How To Aquire A Self-Esteem

It's Christmas Eve and since I am Finnish, this is the day of celebration in the current holiday. So, obviously I'm here with my obscure ponderings instead of doing something celebratory. Well, I've kind of already excelled in chocolate eating and family time so today has not been a failure in Christmas scale at all.

But now, I'm not the textbook example of a stable person with a good self-esteem and a positive body-image. Actually, I'm not an example of any kind in terms of those qualities. However, I'm not exactly a suicidal basket case either. I'm kind of here and there, swinging from a high flow of doing something I'm good at, to a low of hating every atom of my being. At present, I would describe my mental state as somewhat unsteady emotionally - even on my regular mood-swing scale the current alterations are a bit extreme, mostly extending in the low end. The cause to this is a whole other subject - and one which I'm not going to get into today.

Even in the midst of this mental turmoil, I have managed to keep a part of me sort of intact. At the core, somewhere behind and under all of the disappointment, pressure, expectations, evaluations and ideas of what I should be, is that tiny part that says 'stop it' if I go too far. I wouldn't necessarily claim that I love myself because in my mind that sentiment is seamlessly joined with an overall, unconditional acceptance. To a certain point, I accept myself as I am but there are so many obstacles and barriers on the way, set by me, that 'to love' seems slightly strong an expression in this instance.
What I do have, is more like a general appreciation towards any human being. I grant you, there isn't a lot of cause to have faith in humanity; but as a unique individual, unknown to me personally, everyone is offered the same starting point which comes with a certain amount of respect towards their individuality, humanity and autonomy. That is to say, I believe that everyone who's born has the right to live, right to be free and believe in things they believe in. I think that no one can possess the moral superiority to end another human life whatever the motive for such course of action.

This core belief, one of the building blocks of my very understanding of the world, is the key to my own self-esteem: as I value any human life, I appreciate mine own. At any given moment I may be most disgusted by the failure that I feel I am, and yet recognise the incontestable value that I have as a living, breathing human being. It's not much, if you put it in context of the entire humanity with its school-kid killers, egoistic politicians and sociopathic businessmen. Because my principle of the sanctity of life covers even the scumbags of humanity - but maybe we could just lock them up.

So, I have a basis for some level of self-respect. And that's good.

Some years ago I went to a psychologist for a while due to difficulties that I had in synchronized skating that I devotedly spent my time doing back then. Generalising the ways in which genders typically interact is not a thing that I often do but having spent 10 years in the world of girl-dominated team sport I figure I am in a position to draw some conclusions. Everyone who's been an adolescent girl knows how utterly malign they can be. Being one to never quite fit in the group wasn't easy was fucking impossible, and with that my bottomless naivety and faith in the goodwill of others (plot twist: there is no goodwill, whatsoever, amongst teenage girls). Added to that my personal tendency to perfectionism did not equal a functional combination.
After months and months of spiralling down my vicious circle I finally asked for help.
Talking to a professional made me realise a lot of things that I've only fully understood years afterwards. She made me believe that I wasn't crazy, wrong or the cause of all evil. Instead I saw that the relationship with my coach and some of my team mates was the issue. At the time though, I kind of suppressed this knowledge because trying to make use of it would have required confronting the coach and the bitches in a way that would have had an impact on our group dynamics. Which might have resulted in something good, but when you are in that world you don't question certain things. In order to maintain a team spirit and an unstoppable drive to practice constantly you refuse to see some of the shit that's going on behind the scenes. It's like some controlled, seemingly democratic micro-society that has its own rules that outsiders have no way of grasping.

Anyway, that little something, the seed of acceptance about myself regardless of the kind of feedback I would get from the people in the skating universe has stuck with me. In some level, I will always know that I am who I am, and I'm not going to change. And also that sometimes when I'm feeling unspeakably awful it is not because I am essentially wrong or bad, but because the world is. And that, I think, is what keeps me sane even when I feel completely insane and detached and miserable.

So, Merry Christmas everyone!

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