Friday, February 18, 2011

Opinions of others.

I have a confession to make....
I'm terrified of this guy:

Not him so much as what he represents actually :P

But seriously, I've come to the realization that I am terrified of other's disapproval.

I've always been a perfectionist so some extent. Anything I did I wanted to do well, or I figured I might as well not bother. So I definitely put my 100% into everything I did. But there also came a point that if I knew I did my best I was confident in that fact. What people said to me didn't influence my self-worth, because I knew I had done a good job. I was able to see right through them and recognize the fact that they were either:
a) jealous
b) malicious
c) ignorant

But somewhere down the line that changed. I suddenly needed other's praise and recognition because I wasn't able to get the assurance I craved from an internal source. I was NEVER good enough for myself, so I relied on others opinions to let me know how I was doing. Now this can be a positive thing when you are surrounded by a loving family and supportive friends. But unfortunately not everyone out there is like that. There are people who will kick you when your down, and take advantage of your weakness.

Right now there is someone in my life who does that. He's an instructor and as such I simply don't have the option to distance myself from him. But I dread every minute we spend together. I react so negatively because I am unable to please him. I do everything he tells me, and the next time we see each other he ignores the progress I've made and instead chooses to focus on my mistakes and shortcomings. And it's tiering and infernally frustrating. I always leave him feeling like I want to cry, because I feel so low. Add some personal insults (he's asked me if I'm "slow" or just stupid) and you've got yourself the person I am faced with several times a week. I think it's understandable that I spend the whole day dreading our next lesson.

I react to the disapproval of this man in a very peculiar way. I go between beating myself up for being stupid and unable to learn, to wondering if he is just a particularly difficult person that happens not to be too fond of me. On the one hand I want to believe I am doing my best, and that he should have some appreciation of that fact. On the other hand I feel like I should be pushing myself harder, because if he's so harsh there must be something wrong with me.

To be honest I don't know how to deal with this particular situation. But I DO know I need to learn to deal with others disapproval of me. I can't walk through life expecting to be congratulated, patted on the back and encouraged at every turn. There will be people who want to knock me down, make me feel worthless and unimportant. But I am going to be stronger then them. I am going to learn not to back down, and be confident in who I am. If I am doing my best that needs to be enough for me.

I think it's so important to develop and internal confidence, a sense of self-worth that is not swayed by every harsh word or comment. If you've had an ED or just have low self esteem this is so much easier said then done. But try to find your good points and focus on those when you're feeling low. Even if all you can find is one, it's better then nothing. Cling to that positive quality, put it up on a pedestal in your mind. If you can believe it and celebrate it, soon others will learn to see it in you as well.


  1. Disapproval is really hard to deal with. For the longest time, before finally connecting with a counselor I loved, I looked at life from my "ladder" perspective. I refused to give myself compliments and praise because while it does feel good to go up that ladder, one tiny disapproving comment from a random person, intentional or not, brings it all crashing down, and I'd much rather be closer to the ground when I fell.

    She taught me to focus on the positives and quit waiting for the negatives to happen. I argued that they're inevitable, but when you realize that that's true, you also realize there's no sense in dwelling over them and waiting for them to come knock you down. Just get over it, stay strong, and embrace the better things. :)

  2. This is such a great post.
    I'm sorry that you're having to deal with that instructor :/
    From what I've read, he seems to be taking out his own frustrations and shortcomings on you. I really like the fact that you are able to see that some of these comments are not YOUR fault.

    My favorite part of this post: "If I am doing my best that needs to be enough for me.
    I think it's so important to develop and internal confidence, a sense of self-worth that is not swayed by every harsh word or comment. "

    That is so true. Many times those of us with ED seem to be so harsh on ourselves, holding ourselves up to higher standards than can be expected. To find something we love about ourselves can be a challenge at times, but it will make things so much better when we find ourselves in these antagonizing situations.

    I'm so glad to see you thinking in such a positive way! You're doing wonderful :)
    <3 Haley