Monday, October 24, 2016

Finding My Worth

I can’t remember the last time I looked at myself, or thought about the different facets of who I was, without hating something about it. In fact, now that I’m actually trying to think about it, I can’t remember ever being completely comfortable and at peace with who I was. To help put that into perspective, you should know that I am already turning thirty next month. That’s a long time to spend not loving myself.

The reason why my self-worth has always been so fragile is because I’ve always based it on what other people thought of me or on how I thought they saw me. I got major confidence boosts when strangers complimented me for my looks, or when guys who were generally considered within my circles to be highly-eligible took an interest in me, or when people told me how smart they thought I was from some conversation I had with them.

I strived to get those compliments. I went to the gym to be “hot”. I flirted with the cutest guys so that I could get more trophies. I did my best to learn about the things that were popular in my circle so that I could be seen as smart.

I wanted to be admired, to be desired, to be envied.

I must say, my efforts did pay off at some point. There was a time when I had one of those “alter” accounts in twitter which talked constantly about sex and posted pictures which hid my face and instead highlighted other parts of my body. I accumulated followers and gained likes from strangers. Of course, I also got propositioned several times.

I joined orgies and did drugs so that I could also experience those things that the “hot guys” and “cool guys” experienced. It was extremely gratifying to have five or six guys simultaneously getting a taste of me, giving it everything they had just to pleasure me. I loved it when hot guys left their orgy partners and focused on me instead. Then I’d gesture to those who were left behind and entice them to join in the fray. They always did.

I loved it. I loved the attention. I loved the feeling of being desired.

And while I was in this phase, I was also on the lookout for the right boyfriend. I was always out at parties meeting new people and trying to get the guy that everyone had their eye on. I even dated a few guys whom I wasn’t particularly interested in for the simple reason that a lot of guys wanted them. I didn’t have the quickest wit, I am actually generally regarded as the “slow” one in my circles, but I used that to my advantage. I realized that they found it extremely attractive when the good-looking guy they’ve dismissed as stupid started to reveal a smart side.

Oh, I was a confident bastard.

But the problem with that kind of confidence is that it didn’t take a lot to tear it down.

All it took was for one of the hot guys to reject me.

Or for me to see someone else who was doing better that I was.

Or for them to not give me the kind of praise that I was expecting.

Or for me to see my body on a bad day.

All it took was just one small seed of self-doubt, then it was back to the meat market for me, desperately seeking another dose of validation.

I hated myself every time that happened. I kept asking myself, why was I still not good enough? What more did I have to do just to prove to the world that I was worth it? What else should I do to show them that I was event better than them? What more did I have to do for the world to stop seeing my flaws?

It took me a long time to realize that I’ve trapped myself in that cycle. I lost some friends, let some really great guys slip through my fingers, and missed out on a lot of chances for happiness because I was too focused on measuring up to my perceived standards, and because I spent too much time hating myself for failing.

I am tired of hating myself.

I am trying to love myself more. I am trying to see the good, beautiful person that I am. I am trying to believe in that person’s worth, a worth that cannot be diminished by anything or anyone.

Right now, I no longer have the body that body that got me into so many strangers’ beds. I am single; I don’t have a hot guy to claim as my trophy. My brain is not in its best shape as I’m still recovering from a long battle with clinical depression. I just started a new job and I’ve just finished paying off all my debts which, unfortunately, means that I am still broke.

I don’t have a lot of the flashy things I used to have. I don’t have the things that I thought I needed to have in order to be worth as much as the “great guys”.

But I know now that I never really needed to have those things. I know now that it's okay to be flawed and still love myself. I know now that I am made up of so many amazing parts and that I only had to realize it.

It’s not a bad thing to accept compliments. It’s not a bad thing to feel good when other people appreciate that parts of me that they think are great. It's not a bad thing to enjoy the feeling of being wanted. What’s bad is when that becomes the sole basis of how I love myself. What's bad is when it becomes my goal to be praised and when it's the only thing that can make me feel good about myself.

I should stop judging myself through the eyes of the world. Sure, I still strive to be a healthier and better version of me. And someday, I might go back to being that good-looking, outgoing, smart guy, but I will not wait until then to love myself. I will appreciate myself for the person that I am now simply because I’m already a great guy. I am already beautiful. I am already worth it.