Choose Your Fate: The Gifts of Low Self-Esteem.
I recognized pretty early on in life that I didn’t have a chance in hell at having any self-esteem.
All of the circumstances that I grew up with seemed like they were carefully curated to erode that protective layer that we are born with, which delivers us into a comfortable adult life full of healthy boundaries and a nice yard with kittens.
By the time I entered adulthood, I had been reduced to an exposed bundle of raw nerves, covered only with a nice coating of self-loathing at being unable to protect myself.
For a really long time, I created circumstances in my life which served to keep all those wounds from healing. Often wounded souls learn to wound themselves to keep themselves in false comfort, wrapped in the state of existence that they understand. I saw this pattern, but felt powerless to do anything about it.
The seemingly infinite pain that clogged my heart and ran through my veins like shards of glass only got sharper and sharper.
Over time, I lost the ability to feel the membrane of my own skin distinguishing me from the endless sea of the acid of self-pity.
At a certain point, I realized I was in no way heading in any direction towards feeling any sense of self-love or deserving, and I got really fucking mad. Is this my fate that was laid out for me? Some kind of sentence I must serve? Should I just accept that this is the limitation of my personal existence?
There was a fire burning in my chest that was screaming, “That’s just not fucking good enough.”
As a result, I always say, “We all have two fates. One is the result of whatever mess you were born into, and one is the result of deciding that’s just not fucking good enough.”
And so, I began to build it myself. I began to earn my own love, respect and admiration by becoming a person I liked. This is different for everyone — for me it meant many things, like spending a lot of time sober and developing the sides of my personality that I only had when I was wasted.
It meant getting clear on my truth about all things, settling into a version that felt good to my heart and soul and developing the courage to share it with others so that they could love me or fall away. It meant defending that truth, not hiding it or adjusting it to accommodate others.
It meant no longer conforming to ideas about living that made my soul feel like a butterfly in a tiny airless jar.
It meant dreaming big — taking those dreams and building them in my life outside my head. It meant rebelling against the prison guard of shame and beginning to tell my story. In doing so, I found I had wisdom, unique perspectives, deeper compassion: value.
Because I was not wired to love or accept myself, I fall back into old patterns quickly. This keeps me always busy building new things that are tangible — that I can see outside my own head and love — growing, showing myself new views of myself, kicking down walls, living in a state of continual renewal.
It’s this frenzied state, desperate to keep earning my own conditional self-love, that keeps renewing me. Keeps me renewing my vows to myself. Keeps me earning my own love.
Had I grown up wired to feel lovable just because I exist, I probably never would have pushed so hard to grow in these ways and build these things. There would be such a grand volume of gratitude that I never would have gotten to experience in this life.
And whenever you are forced to build something yourself, it runs way deeper and is way more stable. No one can take it from you.
If you can look at everything that you perceive within yourself as a disadvantage, with an open heart (not judging it as bad) and ask “What is this calling me to do?” your life will begin to unfold in ways you never thought possible.
Padhia (pa-dee-yah) Avocado is an artist, a writer, and a spectacularly flawed human with a difficult past. For as long as she can remember, her one dream in life was to live her way to a place where she would be able to look back on all that had happened and see tremendous gifts in the chaos — to actually be grateful for it. After many years of suffering with debilitating depression, and spending every moment of her life wanting to die, she was finally able to break free of the cage she lived in and build the life she dreamed of. She uses her experiences to create street art and projects that spread hope, which is often the first thing that is taken from those who seek help. She has coached people all over the world to their freedom from depression, and is a partner at The Angry Therapist. You can read more of her story on her blogs, Unfuk Yourself, Love Me Anyways, and The Balto Bunny Project. She can be found on Facebook and on Instagram.