Welcome to Part 3 of my Inside My Head series! If you missed part 1 or part 2, definitely check them out. In today’s post, I’m going to be looking at self-worth and how it plays a big part in my depression. You’ll learn a little bit more of what makes up “Alex Davies” as well. Let’s have a look.
Who am I?
Around us in the world today there are constant pressures, aren’t there? Pressures and standards of how to act, how to dress, how to speak, what to do, etc. There are so many stereotypes and standards that it’s sometimes very easy to get lost in them and lose your own identity. So in today’s world with its standards and pressures, who am I?
If I was to ask the people who know me who I am, I’d get a variety of different responses. I’m a brother, a son, a Christian, a pastor’s child, a linguist, a writer, a singer, a songwriter, a friend, a bit of a geek, a joker…the list goes on. Admittedly, all of those are factual. I am, by definition, a brother and a son and my parents are both pastors so, by default, I am a pastor’s son. At university, I studied linguistics, I write books and blogs and songs, I play musical instruments, I have friends. I like computer games and Star Trek (which apparently makes me a bit of a geek) and I tell awful jokes which is the aspiring joker in me. I cannot deny any of these because they are intrinsic to who I am.
But it’s more complicated than that and that’s where self-worth comes in.
Everyone has their own concept of self-worth. For some, they believe they are God’s gift to whatever community they find they excel in. For others, they believe they are worthless, useless, with no redeeming or enhancing qualities to themselves. And, as with everything, you get a full spectrum of people in between those two, people who can have elements of both extremes or people who sit almost squarely in the middle. Everyone is different.
For me, self-worth comes in when you start attaching qualifiers to all of the attributes that make me. Am I a “good” writer? Do I sing “well”? Am I a “skilled” linguist? When you start adding qualifying adjectives or adverbs like these, you start giving me things my mind can argue with, and in that comes the problem. It’s those qualities that my brain starts to pick apart and I am certainly my harshest critic. Take my writing, for example: I’m no Shakespeare or Tolkien but I get told my writing is good. I’m not Pavarotti or Freddy Mercury either but I get told I sing well. To my mind, however, I’m less than average. Very much so.
Perhaps I’m a little blinkered, looking at my life through black-tinted spectacles, or perhaps I’m too much of a perfectionist (guilty as charged on that one!) but that’s the way I am. Every achievement I make, every good quality I have, I tend to belittle. Sometimes I think it’s a wonder I do anything at all. If you ask me what I do, it takes a great deal for me to admit to some things – like writing or songwriting – because I don’t put much faith in them. I enjoy them, yes, but I’m always surprised when other people enjoy them.
In truth, I don’t think much of myself.
What do I see?
I suppose it would be a good idea for me to tell you what I see when I look at myself. I’d go so far as to say these are more or less concrete core beliefs that I have surrounding myself, which is probably why they’re so hard to shake. Here they are though.
When I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t like what I see. A frequent joke of mine is that I’m surprised the mirror isn’t cracked. I don’t think my face is great, my overall shape isn’t what I might like it to be and my hair drives me mad because it has a curly waviness to it that makes it a nightmare to tidy. I also see the mask and I hate that. It feels fake, as if I’m living some sort of double life. Sometimes it feels as if I’m trying to change myself to fit in so that other people will like me or accept me and I hate it. It feels hollow.
Parallel to all this is a paradoxical darkness that I don’t like either. I’m the comedic joker who rarely finds things funny. The bubbly cheerful person who would rather never smile. I’m the person who is always around, always at the other end of the phone who would rather shut himself away and never come out. Some twisted mass of contradictions that fight to break free of the mask I put on. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why I don’t like it.
Moreover, I feel like a failure. If I’ve not told you how I’m feeling, I’ve failed. I believe that if I’m not succeeding at putting that mask on, I’ve failed. If I can’t be there for you or let you in, I’ve failed. On the other hand, why should that matter? You wouldn’t want me if you saw the real me…or would you?
That about sums up where the biggest, darkest chunk of my self-worth is. Can you see yourself in it somewhere? I’m quite curious on that part. Either way, take a look at part 4 where I delve deeper into my self-worth, or lack thereof.
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