Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N Is for Nice

I first heard Kermit the Frog say that it's nice to be important, but it's important to be nice. That's something I haven't always taken to heart, but I'm trying.

It's been hard for me to be nice over the years, because I think sometimes people mistake being nice for being weak and have a go at you. And sometimes, I am weak. My self-esteem and my emotional health have been so worn down over the years, and recovery isn't as easy as I had hoped it would be.

One interesting thing about my anxiety--one that surprises me--is that over the years I've become very uncomfortable with accepting compliments. I'm trying to work on that one. I used to default to the self-deprecating bit where you shrug off compliments or just don't agree with them, but I started to realize that doing that makes people feel like maybe they just shouldn't have given you the compliment in the first place. You know what eventually happens? You stop getting compliments, and it just confirms your belief that people don't think you're any good at anything. You create that in order to confirm your own biases against yourself.

I've started, at the very least, to just say thank you, even if I don't feel I deserve a compliment. And, in doing so, I've found myself much more receptive to receiving them. It's changing my attitude about myself in small but profound ways. That's something I really need right now, because I just haven't liked myself in a very, very long time. When you don't like yourself, you don't take care of yourself. And, well... no one else is going to take care of you for you.

I have a new doctor now, and she's very supportive, which is something I've never gotten from a medical doctor before. I saw her last week, and we were talking about some of my skin problems and such things, and I felt really, really self-conscious and embarrassed about it. I have lied to doctors in the past because I didn't want to feel like I was gross or like I just couldn't do certain things for myself. That attitude of always having to be strong or people think less of you. It's not helpful to lie to doctors. So I'm trying to be honest. She's aware of my mental issues, and she's very understanding. I feel like we're working together, rather than being talked to.

Anyway, I was there and I wasn't looking her in the eye, because when I'm afraid of appearing weak and needy I'm too uncomfortable to look people in the eye. We've talked about that. But I was telling her about these skin problems and doing that thing that I always do where I was sort of apologizing for existing and being a bother by existing, and I mumbled, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so disgusting."

She stopped me and said "Don't say that. You're a person, and we're all people, and we all have a right to be comfortable inside ourselves."

I literally stopped talking. I couldn't speak for about 10 seconds because I was trying not to cry. She asked if I was alright. And I said "I just don't always think of myself as a person, and when someone treats me like I am, it scares me."

Because it's evidence against the assumptions I have about life. I operate from a deep-rooted belief that I'm no good and that no one could ever love me or respect me or be kind to me.

That's why I'm so dismissive of compliments. They sometimes make me feel uncomfortable because they challenge what I "know" to be "true" about myself.

I need to be more receptive to receiving, or at least acknowledging, compliments and kind words rather than shrugging them off or shrinking away from them, because it makes it easier for me to love myself and heal myself.

Kermit was right. It is important to be nice. But it's as important to be nice to yourself as it is to be nice to others.

ABC Wednesday


Norma Ruttan said...

Not trying to convet you, but I will tell you that belonging to a ladies' group where each of us is not allowed to tell anything that is said in our group may not be shared with others outside of the group. With this assurance, many of us discover that many of us share the same inadequacies and others offer solutions to these. I wish you progress in realizing that you are important.

SamuraiFrog said...

Thank you very much.

Roger Owen Green said...

Yes. Unfortunately, "nice" is one of those words that gets devalued. I'm reminded of this line from Frank Burns in the TV series MASH "it's nice to be nice to the nice" and it was a comedic line.
You remind me of that Wayne's World line, "We're not worthy." And you, you, my friend, certainly ARE worthy. Hope you believe that.

Natholeon said...

Anxiety is a weird thing. It twists your brain into all sorts of corners then refuses to turn around and see the way back out. Having just discovered your blog I love what you have to write, which is praise, so please just accept it. I'm more and more amazed at the creativity I find from anxiety inflicted (I initially wrote suffering here, but it only makes you suffer if you let it) bloggers. We are some of the most amazing people on the net (and by extension, the world), but we just don't accept it. Be nice to yourself. Accept yourself. You deserve it.

New York Erratic said...

Congratulations on your progress!

Something that helped me accept compliments: when I can't say "thank you" because I believe the compliment, I say "thank you" for the niceness of the person giving the compliment.

Ann said...

I've always thought Kermit was a wise frog. Being nice is so important and you opening up on your post hopefully will help you in your journey.