Mirror Image has low self-esteem.
I knew this from fairly early on when she confided in me that very few men throughout her life had paid her much in the way of romantic attention – the fact that she has had just one boyfriend that lasted less than six months would have further reinforced that. Every (genuine) compliment I have paid her about her personality or her physical appearance has been met with a response that can only be described as surprise and a dash of gratitude. She constantly comments that no other guy has shown her so much genuine concern and kindness (her words).
She is attractive, funny, charming, highly intelligent, thoughtful, interesting, good company, and a little quirky. She says that her slightly older sister has had far more attention than she has. Admittedly her sister is also very attractive, but I wouldn’t say that either was more or less attractive than the other and Mirror Image is far more my type so I naturally default to thinking she is the prettier one.
And this really brought it home to me that having low self esteem says far less about who and what you are than it does about the perception you have of yourself. Perception is everything – even the most beautiful and successful person can still feel they are unworthy of X, Y and Z. It is not about whether you truly are successful, attractive or likeable but whether you yourself feel that you are those things, whether you live up to the high standards you set for yourself and what you presume others think of you.
Those who care about you accept you for who and what you are – faults as well.
Realising that self-esteem is more about perception and expectation is the major issue to understand in fighting those feelings. Of course I still have my moments – it’s never going to go away.
In Slightly Related News
I am one of (potentially) four suitors for Mirror Image right now. She confessed to me that another guy she met (who lives a similar distance away from her as I do) has been displaying signs of jealousy about us meeting up a couple of weeks ago. He has “hinted” that he might have feelings for her and has suggested meeting up again in the New Year. The third and fourth are a male friend she used to have feelings for, and a flat mate in her shared house.
She has stated categorically that she feels closer to me than to Jealous Guy and that she doesn’t have particularly strong feelings about him either way. Before, I would have panicked at this point in feeling I had a challenger and kept my mouth shut until I felt I no longer had a choice. Remembering though that Miss X told me the exact same things about Mister Unsuitable, I am not taking that at face value – though she is far more upfront as a person than Miss X and far more in tune with other people’s feelings.
I calmly put my cards on the table – I told her that I really like her, that I am attracted to her and that I really want to keep seeing her but happy to take it at a pace comfortable for her. In a different time, I would have been anxious about even saying that, let alone being willing to let it go if she chose somebody else! Hell, before I wouldn’t have had the confidence to flirt with her as much as I did when we actually met (bloody hell did I turn into a hopeless flirt on that day but that’s a story for another post!)
So my cards are on the table and it will soon be time for her to show her hand or fold.