But for some reason, I didn’t know the difference between the image of myself and the image of others. They were both combined to form one blurry, bipolar image.
I felt pain this morning through these eyes: I passed by someone and said “Good morning”. She kept her head down, muttered my name, and didn’t look back. I felt small in the midst of my pain….so how healthy is my self-image if that is what I saw? Let me look to a client of depression named Sarah who said, ‘I have to listen to my pain and not just that of other people. And I have to struggle with the pain inside me to try to release some of it bit by bit’ (Coming through Depression).
I tried to please this person in many ways and she seemed to take advantage of my kindness. Perhaps that was because I had poor self-image…I want to look after my own needs too. If I am to be frank with this person, I would say, “I see you most days and I need peace here in this space, and I will no longer let you stamp on me like you are trampling on eggshells. I am not one of your eggs. I would appreciate it if you would respect my peace”.
‘Too much giving leaves us vulnerable to depression’ – Tony Bates
I know this to be true through giving and giving all of my life. As a youngster, I was taught by my parents to keep my focus on others. And I embodied this teaching – it was certainly the case at school through my work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and helping my friends and others in any way I could. I remember, for example, when I saw a new boy come into our school: I said “hello”; showed him around the school; connected him with students and let him go on his way.
However, I gave too much; I forgot about myself; and as I got older, my whole self began to breakdown. I was brought to my knees and I felt humbled. Was I living through my own eyes or through the eyes of others? I was vulnerable, and I experienced a lot of depression. Slowly but surely, I began to nurture my self-image through positive mantras, believing in a faith of love, and acknowledging my pain.
7 weeks later, I revisit this blog post to see if my self-image has changed at all. So, what do I notice when I take a step back to look at myself? I see a wonderful guy with rich inner beauty, living a wonderful journey, and giving light to others. What has changed is that this guy has progressed from learning to love himself to actually loving himself! I accept my 34 years of existence. I accept my past, my present, and my future.