I look at him, sat across from me, absorbing every detail of his face and hands. I laugh at his jokes, and swoon at his accent. Why the hell is he still talking to me?
This is me, not feeling good enough. Not feeling the slightest bit pretty or intelligent enough to be talking to a Cambridge graduate who I think is a rather fine specimen.
I’ve been trying to look at myself differently this year, and it’s about time. I’ve given that little voice in my head – the one that says “you’re not good enough” – too much affirmation in the past. It would pipe up often during the height of my vulnerability. Whether I didn’t quite have a record month at work, or that one guy didn’t like me, I was my own worst enemy. I’d always tell myself the same thing: you’re not good enough. I didn’t even give myself a chance to consider any of the other factors. All this self-loathing is mentally and emotionally exhausting.
If 2014 and 2015 were the years I found myself again, then 2016 has been the start of my becoming. A year of growth and learning to love myself. If my own view of myself couldn’t be kind (and sometimes, it still isn’t), I looked to how other people saw me. My friends and peers, my family, my colleagues, and sometimes even the guys I’ve dated. The ones who didn’t have to like me telling me that they were lost without me when I went on holiday for three days. The words in birthday cards from colleagues-turned-friends.
They don’t always see things the way I do. Because what we perceive as our own physical flaws are just another feature to someone else. Half the time we don’t even notice the thing someone else is so self-conscious about. And even though their words aren’t always compliments, at least it’s truth and meant with love. Isn’t that what we need? The truth, tough love, realism. Because I never got any of that with the voice in my head or that self-loathing thing I used to do.
It’s about time I allow myself to accept what I deserve, to recognise that I am enough. Even for a Cambridge graduate. We are all more than good enough – talented and charming each in our own ways. Believe it, because anything short of that is an injustice.