I didn’t realize that for a long time. Because my internal dialogue was all I’d ever known, I didn’t realize there was any other way to live.
I’ve always been vicious to myself when it came to my physical appearance. When I was a child, I was honestly convinced I was the ugliest boy around. As I got a little older, my worst fear was that no woman would ever be attracted to me.
For my entire adult life, I seem to have been looking for one reason after another to feel shame about myself. Even when there was nothing objective to feel bad about, I couldn’t seem to help myself. I found things to criticize, to doubt and to cause shame.
This has been my template for so many things in life. One of the reasons I know my faults so well — and am willing to admit them to you — is that I’ve spent so much time cataloguing my failings and setting up plans for improving myself.
Lately, though, I’ve found myself dialing down the shame. I’ve started feeling that maybe — just maybe — it’s OK to accept myself, even as I work on becoming a better person.