The Reality Of Low Self-Esteem

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I promise I wanted to write a happy post today, I promise I wanted to write about my weekend back in Sussex. About playing Zelda: Breath Of The Wild for no less than 20 hours. About Chinese takeout. About sleeping on the sofa in a sleeping bag. But when I woke up this morning, that wasn’t the thing I needed, beyond anything else, to get off my chest.

This was.

And so here we are.

When I think of someone with low self-esteem, I think of someone who is disgusted by their outward appearance. Someone who maybe thinks that they’re fat, that they’re ugly, that their skin is gross and dull and spotty. Someone who wants to hide away because they look at themselves in the mirror and they’re repulsed by the reflection they see staring back at them.

But my kind of low self-esteem is different.

I can look in the mirror. I can look at myself and accept what I see.

Sure, there are days when I plead with myself to just try and drop a dress size. And days when I wish my hair had more volume, was more glossy. Days when I wish my skin tone was more even and the pores on my nose less visible.

But for the most part, I am OK with the girl – or should I say, woman – who looks back at me from the mirror every morning whilst I try and work out whether my striped tee goes with whatever skirt I’ve whipped out from the back of my wardrobe.

The part of myself that I struggle with, is the actual me. The core of me. The person I am. The spirit that makes me Hannah Gale.

And I’ve struggled with who she is for a long, long time.

I guess you could say that I struggle with my self-worth. Because I don’t value myself. I’m not convinced by the person I am.

And some days it’s OK. Some days I play the fake it until you make it game. I’m good at that. I’m good at putting on my confident, sassy, bad ass bitch mask and taking on the world. I’m good at acting out the person I’d like to be, of making the world see me in a certain light.

But I’m less good at being at peace with myself. Of saying, fucking hell, I AM SO AWESOME.

But then of course there are the other days. Days like today, maybe. Days when I wake up and I don’t want to put my mask on. Days when I don’t want to burden the world with my presence. Days where I want to sit on a silent beach on my own and watch the waves gently crash into the pebbles.

Days where I want to be alone with my head and my own pity for myself. Days when I’m like, y’know what would solve everything? Taking off to go to New York on my own.

(Spoiler: I’m not writing this from Heathrow Airport, I am, rather boringly, in my local coffee shop with a big plate of avocado toast).

I spend a lot of time wondering why I hate myself so much. I wonder when it started and how it grew. And I wonder if it will go on forever. I wonder if this monster will be with me until the end.

The issue with hating yourself is that some days you can handle it and some days you can’t and on the days when you can’t, it’s hard to articulate to anyone – even those closest to you – what’s wrong.

It’s not a simple ‘I’m annoyed about xxx’ or ‘I’m upset about xxx’, it’s much, much more complex.

And so it’s easiest to gloss over it. To pretend you’re fine, when actually, nothing and everything is wrong.

Nothing, because this is something you’ve spent an eternity living with and so really, nothing new is wrong, and everything because it is everything. It impacts the entire way your world spins round.

Which is perhaps why I don’t talk about it. Because it’s easier to keep it boiling away inside, rather than to attempt to put a lifetime of emotions into words.

So maybe this is a post for anyone else who struggles with the person they are. For anyone who despite their sassy go-get-em appearance, often feels like they are pushing against a wave that is threatening to overcome them.

The world is tough, life is tough, but then again, so are you.

And today I’m totally over all the bullshit in my own head. Today I’m taking the first step in accepting myself. Today I’m going to book a counseling appointment. Because life is too short to spend it not only hating yourself, but hating yourself in silence.

Wish me luck.


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