I feel like I’m always searching for the secret recipe to “Normal”, or what my ideal definition of normalcy is. But there are shades of white male idealism so entwined in this word that I’m pretty sure that ideal is a spoiled mirage, neither obtainable nor desirable.
My low self-esteem hasn’t done me any favors in this way. Continual self-doubt drains me of the confidence a normal person has the right to feel. Like an ever-leaking blow-up mattress, it needs re-inflating regularly.
Having low self-esteem is like sleeping on an air mattress with a slow leak in it. When it’s inflated, you can sleep well. But the esteem slowly seeps out while you are unaware/unconscious. And you find yourself having to pump the mattress up over and over again.
Maybe the bigger problem is that you don’t think it’s “normal” to be sleeping on a leaking mattress. Ideally, that mattress should always stay full and firm. So, you keep trying to fix it or buying new mattresses just as I used to buy new e-courses to learn how to fill my esteem up and keep it that way. But inevitably, that mattress springs a leak again and again.
But what if we expected this leak to happen? What if we planned to get our best sleep night after night immediately after we pumped up the mattress. We could manage the problem proactively instead of reactively until it didn’t feel like a problem but just the way it is while still accomplishing a good night’s sleep. Or anything else we want to aspire to achieve.
Filling up my esteem and fueling my creative work looks like interacting with others, being with friends and family and myself, creating art, writing, cooking and eating well, exercising, and showing up for myself with intention and boundaries. And when I’m juiced from these sources, I can tackle a little something that furthers my dreams of being an engaged creative human being.
After this, getting as good a night’s sleep on my ever-leaking mattress is possible. A slight discomfort in an otherwise wonderful life.
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