After enduring emotional and psychological abuse in the form of gaslighting, it’s fair to say that ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ has become the mantra of my life. It has become second nature for me to double-guess the majority of my thoughts and actions. I often doubt choices involving my body image, diet, relationships, career, lifestyle, etc. I wonder, is there is anyone in the world that is so confident, they can make decisions without looking back through the lens of self-doubt?
Confidence feels like such a distant memory that I forget it does exist. I used to be someone full of confidence, so full of it that I wouldn’t be shocked if others saw me as pretentious. I used to possess the type of self-esteem that was so off the charts it triggered others’ insecurities. Now, I am the one so robbed of confidence these days that I find myself often being triggered by the confidence in those around me. I feel triggered because I crave to be that woman again- a woman who embraces the very definition of self-respect, love, and confidence. I want to find my charm again. I want to walk into a room full of people and hold my head up high with each stride I take forward embodying the energy of an unbreakable, confident woman.
No matter how hard I work and how hard I’ve tried to escape this part of myself, I never seem to be able to escape the smothering grip that self-doubt still has on me. I admit it to you only, that I still second guess myself a lot these days no matter how hard I pretend to be a woman off candid confidence and self-assurance. The truth is, I hide it because I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself for years now- I’m kind of embarrassed to still be struggling. I know my friends and family think I should be “whole” or “better” by now but healing it turns out, is a long and steady journey. Most people do not understand that breaking someone can take minutes whereas the time it takes to heal can be lifelong in contrast.
Honestly, I assumed therapy would take time. I thought I would be ‘healed’ after a few months of weekly therapy sessions. I was wrong though; I am still healing, and it’s been years. Despite how hard and uncomfortable healing thus far has been, I never gave up. I have worked hard in and out of therapy sessions to fix this innate brokenness in me that I can’t seem to shake. Some days, I think to myself, “I got this self-confident thing down” as I seem to be making decisions with absolute certainty. But right around the corner, I am usually blinded by this lingering insecurity that still lives in the darkest corners of me. I even completed workshops on how to become a more confident version of yourself, how to become someone with an abundance of self-love, how to become someone whose self-esteemed cannot be affected by any external factor. I also did the positive ‘affirmations strategy’ on post-its and stuck them all over my mirrors and fridge. At every corner of my home, I was greeted with a tiny slip of paper that read motivating, uplifting phrases like “You are valuable” You are confident” You are worthy” etc. I did all that as an attempt to permanently silence the insecurity and self-doubt that still consumes me.
Even though I have not yet been successful, I can say that I have come a long way. I am confident that one day I will have stepped into the self-assured woman I am working on becoming without even realizing it. Healing happens so slow we don’t often notice how far we’ve come until we take a minute to pause and reflect on where we are compared to where we started. So even though, I am not where I plan to end up, I am proud of how far I’ve come thus far.
I look forward to the day I no longer have to live in the shadows hiding the light that still shines within me. Living with wavering self-doubt, confidence, and questioning everything I do is a living hell. It strips me of my capacity to be present at the moment. I can’t tell you when the last time I left my house and didn’t spend 5 minutes in my head stressing over whether or not I left the door unlocked, the straighter on, or the stove on, etc. Even if I know I locked the door, I will still doubt myself and feel panicked out of instinct. It’s incredibly stressful.
I often wonder about how? The ‘how?’ in regards to how I’m going to become free of this nightmare when I can’t even decide on a solution confidently enough to pursue it. How does one embark on a journey to heal when they struggle with confidence in what they are feeling, thinking, or doing is even the right thing? I mean, before I know it, I get tripped up in thinking about the smallest things. I seldom get to the big life choices because I’m too busy drowning myself in the little ones.
I hope writing to you can help me find my conviction and confidence. I hope writing to you can help me find whatever it is I’m looking for to find the resilience and confidence in my voice. I just know that staying silent and keeping this to myself will only bring me further away from the woman I crave to become. I think you are going to be the one that saves me my precious diary.
I believe it’s true what people say, the most valuable things in life can’t be bought, made, or acquired. And self-love and self-esteem are probably the most valuable of them all. My only regret is that I didn’t protect them more in the past. My only promise for the future is to never take them for granted again. I want you to hold me accountable for keeping that promise too.