Saturday, 3 June 2017

A Note on My Flaws and Insecurities

personal reflection flaws insecurities mental health

I've spent the last few weeks in a bit of a slump. Mentally, emotionally and creatively, I have felt stifled. My insecurities reared their ugly heads out of nowhere, and after a really tough night in work, I felt like I was losing grip of what I knew, and losing control of aspects of my life.

I have always been an insecure person. There's probably a variety of things that caused it to stem. There's the obvious one - the fact that I have struggled to accept and embrace my appearance ever since I was a child, where I felt my size 8 bum and thighs were huge -, and there's the way that I always looked at other girls as competition when I was younger, even my friends. It wasn't that I wanted to compete, but maybe that I felt I had no 'in' to any of the exciting things they experienced. I was the second best at all times - I was never dating material. This never bothered me, but I wonder if subconsciously it's something that fed my insecurities.

I feel second best in a lot of cases, to a lot of people. That's how it's been, and that's OK. My rebuttal to my insecurities has always been to feed my own ego by being somewhat arrogant and being appalled as to why I'm not seen as the best, of being in first place, of being this, that or the next thing. I've always been protective of myself, defensive, and have always used a shield of arrogance to protect myself from things that could hurt or damage me. I have no intentions of going out of my way to change this - that's not the point of this post.

I have flaws, I am human, and I am well aware of them. In the worst, most aggressive parts of my depression, I'd frequently list and mind-map the flaws that I saw, counting each and every last one, no matter how large or small. But I also have good qualities that I often overlook, things I should now remind myself of on a daily basis, things that should tell me I am worthy and I have a  good heart - even when I lose my way.

I am incredibly stubborn. I will not back down, I will argue until you see my point and if you don't, I'll keep arguing anyway. Stubbornness has a way sometimes of getting people into trouble, and when I've looked at myself and those around me who boast the stubbornness trait in the past, I've often viewed it as a neither good quality, nor an overly bad quality. Now, I see my stubbornness and I clap myself on the back. I will fight for what I believe, I will fight for what I perceive to be right (note that I don't say what IS right since that's usually down to opinion) and I will fight for what I want. Right now I have no idea where my life is going, but when I get there, I have faith that I will persevere. I have my stubbornness to thank when me and Jack are going through a rough patch and I think it won't get better, but I hang in there because I refuse to give up on him, on us, and suddenly things get better and it works itself out and I am so thankful that I held on so tightly.

I am ruthless when it comes to self-preservation. Yes, it is selfish to some people to cut out those from my life who I find are a more toxic, damaging presence than helpful and good, but I think it's necessary for anybody to help them lead a healthier, more positive life. I am not a positivity pusher, but for my levels of happiness to improve, I need to be surrounded by good people I can trust, as opposed to being in a sea of bitchy, back-stabbing and untrustworthy people. I have learned, and am still learning everyday, how to take care of myself, protect myself, and how best to defend my mental health from attacks or breakdowns. I take small measures like distancing myself from those who aren't a good influence, most weeks I try to make plans so that I make sure to leave the house for things other than work, and I make sure to sit down and do creative work when the mood hits me, rather than forcing myself to do it when I'm not in the right frame of mind. Things like this can take their toll if I don't take precautionary measures to look out for my state of mind first.

I see the flaws in everything. This is something that used to be much more prevalent when I was younger, in my teens, than now. Now I have learned to not pick at things, to at least try to be happy about things instead of being the big black rain cloud overhead. I used to see the bad traits in people and would pick up on them easily, and focus on them too much. Then, when I came to slowly accept my own flaws, I started to realise that nobody is perfect. I realised that everybody has a few less-than-perfect parts of their personality and that that was OK. I looked past these and saw the things I enjoyed about them. I am not perfect, so why should anybody else be? 

I am scared to fail, and scared to make mistakes. I always have been - that's why I hated having teachers pick me to answer when I didn't raise my hand in school, and why I put off getting a new job so long after getting used to working at Sainsbury's, because the thought of newness - of starting over, of learning how to do it all over again - absolutely terrified me. I cried after my first shift at my current job - no way was I going to keep up with people; make friends; fit in; be any good. I always have these fears and worries and concerns, I always feel fraught with anxiety whenever I encounter something new. But it wears off, it gets better. Practice makes perfect and it becomes less scary the more you do something and you learn how to handle certain situations. I still feel scared of failure, of mistakes, (especially in the work environment) but I am more confident in approaching new tasks and I always think, if I fuck up, I fuck up - it's not actually the end of the world. I can't get everything right on my first, second, or even third try!

I could go on - I could reel off that list I made in the very first art journal I ever worked on, and I could own up to a fair few of my flaws even now. I am flawed. I am insecure. Sometimes I am overcome by both these things. But I'm stubborn, so I persevere, I push on, because I don't know what other option there is. And then I become less frazzled, less overwhelmed, and things begin to go back to their normal pace and suddenly, I'll be at peace again for a week, maybe even a month.

I am lazy, I'm selfish with my pizza, and I can often come across as being too blunt, upfront and a little bit careless in what I say. But I am also fiery, feisty, tougher than I give myself credit for, fiercely loyal - I will defend the ones I love to the death -, I have a lot of love to give when it comes to my SO, and I am always making people laugh (albeit unintentionally). 

I will always be plagued by my insecurities, and they will rear their heads whenever I don't want them to. But I have learned, from writing this post and looking back on the things my 16-year-old self considered flaws, that every flaw I see, I have a trait, if not two, that will counteract that. I'm not perfect, and I don't claim to be. I'm 23 and I still work everyday to push self-love and self-acceptance my way. I have bad traits, yes, but my good ones will always, always outweigh them.


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