Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how hard I am on myself and how it might be connected to my weight. I have no idea where it comes from but I tend to put a ton of pressure on myself for no good reason. I realized this while I was reading a Globe & Mail review of a book called “Tiger Mother: Son of a Bitch” which is a response to Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” which is basically a book about how to be a horrible uncaring mother so that your child will get into Harvard. Anyway, the point is that the review got me thinking about how thankful I am that my parents never put such a ridiculous amount of pressure on me. They always told me to simply work hard and do my best. That’s why I’m confused as to what it is about me that causes me to hold myself up to ridiculous standards.
This has been most noticeable in how I view my performance in school. I wouldn’t really consider myself an overachiever but I’ve definitely always gotten good grades. But what I’ve noticed is that I’m only happy with my performance until I start comparing myself to my friends. Suddenly it doesn’t matter that I made it onto the dean’s list because my friends received numerous other academic awards. What’s even worse is that I would probably feel better if I had the best grades out of all my friends. I probably wouldn’t care so much that there’s always going to be someone out there who achieves more than I do. I find it so strange that on one hand I can be extremely happy about my accomplishments and yet on the other hand I always have this nagging voice saying, “You could have done better.”
I’m starting to think that this attitude is somehow tied into my weight. When it comes down to the simple side of my weight the issue is simply that I eat too much. In fact, I seem to gain about ten pounds a year which is extremely unhealthy and an unsustainable way of living. But getting back to my attitude, I still can’t put my finger on it exactly but I know there has got to be a connection to my weight and the feeling that I’m never quite good enough.
I used to think that I loved myself but I’ve come to realize that I still harbor a lot of negative thoughts about myself. For whatever reason, I have some major issues with my sense of self worth. I can’t believe how quick I am to insult myself or get down on myself for not being “the best” even if it’s not what I really want. And yet I know that I have a lot of positive qualities. The funny thing is that I’m often unwilling to acknowledge them. If I say aloud that I think I’m pretty that will cause everyone to think I’m just an incredibly conceited person, right? Well maybe, maybe not. I still don’t think it’s normal to feel the need to inform everyone about your own best qualities. They probably come through on their own. But once in a while I think that we all need a reminder that we aren’t complete failures and that yes, we do have some really good qualities.
I guess right now what I really need to do is reflect some more (as always!) and learn to truly love myself. Last night I was talking to my mom and she said, “Try going one day without getting down on yourself, it’s actually really hard.” She’s right. But hopefully with practice, I can learn to appreciate myself and eventually that will translate to bigger and better things in how I view myself and my body.