Blogging took my self-esteem to a new low.
I haven't been consciously aware of the fact that I might have low self-esteem until recently. As I've become aware of it, I've realized how it affects every aspect of my life. My need to feel loved, praised, worthy, good-enough is never ending. I am constantly seeking approval from outside myself.
Blogging has been feeding this need in me. This need to be validated. It helps to receive a positive comment from a reader. It doesn't matter if this person is a stranger, or a friend I once knew that lives across the country now. And, it doesn't necessarily have to be a "positive" comment. Just the fact that someone is reading, and enjoying has fed that need to feel like I'm doing something good.
But, what I didn't realize, until recently, was that blogging has also been breaking me down too. And, it came to a head when there were some critical comments about my blogging, and I couldn't handle it. In fact, it's all I could hear in my head every time I typed a single word after that. I kept thinking, this is stupid and then I would argue (no wait. I love it), this is a waste of time (but I feel so much better after), and this is feeding something bad in me (but I learn and grow from writing). None of that was said to me, but it was how I interpreted the negativity. It had become crippling for a while. I wanted to stop altogether. I focused so much on the negative things that were said to me, that I couldn't focus on the hundreds of good things that had been said before.
Sure, I went through a brief stage where I wanted to say, "Screw you. I'll do what I want". I had to repeat to myself on an hourly basis that what I was doing was worthwhile, it was good, it was valid and important. But, the negative thoughts from those one or two negative comments were always in the back of mind. So, I stopped writing from the heart. Instead, I overanalyzed how I was being perceived to an even greater degree. Even more so than before. I guess it's because before, I was only receiving good feedback, so I didn't need to reach deep inside me and really decide whether or not the blogging was good. Because, it made me feel good. Until it didn't.
Now, I'm somewhere in between. I've had a lot of time to think about if this is how I want to spend my time. If this is a good thing for me, or not. I still have no concrete answers. I'm taking it one day at a time. And, my feelings on the subject ebb and flow. It's kind of like I've become the bipolar blogger. Some days, I feel it is one of my purpose's in life, or that I have to write in order to keep breathing, and other days, I think it's shallow, self-centered, and just stupid for someone like me that can't seem to find that validation within herself.
I've been working on noticing my good qualities that I possess, and I have even written them down. Not something I wanted to do, but I had to do it to start to recognize that I can validate myself. Blogger or not. And, reading that list, makes me feel like I can accomplish anything. But, then the world gets in my head, and it's like I'm back at square one. So, I will compare, over-analyze, forget, and feel like someone that is treading water, but never moving.
I had a conversation with my sister recently about my blog. It was on one my days of feeling discouraged. A friend of mine had raved over a blog post she read on another blog, and of course, I internalized it to mean that nothing I had ever written had made someone rave like that. I was telling all of this to my sister and she said to me, "Well, what is the goal of your blog? What do you want?"
I stammered, and couldn't quite answer. I said something about it would be great if it lead to some sort of other writing opportunity someday where I could blog for money or something like that....and then I felt more lost and confused. What was I doing I wondered...Was I just doing all of it to get a few comments of positivity everyday so I could feel good about myself?
Shortly after, I was watching the movie Spanglish, and I heard this line:
"Lately, your low self-esteem is just good common sense."
It made me laugh as it related to the movie, and I definitely know a few people that could use a good dose of low self-esteem, but then I wondered, is my low self-esteem good common sense, or is it keeping me from being something greater? I already knew the answer.
The past week, my blogging has become stagnate. I've squeaked out a couple of posts, and my traffic has been low, and I've felt low as a result. I have craved that new comment notification like it was all I had to live for. And, it hasn't been coming that often. Had I written all there is to write? Do I have nothing left to say that anyone wants to read? I felt like maybe it's time to stop. After almost 6 years, it's time.
I walked away from the computer, and have been more productive. I've accomplished things that the outsider might view as insignificant, but inside, they are making me feel proud, and accomplished. I've realized there is a lot of life to live away from the computer and away from this blog. I don't have to be an all or nothing kind of girl. I can write when I want to, when I truly have something to say, and then I can walk away and live my life and accomplish other things.
I have something to write about because I'm living. I don't live so I can have something to write about.
So, I'm living. Which means that I won't be posting everyday, and that traffic may not be as good, but the blog will still be there when I need it. Like a trusty old friend. But, with all friends, I don't need them to tell me I'm good. I need myself to do that. And, the blog will be there waiting for me when I've lived some more, and have something to say. Because what I say is important. If to no one else but myself.
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