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Same Sex Attraction, Confidence Issues, Weight Loss and other Freaking Hard Things!

Hard Core Self-Esteem Issues

I was writing an email last night to a woman in my support group forum. In the email I referenced my self-esteem issues and told her that was a whole other story. So on that note I decided to write an entry about it.

I don’t know when it started but for some time now I have had very low esteem for myself. I don’t think it was always this way. Like most girls who hit puberty though, I am sure that was the beginning of my battle with my self image and self worth. The only girl I have ever fallen in love with was my absolute best friend in High School for about 1.5 years. After then she got a boyfriend and we didn’t spend as much time together. I was still in love with her though. Anyway, the beginning of our friendship blossomed really fast and was very intense. Most of all I remember feeling like I finally mattered to someone. She showered me with compliments and affection and it really was so wonderful. I remember telling her once that I felt like it was such a privilege to know her and to be her friend. She smiled and sincerely returned the compliment…and I really believed her. She really meant it and it felt so good to know that. Our friendship shifted and changed as we shifted and changed. Eventually it ended in a not very good way but I will always cherish what our friendship was. I have yet to find another woman like that in my life. My husband loves me, this I know. But I still seek, still crave, the love and attention of a woman. And when I do get some attention (no matter how fleeting or small) it helps a little and then in the end it makes me feel even worse.

Having really discovered myself over the last 5-10 years I have also seen a correlation between my self-esteem decreasing at an alarming rate. And now I find myself at the bottom. I don’t know how it could get any worse. Honestly. And I really don’t know how to change it. I have a pretty good idea that my lack of self-esteem stems from being a gay Mormon. I’m not saying this to speak negatively about my church or my testimony of the truth of the gospel. I am just saying that it is really hard to find value in myself as a person when my physical feelings are so contradictory to what I believe.

I have had many a discussion that feelings in themselves are not anything. They can be neither bad nor good. They just are. And I understand that. But I still seem to feel it is necessary to punish myself for having them nonetheless. I feel in a sense that although I have done nothing wrong, I somehow am still a bad person, and therefore need to be treated as such. And because we are always our own worst critics, I have taken that punishment upon myself to enforce. And at this point in my life I do not know how to stop or how to change my thinking. I don’t think…rather, I know that I cannot do it by myself. I know the Lord can help me with anything, but I wonder if I need to return to counselling of some kind. It has been a number of years since I felt I needed any counselling, but having just now really honestly discovered how poorly I think of myself, it might be time to re-visit the idea.

I am not well. I do recognize that I have grown a lot. I have had hours of soul searching and many, many prayers followed by discussions with my husband, bishop and friends. And I am making great strides in my personal life and challenges…except this one. And I feel stuck. I just don’t love myself. I know that I have an unhealthy picture in my minds eye of how my life, of how I was supposed to be. And no matter what I do I will never measure up to my unbelievably high standards. Why are they so high though? Where did I learn that I had to be this way? That anything less than this idea was unacceptable? How can I just let myself be? How can I look in the mirror and feel love towards myself? I do not know. I just don’t know.

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