The Paranoia Of Low Self Esteem

The Paranoia Of Low Self-Esteem

How people’s laughter towards me moved beyond self-fulfilling prophecy.

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I'm halfway into believing in self-fulfilling prophecy and overreacting.

It was a typical lunchtime routine at the local rec center. I was coordinating getting my class at the table for lunch. A large group of summer camp kids came in after us.

Spring and summer are not good seasons for me. I sweat A LOT, I need my inhaler on me at all times so I can breathe, and my face and lips peel. A few of the boys in the summer camp were looking at how much I was sweating and were laughing and pointing at me.

I wanted to approach their camp counselor about the situation, but I didn't want to admit that these kids had power over my emotions.

I tried to rationalize that maybe they weren't laughing at me. I was just overreacting because of my past filled with similar instances of bullying; however, every time I looked at them, they quickly looked away and unsuccessfully held their snickering back.

I hate that I'm constantly aware when those around me laugh. Are they laughing at me? Is my hair a mess right? No, I look like a gorilla right? Or maybe their laughing at my lame clothing. Perhaps it's my weight this time.

These are all things I'm pretty sure I've been laughed at for my whole life. Well, except maybe clothing; I'm not sure if I've been laughed at for that. But see how easy it was for me to add that into the list?

I don't care for the clothes I wear, so because of the other things I'm laughed at for, I just include clothes in it. So when someone does ask why I'm wearing something or comments on the color or texture, I automatically think its a way of bullying.

My mother (and others) remark on how sensitive I am to the opinions of others. That my attention to this detail makes me paranoid enough to make people want to make fun of me. Basically, I make my own misery.

Can one's opinion of oneself actually make those around you feel the same way? Has my entire childhood and now life in my 30s have been through the lens of someone paranoid? How does one distinguish between fact and opinion when one has only been given opinions? At what point does a fact come from an opinion - or is that the way it works?

Whenever someone goes through a string of bad relationships, people always give them tough love by telling them that the common denominator in all their situations is them. All their relationships ending the same way is because the reasoning was something they didn't want to own, but it was a fact.

In all my bullying, they all say the same thing. I'm ugly. My hair is a mess. I'm fat. So, shouldn't I also consider these attributes of myself to be true? Years after high school, even little kids say the same things about me that my peers did 20 years ago.

Because so many people have done this to me, is my life self-fulfilling prophecy, or a fact? All I know is that other people's laughter triggers me. Their index finger pointed at me triggers me. Sometimes when I come across those that are prettier, slimmer, hair done, and better dressed triggers me because I know I can't look like them.

That's the cycle of paranoia when others control your self-esteem. What you feel for yourself is confirmed in others. Many others who exhibit the confirming behaviors previously then feel like the opinions of yourself are true and not opinion. Low self-esteem is born.

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
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It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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10 Pieces Of Advice From My Parents That Have Helped Me Survive This Thing Called Life

I don't like admitting that they're right, but they've helped me through more than they'll ever know.

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As I've entered my 20s and have made it halfway through college, I've learned that life can be hard and challenging at times. Like many kids, when I was growing up, I could care less about what my parent's advice or opinions were. Nine times out of ten, I would do the complete opposite of what they said. Once I got older and actually started listening to their advice and put it into perceptive, I learned that they're right more often than I'd like to admit.

1. Don't take things for granted

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I've learned to cherish what I have because I might not always have it. It's easy to take life itself and many things it involves for granted. They've taught me to take a step back from this crazy life sometimes and be grateful for all that I have.

2. Don't be afraid to put your heart on your sleeve

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My parents have taught me that if you feel something, don't be afraid to say it or embrace it. If you love someone, then tell them. Don't be afraid to put your heart out there just because you might get hurt.

3. Be vulnerable

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In life, in relationships, in your work. Take risks, get shot down, and then try again. Being vulnerable is scary yet so powerful.

4. You can never have too many shoes

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Otherwise known as it's okay to treat yourself. Life is hard, so take care of you. If that means going on a shopping spree every once in a while, then so be it.

5. You're going to be okay

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Whatever it is you're going through, you're going through it and you're going to come out on the other side. It may seem horrible now, but you'll learn from it and be okay in the end.

6. You have to have friends in life

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It's important to have people to lean on, especially on your bad days, and to celebrate with on your good ones. You can't just have you or a significant other to rely on.

7. Never be afraid to share your opinion

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Don't be afraid to put your thoughts and opinions out there because they might be wrong. They could have a huge impact on someone or something.

8. Don't stress over things you have no control over

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Everyone is on their own path, which means everything will work out the way it's supposed to, even if it doesn't make sense right now. Again, you're going to be okay.

9. Happy, healthy, wealthy, wise

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My dad always says if you tell yourself every day that you're happy with yourself or your life, you're healthy and strong, you're wealthy in love and surrounded by great people, and you're knowledgable or wise, then you can achieve anything in life.

10.  S*** or get off the pot

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My all-time favorite piece of advice. Making decisions can be hard and scary, especially if the outcome could be getting hurt in the end. So, you either make a decision and roll with it no matter the outcome or you walk away.

Thanks, mom and dad for always being a phone call away when I need it! Just know that your advice and words of wisdom don't go unnoticed. For others, your parents have been on this planet much longer than you have and most likely experienced the same situations that you're dealing with. They don't have all the answers, but they are there to help.

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