#MyBodyStory is a weekly series of reader submitted pieces about what it’s like to live in your body.

If you have a story to share, please send it to : Story@DoTheHotpants.com

Remember, every body has a story.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in #MyBodyStory articles are the writer’s own.


And now, without further ado,

Here is Ashley’s story.

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5 Things I learned from having low self-esteem

Nowadays, having low self-esteem is as common as having an Instagram account. We have so much access to the lives of beautiful women that make having banging bodies and flawless skin look effortless.

There is nothing wrong with people showing off what they’ve go, I actually admire it. But if you are the same as I was, you are probably constantly comparing yourself to these women, and picking yourself apart piece by piece as if you are not worthy of admiration and love because you look different.

During college, I was at my lowest point in my confidence. I didn’t think I was worth much of anything, let alone be able to make all of my dreams come true.

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I placed an exceeding amount of pressure on myself to try and get attention, make it out of college, become the first college grad in my entire family, and get a great job in accounting.  I noticed there was something wrong with my confidence after I achieved all of the goals I set for myself and was still unhappy.

Thank God those depressing days are behind me now, but I couldn’t go through all of that and not learn a few things about myself along the way. Here are some of the very important things I learned from having low self-esteem.

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1. My mind magnified the problem (if there was one to begin with).

I would overthink everything that came to mind. Lets just say being a pessimist would be an understatement. I would constantly ask myself things like “What if they don’t like me” or “I’ll look stupid if I do this or that”. Basically, I talked myself out of being myself and doing great things. For all we know, I could have been the next Einstein, but I only focused on the negative outcome as if it were the only one possible one. Now I am more optimistic about things in life. The thoughts still creep in my mind from time to time, but I have had much practice ignoring them and pushing forward.

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2. Peoples opinions don’t have power over my life’s journey.

I based almost every move I made on what people thought about me. If someone thought I didn’t dress well enough, I would change my clothes. If people thought I was being too goofy, I would tone down my personality to fit in.

I can’t control what everyone thinks of me, but I can control my level of happiness in life. When I’m older I don’t want to think “what if” to the things I didn’t do. Especially not if the decision was made based on what someone else would think of me.

I’ve gotten very comfortable with moving forward in my personal decisions without the validation of others. More commonly, I make moves in my life without telling anyone. I have become comfortable enough with myself to know what is best for me, so I take pride in making my own decisions now.

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3. If I’m being myself, the right people will come into my life.

Since all of my decisions were based on what others thought of me, I was never truly being myself. My mother said it perfect, “you’re afraid to be yourself, because you think everyone will leave you if you do”. It’s crazy to see how I’ve grown so much since thinking this way. Even if that were to happen, it would only make room for those who are supposed to be in my life. It is much better to have genuine, loving, supportive family and friends than settling for people pleasers.

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4. The only reason I couldn’t do something is because I didn’t try.

I am not sure if you are aware that when someone has low self-esteem it not only affects how they feel about their image and self worth, but it also makes them feel as though they are not capable of achieving anything. I was exactly this way. There were many nights when I would lay in my bed and think that I didn’t want to give my all in something, because when I failed, I would have just wasted my time. That’s crazy right? Some time in the midst of all this, I managed to pull myself up by my bootstraps and get the work done. I was able to ignore the negative comments that were constantly going through my head.

And while that that negative voice has never completely left, it has become quieter and fainter as my positivity has grown stronger.

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5. Do it afraid!

To this day I don’t know exactly how I did it, but I actually accomplished all of my initial dreams. I was completely afraid of being that girl that gave her all, and kept failing at everything because she could not get a break in life. Instead of just taking my thoughts for facts, I got out there and did it all afraid. I graduated with my M.S. in Accounting and got the great job I set out to get.

I’ve gotten so much gall that I actually changed the direction of my life!

I’m going after a career that is totally opposite of what people planned for me, and what I originally planned for myself. It has been extremely scary and nerve wracking at times, and I have even come across people who don’t agree with what I am doing. But needless to say, my moves are no longer their concern!

I encourage everyone who feels the way I felt to talk to someone who can help you through it. I never talked to anyone and it almost cost me my life. But because I was blessed with a great roommate that would not leave me alone to commit suicide, I’m still alive today.

So please, talk to a person you can honestly trust, and allow them to help you sort these feelings out. The payoff is so much greater than whatever it is you are going through right now.

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Thank you,

Ashley


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