Posted in Self Help

How we define ourselves

Most people define themselves by what they are: white, black, asian; blonde, brunette; tall, short; slim, stocky, athletic; British, American, Canadian; male, female, child, adult, middle aged; by our jobs, our social standing, by our religious beliefs, our political views or our class or upbringing.

Sometimes we define ourselves by what we want to be: budding artist, jobbing actor, medical student, trainee mechanic.

This is a pretty normal and typical way of describing ourselves to others. It is so much part of everyday life that we rarely even think about it.

Those of us with low self-esteem tend to define ourselves by what we are not or we describe ourselves by what we are using negative terms: fat, ugly, weird, boring, a failure, over the hill, past it, bad at our job, a loser in love, unattractive, there is something wrong with me.

Far too often I have allowed my mental state to focus on what I am not instead of what I am. I know this is the key to my negative self-perception and the reason I have been so dismissive of compliments. It has also dragged my mood down no end at times.

Though the self-help book has not touched on this issue (yet), I came to realise while reading it that I had always defined myself by what I am not and therefore entrenching an attitude of inadequacy. I will be single for the rest of my life because I am: fat, ugly, quiet, boring, weird. I’m still having a hard time accepting that anybody else is ever going to feel an attraction for me but the least I can do right now is define myself by what I am: approachable, friendly, loyal and judging by how much Miss X laughed while I was with her, clearly I have a sense of humour.

I’m going to give it a go at pushing the positives in my posts and to become aware of negative definitions. As I spend more time thinking about this, I’m sure I will return to the subject.

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Author:

I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

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