Of Self-Esteem Issues and Overcoming It

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A week ago, I felt super exhausted. It was the kind of exhaustion that wasn’t curable by good food or a vacation, not even sleep. After coming home from a long and stressful day, I sat down on the edge of my bed, rested my chin on my right hand, and just stared at my dog. I stared at her for like a good ten minutes and millions of thoughts about school, my life after it, this photography-slash-blogging thing that I’m doing, and work crossed in my mind.

After that weird moment, I lied down on my bed, took out my phone from my bag and started checking my social media accounts. While I was scrolling down my feeds, I saw people’s posts about their recent mini successes in whatever field they were in. Some people posted about their recent travels. Others shared their latest work in photography, writing, painting, lettering, and other mediums of art. Then I felt this familiar feeling of fear that my closet-full of self-esteem issues would open up. And it actually did. 

In the days that followed, things got a little worse. The pity parties happened almost every night. I know I have to put an end to it and shove all my self-esteem issues back to where they belong, which is in the past, but you know how sometimes the thoughts in your head are so loud that it dominates your entire being? That’s exactly what happened to me. 

Last Friday, I sat on the edge of my bed again and thought about the photo session and the blogging workshop that I was going to attend the next day. Then there was this loud thought in my head that says, “Pffft… stop trying so hard. You will never be great at photography or blogging. Just give it up already!" I was so close to cancelling my plans for the next day but I thought of the people who were expecting me to show up. So I still went. 

When the day was done, I looked at the photos again and I felt inadequate. I started comparing my work with other people. Then I found myself saying, “Shet. If someone was to photograph this whole thing instead of me, they’d produce photos a million times better than mine. Mine’s just crappy and so ‘trying hard’.” Another pity-party was about to start but I went to my room and picked up my Camp Courage notebook. I re-read the notes I’ve written down and it felt so therapeutic, especially when I reached the end of the notebook and read the kind words that the girls in camp wrote about me.

I then read these words: “Believe in what you create.” It was said by Katrina San Juan (the creative genius behind The Daykeeper Date Book) during her talk about dissecting the creative process. It was one of the things that I was reminded about because of the notebook. I also read: ”Your race is different. Don’t compare yours to others,” these are beautiful words that were spoken by Zyra Manlunas during her talk about discipline. 

Aside from the notebook, I picked up the daily devotions book that was given to us during the camp and read it. Sitting on the edge of my bed, alone in my room felt like I was having a one-on-one talk with The Lord. His words made me take a good look at what I’ve been doing to myself for the past week. 

I felt sorry and embarrassed for letting those ugly thoughts drag me down. He has blessed me with these eyes to see the beauty in the world in my own way and yet I insult His gift. It was very heartbreaking to realize that the pain that I was inflicting on myself, catapulted to Him. I lost focus in living His purpose for me because I magnified my insecurities instead of the graces He has already given me. I mean, He has already blessed me with the right people like Ate Kat, Ate Zyra, my friends and family to become instruments to encourage me to carry on with my creative pursuits! Being reminded of it silenced the loud, ugly thoughts in my head. 

The next time my closet-full of self-esteem issues burst and come out, I only have to remind myself that I am running a different race and I shouldn’t compare mine to others; that I should believe in what I create; that I am already blessed with graces everyday; and that I should be faithful in His plans (1 Thessalonians 5:24) for His plans give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

If the loud, ugly thoughts in your head keep taunting you (I know some people out there have it even worse), I pray that you remind yourself the same things.

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