I wrote this to talk about one of the insecurities I mentioned in the first post on this blog. The post itself was taken from Facebook, and was designed to share a little piece of what I have going on in my head. In that post I mentioned 3 things that I struggle with.
- Self worth
Because I’m a thinker, and always seem to have conversations with myself, after I shared these feelings with the Facebook world I started trying to figure out what caused me to have these insecurities in the first place. Any time spent driving turned into my own private therapy session.
Asking myself questions.
Trying to see what was going on.
After a while it started to work, and I began to understand more about why I feel the way I do. I have more to share on loneliness and anxiety, but I want to focus this post on my self worth.
See, I don’t like myself. I understand I have friends and family who love me and care about me, but when I look at myself I can’t see why. I get down on myself and start feeling like I don’t offer anybody anything of value, and if I had never existed everybody’s life would be better.
I’m not suicidal, nor have I ever been. I understand that removing myself from everybody’s life at this point would just place a bigger burden on others.
But if I had never existed in the first place any burden I had ever placed on anybody wouldn’t have ever been there. Anything I had done to cause somebody pain, discouragement, or stress would never have happened. And because I don’t feel I have given anybody anything of value nobody’s life would be worse.
Even though I feel this way, I know these things aren’t true.
Depression and anxiety are liars. They always have been and they always will be. But it’s important to admit that these feelings, however incorrect they may be, are very real. It’s only when I step outside my head that I can see them for what they are.
Anyway, while driving around town recently I started asking myself when these feelings started.
Had I always disliked myself or was it a more recent thing?
If I hadn’t always disliked myself what caused the change?
I finally realized that I didn’t start looking down on myself until high school. Unlike most stories you might hear, however, these feelings weren’t caused by a lack of friends. Nobody was there putting me down, or trying to make me feel like I was worthless. I felt like I knew everybody and could talk to anybody.
However, high school is when my friends started dating and I quickly realized I was not what girls wanted.
It wasn’t even that I was looking for a relationship. I didn’t want a serious relationship until I was at a point when marriage was a possibility.
(Yeah, I’ve thought about marriage since 4th grade…)
So, even though I didn’t want a relationship, and I was too awkward around girls I liked to even have one, I wanted to at least be wanted. My friends could be in a relationship, break up, and within a week or two start dating somebody else.
I was like, “How the freak are you doing this?”
I started comparing myself to my friends to identify what made me different…and boy, was I a different kind of boy.
- I love musicals
- I love talking about feelings
- I know nothing about cars
- I don’t like getting dirty
- I would love a spa day
- I don’t enjoy dirt biking or any of those activities
- I’d probably cry if I ever shot an animal
- I love all the performing arts
- I wanted to take a ballroom dancing class as a teenager
- My celebrity crush is Audrey Hepburn
Instead of seeing what made me different as qualities that made me unique, I began to see them as reasons why I was undesirable and not worth as much as other guys.
Why would a girl looking for a man want me, when I don’t seem to have any of the qualities normally considered to be “manly”?
These feelings got even worse when I went to college, because marriage was finally a possibility. I’d go on dates, want to pursue a relationship, and then get rejected.
While this is no fault of the girls I went on dates with, it was hard for me to accept at the time. Instead of understanding that I simply wasn’t what that girl was looking for, I believed I wasn’t what any girl was looking for.
Fast forward a few years and I now have a girl in my life who loves me for all the things I learned to hate about myself in high school. However, when I compare myself to others I still think I’m somehow less.
And that’s because it’s no longer about being wanted romantically. While it started out as seeing myself as undesirable from a romantic standpoint, I now put myself down regardless of the situation.
You want me to help you move? I’m too weak. Find somebody stronger.
You want me to come to your party? I’m too boring. Find somebody more exciting.
You want me to go to the beach with you? I’m too fat. Find somebody who looks better.
I’ve trained myself to see all the qualities that make me who I am as reasons why I’m not enough. I see all those around me as who I should be, and anything that makes me different makes me less.
I know this isn’t healthy. It’s been a terrible way to live my life, and it’s not how I want to see myself anymore.
I shouldn’t need to be like everybody else. Being different is not bad.
Being different is what makes each of us unique, and it’s what makes getting to know one another such a fun experience.
Understanding this hasn’t completely changed how I see myself. There are still bad days, and I know there will be more. But I no longer want those feelings in my life…and that’s a start.
One thought on “How Not Being “Manly” Made Me Hate Myself”
It takes quite a while to become comfortable with who we are, deep down. I think that part of what you are feeling is a result of your introspection. A big part of what gives confidence to most guys is not looking under the hood, so to speak and not having a clue as to whether they measure up or not.
Life is somewhat like the pioneers crossing the continent, you mostly can only see a few miles ahead and a few miles behind. Sometimes you might see the mountains as a blue smudge on the horizon. But you keep on plodding and find that along the way that you have become stronger, learned stuff you didn’t realize you had learned….become a different person because of the journey.
You will learn about cars – I know life made me learn because I had to fix my daughter’s cars, and they were always breaking. When you are the guy who provides, presides, and protects your family, they will tell you in a hundred ways that you are manly enough. And they will be right. I’m one of the people that thinks that you are a remarkable young man. Are you the completed, best version of you? Probably not, none of us are. Line upon line.we