Monday, March 21, 2011

Affirmation...should come from within.

Over the course of my recent revelations and past sessions with my therapist, I realized my need for affirmation was driven by my anxiety and low (but growing!) self esteem. This constant need for affirmation caused me to doubt many relationships in my life and question whether people were happy with me or appreciated me in their life. Without a doubt, this constant need for affirmation is draining on my relationships which is why I am continuing to work on finding my affirmation within. For most people it is obvious when someone values you in their life and you can tell through their actions whether they are mad or happy with you…and I am continuing to work on being aware of that and not questioning the obvious. Over the year it has become clear to me that all of these “issues” are obviously interrelated and by slowly working on each of them, they will all resolve themselves. The need for affirmation is derived by my low self esteem which manifests itself in anxious habits and concerns about my image (both socially and physically). They always say that knowledge is the first step, right? Well I have been aware for some time now…and I believe that the first step was knowledge, the second step was surrounding myself with positive people and positive reinforcement, and the last step will be positive reinforcement from myself and a positive outlook on my life and who I am. And I think that the last two steps go hand in hand in regards to me working on my need for affirmation…because if I know that I am surrounded by people the genuinely love me and appreciate me, and I am confident in myself and my actions…then naturally I can be confident that those people in my life do, in fact, truly love me and want me in their lives. See how that works? Now if I can just repeat that to myself over and over!

The reason all of these rambling came up was because I was thinking about my love for school and my apathy towards working in an office, and I realized that my love for school also steps from my need for affirmation. In the office you receive feedback that is somewhat ambiguous (if you are doing an average or good job at your tasks) and you complete your job for a purpose that is eventually achieved by not really “judged”. However, in school you receive letter grades for your work. You know whether you did a great job (A) or were terrible (F). And I think that is why I really like school. There is no grey area on my performance and I am able to get exact feedback on what I did incorrectly and how the professors view me as a student. Now this isn’t the only reason I love school…I also love learning, the academic environment, and research. And I am incredibly excited/terrified to start my PhD program in the fall. I am hopeful that this academic environment (scholars, experts, dissertation critiques) will really push my confidence to a new level because without a backbone I will probably fail…and failing is not an option!

I hope that this blog may help others to shed some light on their insecurities and where they are derived from. I think it is important (and interesting) to really think about how your emotions, weaknesses, and strengths play into different aspects of your life and mold you into the person you are (good or bad). And as I always say…there is always room for growth and change and it’s never too late to reflect and assess.

XOXO and Happy Spring!

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