Tag Archives: Self-Doubt

How Can I Love Myself?

Dear JoyDiva

I am 23 years old, I have been in  a relationship with a man for 7 years and we broke up a over a year ago, 8 months ago I found this amazing man that I am with now; he makes me laugh and  I know we are going to go far but there is one thing that is hurting me.

When I was a teen I developed back acne and as I got older,  the scars remained…when my ex saw my back for the first time the  first thing he said was “Is it contagious?” and “What did you do to yourself?” as if it was my fault! He was the closest person to me and he made me feel like I had a disease. Ever since I have not been comfortable with my skin and I never show my back. I would like to be able to wear tank tops and dresses without having to wear a jacket on top, it’s hot! But the most thing I want is to be able to be happy naked around my current boyfriend.

Just a side note, I am chubby and that adds to my insecurities but he is a big man also so it is not the biggest issue but I still push his arms away from my tummy. He says he loves everything about me and he shows me a lot of love he always tries to make me love myself, he kisses my “thunder” thighs and my belly but I push him away. We have slept together and every time I refuse to take off my shirt, and if I do take it off the room must be pitch black because I don’t want him to see my skin.

I just want to be happy and not worry, I want to be able to sleep next to him and not panic over what he’s going to wake up to…my scarred back. I love him very very much and we have talked about engagement but I don’t know how I will manage to keep my body hidden for the rest of my life from the man I truly adore and just want to be free with.

How can I love myself JoyDiva, I have been crying every night and hiding those tears because I’m afraid if I do tell him he will ask to see my back…I just can’t do it.

Sincerely

Broken

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Dear Broken,

Hi, Honey. You’re not broken. You are a whole and complete person who is just experiencing herself as broken. The great news is that, over time, you CAN transform how you experience yourself.

So, you dated a guy (who was really just a grown-up boy) who blurted out his thoughts about your skin in ignorance because he didn’t get it, and likely was not mature enough to communicate in another way—not his most shining moment, I’m sure. :/

Here’s what I want you to notice, though: He said some things, and then because you’re human, you added meaning to it. And it’s the meaning you added that is causing your pain. You added meaning like “It’s my fault”…which I’m guessing led to “There’s something wrong with me,” “I’m ugly/unattractive/not sexy,” and “I’m unlovable.” And at some point you chose to believe those thoughts, which is what hurts so much—you can be certain that anytime you are having thoughts that hurt when you think them it is because they aren’t true.

Here’s the good news: Because it’s not what happened that hurts so much and rather it’s the meaning that YOU brought to it, you can actually do something about that. You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to letting those thoughts run the show or not.

You ask me how you can love yourself. Here’s how: By courageously taking action as someone who loves herself, step-by-step, choice-by-choice. You’re going to have to take deep breaths and face your fears. That looks like catching yourself when you push his arms away from your tummy and letting him caress you there while you breathe and allow your fear to move through you, letting him kiss your belly and thighs without pushing him away while you breathe and allow your fear to move through you. That looks like taking off your shirt WITH the lights on while you breathe and allow your fear to move through you. That looks like wearing tank tops when it’s hot out, and wearing whatever damn-well feels good whenever and however you want to, all the while breathing and being present to the fear…and any other emotions that arise in your body.

Loving oneself is not a magical, wave-the-fairy-wand, overnight process. Everyday, I discover more parts of myself that I’ve rejected and have the opportunity to embrace. Girl, I don’t love myself! And I’m becoming someone who does. Loving yourself means facing the fears that you won’t be safe, you won’t be in control and you will lose approval. It means practicing, every day, doing the opposite of what the bully inside of you is telling you to do.

I get that it is scary. You probably didn’t want me to say, “Go do all of the things you’re afraid to do.” AND you asked me how you can love yourself. How blessed are you?! I’m showing you the path.

Your homeplay: Pull out a journal or pieces of paper and a pen/pencil. I want you to answer this question and explore it in all areas of your life: What would I be doing/what actions would I be taking if I were a person who loves herself? (Explore how you would be acting regarding relationship stuff and body stuff, yes, and also look at career, free-time, friendships, family, money, etc.) And then, start practicing. Take those actions, one at a time. And remember to breathe, Love. You’ve got this.

It is through that continual process that you become someone who loves herself.

Other posts that I’ve written that will also be supportive for you:

“How can I love myself past all of my fat rolls?”

“I’m afraid to be naked in front of my boyfriend. What should I do”?

If you would like some additional support in taking a look, getting underneath, and transforming those painful thoughts and gaining clarity and freedom on your path, I would be honored to hold-up a loving mirror so that you can experience yourself in all of your magnificence and step into your power. Visit my website to schedule a free connection call so that we can explore what that could look like.

Hugs to you and that sweet man in your life.

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2015 Melissa Simonson

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How Can I Love Myself Past All of My Fat Rolls?

Hello JoyDiva

   I am currently in a relationship and have been for 15 months. He has been away but soon he will be coming home and we will finally be able to become intimate with one another. I really cant wait until this happens but at the same time I am nervous because I am a bigger girl and the biggest girl he has ever been with and not only that but I have a problem with my bladder that causes it to leak. Maybe from my three children that I have but I have consulted a doctor and we are currently working on something for this but in the meantime I dont want him to come home and go down on me and just when I thought that I had freshened up really good he may still smell urine on me and say something. He does know about this problem but Im just not sure how to handle this. How can I love myself past all my fat rolls? Please help me.

Need Confidence

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Dear, Need Confidence,

Hi, Sweetheart. It takes tremendous courage to open yourself to love, to let yourself be seen…both on the inside and the outside. Being willing to put yourself and your heart all the way out their is a wonderful, beautiful thing. I want to honor you for your willingness to be vulnerable, even though your mind is terrified of the risk involved in sharing yourself so fully with another. As scary as it feels, sharing yourself so authentically is the path to true connection and intimacy.

Take a few deep breaths, right now, Love, and pull out a piece of paper or a journal, if you have one. I want you to read over what you wrote me and then I invite you to answer this question: What would a person who loves herself do? Really listen for the answer—imagine another woman who loves herself so utterly and has the same fat rolls and bladder leaks. What would she communicate to her partner? What would she say to herself? How would she operate in the bedroom? How would she operate in her everyday life? How would she operate in her relationship? How would she respond if her partner mentioned that she smelled like urine or that she was too fat to be sexy? Explore all of these questions fully. Write down your responses.

The only way to become someone who loves herself is to take the actions of someone who loves herself. This means facing some big fears head on. A big one here is that you are afraid of losing your boyfriend’s love and approval. Your ego has you convinced that you need it in order to be worth something, which is why you’re so focused on how to “handle” this situation, trying to be perfect and “get it right” to get the love. And deep down, if you listen to your soul’s wisdom, you’ll recognize that line of thinking is bullshit. As scary as it is to face, you do not need anyone’s love and approval. Your fear that he will reject you somehow is only a mirror for you to see how you are already rejecting yourself. You cannot control whether or not your boyfriend embraces you for all that you are. You CAN practice, bit by bit, embracing yourself for all that you are.

So, imagine your worst fear comes true: Your boyfriend rejects you. Now, again, answer this question: What would a person who loves herself do? How would you respond if you KNEW that you did not need his love and approval?

I get that your body isn’t functioning in all of the ways that you would like it to, AND I want to stress that there is nothing wrong with you, Beloved. Imagine speaking to yourself as someone who is deeply and unconditionally in love with you—what is it that you most need to hear, right now? Write it down. Speak it to yourself.

With every moment that you ask the question, “What would a person who loves herself do?” and listen and ACT on what you discover…you become a person who loves herself. This will not happen over night, and I promise, with actively committing to asking and acting on this question, choice by choice, it will happen.

Thank you for honoring me with your story. Notice how even now as you read this and  accept my invitations to look deeper, you are becoming a person who loves herself.

Always in your corner,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

P.S. If you would like some additional support in taking a look, getting underneath, and transforming those painful thoughts and gaining clarity and freedom on your path, I would be honored to hold-up a loving mirror so that you can experience yourself in all of your magnificence and step into your power. Visit my website to schedule a free connection call so that we can explore what that could look like.

©2015 Melissa Simonson

Bullied as a Child: How Can I Trust in Intimate Relationships?

Dear JoyDiva,

As a child, from ages 6-12, I was bullied first physically and then mentally.  My parents never openly advocated for me, and teachers turned a blind eye.  As a result, I advocated for myself, and have learned to be strong in that sense.

However, as I grow older, my childhood haunts me.  I feel like I will be left holding all the bags at any moment.  I have issues with trust and intimacy, and this wrecks havoc for relationships that I am in.  I question all the good things that come to me because I was told by everyone that I did not deserve it.  I feel hardwired to think this way, and it feels terrible.  I feel that it would be irresponsible to find someone who could handle all of this baggage, so I desperately try to solve my own problems.  However, this drives a wedge between my partners and myself as I will seem moody and distant simply because I cannot express my feelings in a constructive way.

What can I do to get rid of this ‘baggage’ that prevents me from becoming intimate with another person?

Thank you for your time.

The Bullied & The Beautiful

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Dear, “The Bullied & The Beautiful,”

Thank you for your heartfelt note. I’m going to do my best to give you something concrete to work with through what I offer here, and at the same time, it is clear to me that these thought patterns that feel “hardwired” to you at this point are going to take time and TLC to re-wire, and the most effective way to get clear on and release the blocks and blind-spots keeping you from deeper intimacy is for you to partner with a coach or therapist to help. I can absolutely help you unpack that emotional baggage and support you in taking the scary and ultimately, rewarding steps on the path to trust. I can help you gain the confidence to ask for what you want, believe you are worthy of having what you want, and to open up your emotional world to someone and allow yourself to be supported.

Some resources: I highly recommend the Work of Byron Katie as a simple set of tools to help you question the thoughts and stories that are creating your suffering and open you up to your life NOW, rather than being led by your past. Another experience that could be quite powerful for you might be to participate in the Landmark Forum—the experiential learning there would also support you in the breakthroughs your are wanting. Psychodrama group therapy could be a powerful experience to help you process, re-frame and let go. Brené Brown’s latest book, Daring Greatly would also be a helpful resource in helping you strengthen your shame resilience so that you can open yourself to being vulnerable in all of your relationships.

The work that I encourage you to start moving through is to start differentiating between what happened in your past and the stories that you created around those experiences that are now shaping your future. The past is truly in the past. As painful as it was, it is now over, gone, never to be as it was. Even the terrible, nasty things that people said to you are in the past, over and done with. What is living NOW is the story you created, the meaning  that you added to those experiences in your life. Stories like, “I don’t deserve to be loved.” “I can’t trust anyone but myself.” “Love isn’t safe.” “If I’m vulnerable you will hurt me.” “I’m a victim and you are the perpetrator,” “I will be left holding all of the bags at any moment.” As a small child, you couldn’t help but buy into these stories. You were doing the best that you could to protect yourself and survive. As scary as it is as an adult, you don’t ACTUALLY need these stories to protect you, anymore, and the most powerful place to be is in the heart of your vulnerability, rather than gripped by the fear that these thoughts of mistrust create for you.

And if you were to go back and get really clear on what actually happened in your past, (ie. My classmate called me fat, ugly and stupid) and then the story you may have created around what happened (ie. My classmate hates me, she said that because there’s something wrong with me, everyone hates me, I really AM fat, ugly and stupid, people think I’m undeserving of love, etc.)…the more you separate out the story from what happened, the more you will be able to take responsibility for the meaning you added to those experiences, and set yourself free. The wonderful thing about life is that all kinds of stuff happens, and WE get to be the ones who make meaning of it. At any time you can choose to shift your reality based on how you are choosing to perceive it. At anytime, you could choose to open up your heart and know that no matter what the other person does or does not do, you will never leave you, you will always be there to love and support you. (another one of my posts that has great wisdom in it for you: https://askthejoydiva.com/2012/01/18/why-is-it-so-hard-to-accept-that-my-boyfriend-loves-me/)

So, my love, like I said above, this kind of letting go and thought-shifting may not happen over night and will best be addressed via the support of a professional to hold up the mirror and help you with this process of differentiation. You most certainly do not have to do this growth work on your own, and truth-be-told, as someone who has also built quite a wall of self-reliance through the years due to former abuse and bullying—it doesn’t really work to do that kind of growth work on your own.

I’m always here if you should want to take your healing to the next level and you don’t want to go it alone.

Much love to you. dear heart.

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2013 Melissa Simonson

I’m Afraid to be Naked in Front of My Boyfriend…What Should I Do?

Hello Joy Diva. I am 23 years old and I am still insecure of many things I used to be insecure when I was a teen. I am short and fat and I have stretch marks all over my body. I used to have zits and now the marks are all over my face. But this young man, 19, who’s been my friend for over a year now confessed he had feelings for me. And now, we’ve been in love for a couple of months now, but we haven’t been so intimate yet. I know there will come a time when he’ll finally get to see the ugly skin I have I kept hidden underneath my clothes. I’m really afraid my insecurities would ruin up our intimacy and worse our relationship. What should I do?

Ugly Duckling

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Hi Beautiful,

I simply cannot call you the Ugly Duckling because the last thing that you need from me right now is to reinforce this painful image of yourself. You may think that calling you “Beautiful” is taking things too far in the other direction, and I know better. I am confident (and I imagine your boyfriend is, too) that there is exquisite beauty pouring from every aspect of who you are.

Dear, sweet girl—my heart broke a little when I read this post and it was filled with so much love and compassion for you that I can only hope that you feel me wrapping my arms around you with my words. I feel your fear—how real it seems to you that you could be rejected, that you could lose love, that you are not worthy to receive it in the first place because of the way that you look. You’ve gotten pretty good at rejecting yourself, withholding love from yourself, and deeming yourself unworthy through the years, haven’t you? Food itself has probably become both a tool of comfort and punishment as you try to fill those unloved spaces and simultaneously punish yourself for adding to this state of being somehow “unlovable.”

First things first: Fat or thin, tall or short, outgoing or shy, lighthearted or serious, brain surgeon or high school drop-out, etc., etc. you will ALWAYS be worthy of the same amount of love as everyone else—the same love that you feel and wish for your boyfriend, or anyone else who crosses your path. You were born inherently lovable and inherently worthy of being loved. Period. Nothing will ever, ever change that. Being inherently lovable is one of the gifts we get to have for being human.

So, I’m going to give you some tools to love yourself up right now:

1) I want you to honor your fears and insecurities by communicating them to your boyfriend. Right now, you are feeling ashamed about your body, ashamed that you feel insecure about your body, ashamed that you might “ruin” your relationship with this insecurity…and then you’re even feeling ashamed about feeling ashamed. The best way to rid yourself of this shame is to speak it out loud—shame evaporates when we speak it out loud. I know that you’re afraid to let him know that you are anything less than confident, and the truth is that you’re not feeling confident right now—far from it, and what you are feeling is 100% OK and needs your attention and acknowledgment. Let him know how nervous that you are, afraid of pushing him away, afraid that he might not like what he sees…lay it all out there. Honesty is sexy. That’s right…downright I-want-to-make-sweet-love-to-this-woman sexy. 🙂 Chances are really good that he is just going to fall more in love with you through your vulnerability, and if he doesn’t, then he is not a right fit. Any guy who doesn’t embrace you in your vulnerable honesty is not a man worth your time.

2) I want you to start exploring your body as the extraordinary pleasure center that it is. You are a WOMAN! A curvy, soft, sensuous, nurturing, exquisite, radiant flower in your own right. Unlike a man, you have an organ on your body whose sole purpose is for pleasure! How awesome is that?! (Yes…I’m talking about your clitoris…if you haven’t visited it yet or often, I encourage you to get to know it and make it your best friend… 🙂 ) Your body isn’t for your boyfriend! It’s for YOUR pleasure, your enjoyment, your love. Give yourself the gift of exploring all of the ways that you can give yourself pleasure. I want you to enjoy taking showers and feeling the water on your skin, enjoy making yourself smell good, wearing beautiful fabrics…giving yourself all of the time that you need to be fully present in nurturing your body. Dance to music around your house, feel your body flowing with the music. Enjoy the food that you eat—take time to savor it on your tongue. Your body is magnificent. It is the house for your beautiful soul and it is made for you to enjoy what it means to be alive. Women who love their bodies through self-care and pleasure…bodies of all shapes and sizes, are irresistibly sexy.

3) Beyond your body, I want you to explore your inherent fabulousness. Take 5 minutes and make a non-stop list of all of the reasons why any man would be blessed to call you his girlfriend. You were born as a unique expression of the divine, equipped with wonderful strengths. You were born to be a blessing by simply being who you are. So who are you, Gorgeous? Now is not the time to be humble. Go nuts, fill up the page and brag about yourself like there’s no tomorrow.

4) What do you LOVE to do? What do you love about being alive? Make a list and pick 3 things that you can bring into your life daily/weekly/monthly that fill you with joy…and then create time to do those things.

I get that some, if not all, of my assignments for you probably make you super uncomfortable…and that’s the point. You are safe. You are in your own loving hands with every one of these steps, and you deserve to allow yourself to get uncomfortable for the sake of your growth. You deserve to feel sexy and sassy and worthy of all of the love in the world…because you are. Consistently practicing these actions will increase your sense of confidence and love for yourself and begin the process of setting you free. AND you will start to discover that taking care of yourself in these ways just feels damn good…and you so deserve to feel damn good, my dear.

Picturing you happy, healthy, and free.

:) Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

P.S. If you would like some additional support in taking a look, getting underneath, and transforming those painful thoughts and gaining clarity and freedom on your path, I would be honored to hold-up a loving mirror so that you can experience yourself in all of your magnificence and step into your power. Visit my website to schedule a free connection call so that we can explore what that could look like.

©2013 Melissa Simonson

How Can I Rediscover the Fun, Happy, Optimistic Me?

Dear JoyDiva,

I am a young woman of 20 and I want to find out why I can’t accept myself although i am average height and weight. I feel ashamed when I’m naked because I am not your typical playboy model. I have differences that even though my boyfriend tells me over and over again that I am normal or I have read that I am, I still don’t feel this way. It scares me into thinking I can’t explore outside of this little life. I can’t feel free. I have also hurt my boyfriend twice because I am so insecure. I want to be able to be free and be me without feeling I am obligated to stay with my boyfriend or that I have to take up anyone who gives me attention or anyone that is sweet to me. How can I rediscover the fun, happy, optimistic me? Before I would do nothing but draw in my spare time, and I even went to college but shortly gave it up because I felt as if my boyfriend couldn’t handle it and I was afraid he would leave me and even though I love him, I was afraid I’d end up alone. We fought all the time about the past things I did. Help.

Feeling Guilty

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Dearest Feeling Guilty,

I’m sorry to hear how “little” that you are feeling in your life, right now, and I commend you for reaching out in honor of the freedom that you are longing for and deserve to feel.

What I love about this question is that you are already halfway to answering it for yourself. 🙂 You know what’s going on here. You know that you are abandoning yourself by your current choices. You see the fear. You also see how your choices to follow the fear rather then taking the actions that make you feel free and expanded are dimming your light and clipping your wings.

You will feel fun, happy & optimistic when you start pursuing yourself again. Your choice to draw, go to college, or do anything you damn well please has nothing to do with your boyfriend, and if he’s being bothered by your pursuing that which brings you alive, then he’s the one responsible for the misery he creates for himself. A healthy relationship consists of two individuals pursuing themselves, and celebrating & supporting each other in their individual wholeness. You’re not responsible for his happiness, nor is he responsible for yours.

You will feel sexy when you start choosing & claiming your own life again & expressing your unique individuality. This isn’t about your body. This is about you cherishing yourself through your time and attention. This is about you speaking up for what you want and what you don’t want. This is about you owning that you CAN have freedom and joy when you choose it for yourself. All of your focus on trying to keep your relationship has had you in a constant state of self-abandonment. You will rediscover all that is magical within you when you start risking this current false illusion of comfort in your relationship for the sake of what you really want. If he can’t walk beside you as you transform, if the relationship ends because he can’t handle your pursuing your life, then THANK GOD! Anyone or anything that does not support you in coming alive is way, way, way too small for you. You weren’t born to be in relationship with this guy. You were born to gift the world with your aliveness. What a waste of a beautiful precious life if you squander it for fear of being alone! (When you choose to love yourself you will discover that you are never alone. You are always supported. You are always loved.)

Make a list of all of the activities/choices/ways of spending your time that make you feel free and by gosh, start doing those things! Imagine a time in your life when you were really happy. What were you doing & experiencing? What was it about that experience that contributed so much to your joy? How can you start bringing those qualities into your life TODAY?

It’s time to take action & choose yourself, Beautiful.

Here are some nurturing resources for you:

Visit my website & grab your FREE Self-Love SuperStar Kit—a WONDERFUL gift to yourself (It includes a free report of “85 Ways to Feel Happy, Confident & Free…No Matter What”, along with 3 other goodies for your expansion.)

Christine Arylo’s Books: Choosing Me Before We & Madly in Love with ME: The Daring Adventure of Becoming Your Own Best Friend

You are an extraordinary woman who was born to do extraordinary things…always know that.

Much Love,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2013 Melissa Simonson

What Is the Right Direction for My Career/Life?

Dear JoyDiva,

I am so scattered and unfocused, unsure of which direction my career should take and I am seeing many road blocks at this point (probably put there by me). Do you see a clearer direction that’s right for me?

Rhonda

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Dearest Rhonda,

While I cannot tell you the “right” direction for you to take (especially without more info and an exploratory session), I can certainly glean some insight from what you’ve written that I believe will be helpful for you.

First of all, I want to honor your awareness and courage in admitting that you’ve probably been the one placing roadblocks before your path. I’m going to go a step further and say that you HAVE been the one placing roadblocks before you. Any “stuck” feelings that we ever have are created in our own minds. You’re choosing to believe thoughts that are untrue about your situation (whether that’s, “I don’t have enough money, enough time, enough information, etc), and attaching to those false, limiting beliefs is making you feel stuck, overwhelmed and frustrated. Your heart wants to move, to dive-in, and you first have to let yourself believe in the possibility of your dreams if you’re going to turn them into a reality.

One limiting belief that is clear to me from what you’ve written is the idea that there is a “right” direction for you to turn. I can feel your paralysis and fear in going down a path that is somehow “wrong” for you, and sister, let’s throw out these silly “right vs. wrong” concepts so that you can feel the sense of freedom and adventure that I know you’re longing for in your heart.

What is the “right” direction for you? The path of action. The messy path that isn’t clear and freaks you out and also happens to make your heart sing. Overwhelm comes when we go too far into a future that is out of our control. What steps lie right before you and are whispering for you to take them? I invite you to sit down with a pen and piece of paper and for 5 minutes start writing about all that you envision for your life. Let yourself get really excited. FEEL yourself living that life. Then, all it takes is one step to start putting it in motion—make that  first phone call, send that email,  etc. You are infinitely supported by our loving Universe—you simply cannot go wrong, dear heart. If you fall down temporarily, you’ll gain the insight that you need to move on. Simply wait for the “yes” within your heart to guide you and then take the first step. You don’t need to know the “right” path—you need to listen to what makes you feel free and then take the first step. (NOTE: If you are like me, your strengths may not lie in creating your own plan of action. I always hire a coach when I’m trying to create big new things in my life because I can get extremely overwhelmed and paralyzed when it comes to breaking my ideas down into small steps. JoyDiva was born thanks to some wonderful coaching. It’s ok and important to recognize what you can and cannot do on your own.)

You will never be clear on all of the pieces of the puzzle before taking action. The beauty of life is that as you step forth to actively create your life, the next pieces will be revealed to you exactly when you need them. It’s time to surrender and start actively painting your messy masterpiece (knowing that you are loved and supported by every process unfolding in your life). Doesn’t that sound like more fun than waiting around for the “right” direction to reveal itself? Keywords for you to breathe in right now: Playfulness, Freedom, Joy, Adventure. What is ONE way that you can infuse those experiences into your life RIGHT NOW?

I wish you all of the joy and excitement that you deserve in your life, Rhonda!  Here is another post that I wrote in response to my own question a few months ago that I think will serve you well: https://askthejoydiva.com/2012/02/07/what-if-i-make-the-wrong-decision/

Many Blessings to you,

🙂 Melissa, A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson

How Do I Stop Comparing Myself to Other People?

Dear JoyDiva,

I’ve been trying to think lately how to stop comparing myself with other people. Its a pretty basic question, but at the same time its what has been ingrained in me for years- I was anorexic in the past, and that’s just the lens through which I saw my life. If I wasn’t better than someone (especially thinner), I was a failure. Now the weight is back, but the problem still tortures me at times. How do I stop comparing myself to others without completely over-inflating my self esteem? I don’t want to get to the place where I just assume I’m better than others to feel good about myself, or where I stop trying all together. I want to walk into a room, know I’m not the prettiest, smartest, “best” person there, and remain strong enough in who I am and who I’m not to be happy with the woman God made me to be. So yes, that would definitely be something I could use outside wisdom on!

Thanks for your help,

Confused

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Dear Confused,

I write this response from both a personal and a professional place–I can say that you are not alone in this because I witness it on various levels in nearly everyone that I encounter as well as within myself. I also want to acknowledge you for the tremendous courage it takes to consciously overcome an eating disorder, and I hear that you bring great insight, compassion and self-awareness into this inquiry.

The ego part of ourselves, that part of us that seeks to “protect us” and “get us love” while thriving on our fear and sense of worthlessness is always what is active in situations of comparison. The ego part of us believes that we are all separate and that the only way to get love, to even be worthy of love in the first place, is to somehow be better, perfect, more flawless than everyone else. The more that we listen to that voice, the sooner we can find ourselves on a hamster wheel of self-destruction, never actually receiving the love that we so long for.

The way to begin breaking down those false barriers between you and others comes in doing the opposite of what your ego is telling you to do–you cannot choose your thoughts, but you can choose which ones that you believe and act on. So, you walk into a room and see a beautiful girl–your ego says, “The only way you can get love is to be the best, and she is clearly better than you.” Chances are when that happens that “pretty girl” is the last person that you really want to talk to, to understand, and/or be vulnerable with and it’s hard to imagine that she can relate to what you’re experiencing in her presence. In these moments, one of the best ways to break up the energy of comparison & to get to what is truly real, is to reach out in a spirit of friendship. Your ego wants to isolate, and your consciousness knows we are all connected–as you put it, all made by God, and in that way, all “of the same.” When you can reach out from a place of honesty and openness to those people who threaten you as well as those who your ego wants to make “less than,” you begin to discover the humanity that we all share, remind yourself of your compassionate nature, and discover how truly acceptable and worthy that you are. Love and kindness always break through the illusion of separation and remind us of our inherent magnificence. When your mind wants to go toward comparison, I invite you to seek the common ground–given that we are all human, chances are darn good that every person you’ve compared yourself with through the years has felt pain and is carrying his/her own wound, too. Woundedness and humanity is just sort of a package deal. Healing and humanity are a package deal, too–the more you share what is real about you and make room to seek and understand what is real within others, you’ll create beautiful opportunities to heal your and others’ hidden wounds.

My other invitation for you is to be kind with yourself when this happens–your thoughts do not make you a bad person. They simply make you…a person. You mentioned not wanting to build yourself up so that you see yourself as superior, which is an important insight, and like I mention above, would only feed your ego self and take away from your sense of well-being. With that said, I do want to encourage you to sit down from time to time and make a list of all that you love about yourself–not what makes you better than others, but rather what YOU and YOU ALONE love about who you are. Living from a place of openness and compassion means that you celebrate ALL of humanity, including yourself. You ARE a unique being–no one else on the planet is exactly like you. Each and every one of us is unique and has our own role to play. The more you remind yourself and celebrate your own uniqueness–regardless of whether or not you have others’ approval, the more you build up a well-spring of compassion in your own heart that will overflow to others.

As I write this I’m reminded of an anecdote from a client who was at one time struggling with a desire to be “special” or “greater than.” She went through an exercise that really shifted her understanding of her own unique “specialness.” At a spiritual retreat, she was led through a guided meditation in which she had to envision herself somewhere in nature. Her mind floated to an image of a giant redwood forest. The instructor then asked each participant to find what represents them in that place. My client’s ego voice immediately exclaimed in her mind, “I’m the giant redwood tree!” and yet following that exclamation, she heard a quieter voice that said, “No. You’re the soil.” Her ego voice responded, “Soil? Why would I want to be soil? What’s so great about soil?!” The quieter voice said, “The soil NURTURES the giant redwood trees.” And so she realized, she was indeed the soil. Understanding this has allowed her to own this gift and be the behind-the-scenes nurturer that truly brings her and those in relationship with her the most fulfillment.

It’s easy to see our talents and strengths as though they are “dirt” compared to other people’s, but as it turns out, we all have a unique role to play in this vast and beautiful universe in which we live. Keep opening up and sharing who you are. Keep befriending those that threaten you in one way or another. Keep exploring the uniqueness that exists within you and all who cross your path.

Thank you again for your honest sharing of yourself and for your wonderful insight–Your thoughtfulness is truly a gift.

With Much Love,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson