It’s the beginning of a new year and as usual, most of us are trying to come up with ways to make 2016 better than 2015, or at least make ourselves better.
This is not a bad thing. In fact, I think the human race as a whole should always be looking for ways to improve not only ourselves, but the world around us. We shouldn’t need a new year for us to strive for this. However, I can’t help but wonder if our desire to change and improve is altogether a healthy mindset.
Hear me out. I think everyone should always try to better themselves, mentally, physically, emotionally. I think we should always be making positive changes. But I also think our world, specifically those who spend a great deal of time on social media (and yes, I am totally guilty of this), has a terrible case of the “Not Good Enoughs.” We’re not thin enough or we’re not pretty enough or we’re not rich enough or we don’t travel enough. And why shouldn’t we feel this way? We live in a society that idealizes celebrities and their superfluous lifestyles. We are constantly being presented with images and ideas of what life “should” be if only we were rich enough or pretty enough or famous enough or successful enough.
Again, I think we should all strive for success and for health. But I think we spend too much of our lives lamenting what we don’t have and what we don’t experience to enjoy and appreciate all that we DO have.
But it’s more than just experiences and notoriety and fancy vacations. It’s also a personal thing. I’ve shared this before, and after reading the book Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone, I’m inspired to share it again. For the past three years, I’ve been treated for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Although I am in a very good place in my life, one of the side effects that I still struggle with from time to time is low self esteem and social anxiety.
This isn’t all the time. For example, when I’m working, when I’m at a book event, or when I’m talking about books and publishing, I’m one of the most confident people you’ll ever meet. But catch me off guard in a social setting? Not good.
I’ve been told over and over again that I have no reason to struggle with self-esteem issues. But that’s just the thing. I know there’s no good reason. That’s what’s so frustrating about any kind of mental illness. There’s often times no reason to feel what we’re feeling. No logical cause behind the emotion. But the chemicals in our brain are telling us to feel a certain way or to think a certain way.
I know this is an issue. But I’m also finally at a point in my life where I can tell myself that I deserve to think better of myself. I do deserve better than what I’ve thought of myself for a long time. I am good enough. Maybe once I finally get that through my head, I can start being the person that I really want to be. I think I’m off to a good start.