- A question I often ponder on is even with all the will in the world can one overcome low self-esteem?
With time, I’m slowly beginning to mend those self-destructive thoughts of unworthiness. The change of path came from experiencing the death of my father. Two years ago, I got a call to say that the Dr’s couldn’t do anything more for my dad, it was his time, and that my family were waiting for me so that we could switch off his life support machine. I had time before I was due to travel, rather than sit alone in anguish, I went to my office late at night. I wanted to prepare the office for my departure, as I was worried how my colleagues would cope in my absence, they relied on me.
My colleague, Andre, saw me inside when he walked past, perplexed he wondered what I was doing. He could tell from my demeanour that something was up. I opened up, something I was never good at, and told him I would be taking time off to watch my dad die.Andre said that he was going to tell me something about myself that he thought I needed to hear, because he wanted to help me. Abi, you have almost everything going for you, apart from one major flaw, you don’t give your time to people, to let them see the real you. When we go out as an office, you’re the first one to leave early, for my birthday everyone turned up, but you didn’t. You’re not just my colleague, you’re my friend. Am I not good enough? He thought the complete opposite, it was me that thought I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t want anyone to see my unhappiness. Andre: Life isn’t about material possessions, how much money you have, it’s all bull s**t, while it’s laudable you put work first, people are what matters, do you want to die alone, because you have this impenetrable barrier that no-one can get through?
After I went through the grieving process of dad dying, coming to terms that I’d never see him again, Andre’s candour seemed to have resonated with me. Months later, my boss was leaving to start a life in Dubai, he took me to one side and said that I have so much to offer, stop being a servant to others, and work on making you happy, find someone decent, because you deserve it.
Suddenly those words of reassurance were helping me see past the years of self-doubt. If I could watch my father die, then I could face any fear of inadequacy face on, it really was trivial in comparison. I had to work, I mean really work on me. If I couldn’t love myself, how would anyone be able to love me? I went through a period of deep self-introspection. I had to learn to be open and honest, not to hide my foibles, if someone likes me great, if not then that’s ok too, because I now realise I have a lot to offer, I like who I am.
The path hasn’t been easy but I’ve learnt that you just need to push yourself out of the boundaries of your comfort zone. Express yourself, go crazy, this time I’m not the first one leaving, I’m the last one standing. One of the best nights out was a trip to a strip joint, I got a couple of dances (one woman stuck her tongue down my throat and got naked (I’m straight!)). I got home at 6:30am the next morning. I did what I could never do before, let go, my colleagues saw a completely different side to me, one they liked, a chilled out Abi. I’m still working on that self-confidence, but life’s too short not to right?…