posture.
I deserve it.