Alright, let me start this off by clarifying: I don’t hate myself.
I mean…at least no more than the average person does. I go through spats where I temporarily loathe every fibre of my being, but I think that’s pretty normal. Lately it’s kind of felt like everything’s been — how do I put this lightly? — falling apart.
My career isn’t panning out the way I thought it would. I was a lot thinner last year. Ate a lot healthier, too. My social life is practically non-existent. So’s my wardrobe. I’m tired all the time. It’s harder to get up in the morning than ever before. Suddenly I’m second-guessing everything: Am I a horrible writer? Are my illustrations on par with a middle school student’s?
This isn’t me. It just can’t be, because whoever this is suuuuucks. I know that I’m just in a dumb rut but nevertheless, it’s taking a toll on my self-esteem. I’ve noticed lately that I’m even hesitant to do things like go to the gym or ask a new friend to hang out because I don’t feel like I deserve nice things. And that’s not a healthy mentality to have, so I’m fixing it.
Here’s my advice on how to get your confidence back.
IF YOU HATE YOUR JOB:
Either find your side hustle or make your existing one more of a priority. The point of a side hustle isn’t really to make money — it’s to keep you busy with work that you’re actually passionate about while promoting creativity and preventing you from going insane.
I suspect that I’m not alone when I say that even if I’m working fifty hours a week at a mundane job, I still feel like I haven’t accomplished anything. That’s because 9-5 gigs can turn us into total zombies, and once that clock hits 5 we suddenly feel human again. So start channeling that built-up energy and dedicating an hour or two every evening and weekend to a side project. For me, it’s illustration and writing. Even if it’s not for profit. Graphic design, starting a blog, or even baking cupcakes — as long as you’re being productive, it’ll do wonders for your mental health.
IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE FAILING:
I know that all things considered, I am the furthest thing from a failure. I’m twenty-three years old and have a career, a salary, a well-recognized name for myself, and a bright future. But no matter who I am, what I do for a living, what I studied in school, what my GPA was, or what my resume and portfolio look like — there will be times when I feel like I have nothing going for me. (I’m assuming that’s normal.)
Whenever you’re battling this, step back and remind yourself that feeling like you’re failing usually means the opposite. It means that you actually care enough about your career to worry in the first place. If you take pride in your work and want to succeed, then that’s half the battle. You’ll work a plentiful of jobs in your life, so if this one is draining you, remind yourself that it is temporary. What worked best for me while working long hours at a grocery store was setting an alarm on my iPhone to go off around 8am every morning with those exact three words: “This is temporary.”
IF YOU HATE YOUR BODY:
Don’t. Just don’t. End of discussion. I used to and essentially went off the deep end for a bit. I stopped eating and may have lost a ton of weight, but guess what? It didn’t magically solve my problems or make me any happier.
The first step to stop hating your body is to take care of it. Make nutrition and exercise priorities. Incorporate a unique fitness class, like barre or yoga, into your weekly routine to make it more of a fun experience instead of a chore. You’ll be #blessed with endorphins in no time.
Also, ease into being bold with your body and showing it off in public. I was feeling down last week, then went to the beach and ran around in a two-piece bathing suit from Mimi Hammer. It felt super weird at first but I became comfortable in no time. If you’re struggling, follow some body-positive babes online like Ama Scriver and Karyn Johnson for daily positive vibes.
IF YOU FEEL UNLOVABLE:
This is something I’ve experienced in both relationships and friendships time and time again, and lately I’ve been feeling pretty crummy about.
This is an incredibly important sub-topic to touch on because it’s potentially so damaging. Deep down, if you believe that you are incapable of being loved, then you’ll live your life so that it corresponds with said perception of yourself. You’ll basically drag yourself down to be your own worst enemy, treating yourself badly and surrounding yourself with people who do so as well.
The best way to remedy this thought is to learn how to love yourself through behavioural changes. A daunting request, I know. It’ll take time, but it’s necessary. Once you know that you’re worthy of love, then you’ll like yourself a heck of a lot better. Pursue this by taking traditional self-care precautions, like not overworking yourself. Also — your relationship with yourself is the longest one you will ever have, so pamper yourself and be the best possible partner to yourself. Get a facial, go to a lecture, do whatever you need to feel like the old you again.
IF YOU HATE YOUR SOCIAL LIFE:
Being anti-social is honestly not that bad a thing. Having a lot of friends means there is often pressure to hang out when you’re tired, to drink alcohol, spend money, and put on pants. And frankly? It’s exhausting. But then there’s the other side of the spectrum: when something bad happens and you suddenly realize how alone you are. You don’t know who to call when you need a shoulder to lean on. And that can really, really suck.
In my experience, the best way to deal with this head on is to embrace being a total loser. I moved four thousand miles away from home recently and haven’t really made friends here yet. And I’ve been bummed accordingly. But that’s okay — I’ve been sleeping more, perfecting my pasta recipe and catching up on New Girl reruns. Use this time alone to take up a hobby and take a mental break. Instead of hating yourself, you’ll become your own best friend.
TLDR: It’s okay to not be okay. Just don’t tear yourself apart for it.