I have EXTREMELY low self esteem, and I have for many years. Not just because of my weight, but because I feel like I hadn't accomplished anything in my life other than having kids and getting married. So, few years ago after coming to Turkey I made a deal with myself that I would spend the rest of my life learning anything and everything that I could manage. I started out with crafts because I didn't even know little things that all the women in my family knew including my mom, like knitting or crochet. So, I started with obscure hand crafts like lace making and zardozi embroidery, and tambour embroidery. I've been slowly learning Turkish, and I've learned to cook Turkish foods. I've really done a lot of soul searching, and plan to go to college for Plant biology once we return to the USA. I know I'm 30, but I don't care about my age, because I'm doing this for me. I really wanted to add some depth to myself.
My entire life everyone in my family, including my mom, has made me feel like I hadn't done anything to be proud of. My mom calls me a highschool drop out even though she had called the schools and told them I was a run-away when I moved out with my dads permission at 17.(How many 17 year olds do you know who actually try to get back into high schoo and more so, a magnet school). I had an attorney trying to help me get in for 6 months before they gave up. I got married the next year and had my first daughter..and from there it was years of putting off my education for my ex-husbands, which he gave up on after we divorced. My life was dedicated to raising my children without help of family and friends or their father. I busted my butt! Now that I'm remarried to a 'foreigner' my family has really turned their back and treated me like I'm a low life. I still put my children and my husband before myself.
So, why is it that people feel the need to make me feel worthless? I had started a course here in Turkey to learn how to make Turkish needle lace, which is a dieng craft. The course is completely in Turkish, but my teacher has found that I'm able to learn without speach. She does tell me things in Turkish, and I get it. I've been taking this course for the past few mnths, and I had the exam today. The exam I had to completetly memorize in Turkish and English within a week, I did in 2 hours. It turned out to be an oral exam. My teacher read out the questions, and I answered on paper. Which is harder for me than reading the questions because I have a photographic memory. I passed it with full points. My mother in law was there with me, and she said I was the only student not cheating, and my teacher was impressed. So, since I passed the exam I will be a Certified Turkish lace maker.
Okay, Maybe it's not the most useful certification, but it's an accomplishment which I feel gives me depth after many years of doing nothing to improve myself. I had talents, sure, but I never sat down and took the time to learn a new skill. This is a unique skill for me, and to have learned it in a different language than my own feels like an accomplishment within itself.
Anyhoo...So, I posted it to my facebook. On my facebook I have estranged family members including my brother whom I've tried to re-build a relationship with. Being the blacksheep from birth has made it hard. Well, The response one of my cousins wrote was very rude. I've been incredibly overly sweet to all of them, and never do they care about my own life as I do theirs. So she asks me 'Do you need a certificate to make lace?' and I politely answered not really, explained the reason for the course in Turkey(to train ladies to be skilled workers) said I wanted to learn for my own sake, but I could use it as reference if I wanted to for certain jobs I qualify for. Her reply was 'Oh...Ok...'
Normally she's very bubbly to everyone else about their accomplishments, but the way I was regarded by her reminded me of the attitude everyone in my family has shown me..and friends I use to have..Like I've never done anything valuable, I've done nothing to be proud of. I get treated like I'm worthless most of the time, and I never stand up for myself. I've tried, doesn't work.
So, why is it that people feel the need to make others seem worthless, or like what they do is a waste. I've always felt expendable. I've even been told I was before. So, how am I suppose to overcome this when I finally do feel like I accomplished something, and someone spits on it.
Sorry for the VERY long rant...I just don't have anyone to talk to about it at 2am in the morning...
The problem is..it makes me feel like stuffing my face for comfort..and the only thing that keeps me from it is I know I'll regret it later...self control..
Thank you for calling the Weight Loss Hotline. If you'd like to lose a half pound right now, press 1 eighteen thousand times. ~Randy Glasbergen
My friend Marie says it best: Don't let anyone steal your power.
There will always be negative people, always naysayers, people trying to pull you down, no matter who you are or what you do. You sound like a person with a lot to be proud of, especially your desire to learn and grow.
Do not let anyone take that from you!
My friend Louisa says: What you focus on is what you will draw.
Focus on the positive, find the people who will support you and don't listen to those who won't. Sour grapes, I say. And yeah that includes family; if they don't have your back; you will find that you can make your own family, the people who love you and will see you for the great person that you are.
Crimpet - what you're doing is amazing. You've taken up a dying skill - in another language!! Just learning another language is impressive, in my book.
Are you pleased with where your life has taken you? I've read in another thread that you've been living in Turkey for a couple of years, now. There are many people who haven't been to the next state, let alone a completely foreign country. You braved it, leaving behind everything you were comfortable with to start something new and fresh.
Never let your age interfere with your learning - it's what keeps the brain young. Even if you're 40 by the time you make it into a Plant Biology course, it is something you obviously want to do, and you have every right to do it.
You made the choice to learn something new and you've achieved it. What are you planning on moving onto next (aside from Plant Bio)?
I can't answer as to why your family make you feel this way. I am sort of in the same boat, so I do understand exactly where you're coming from. It is, however, a good lesson for you and I to know how NOT to treat our own children.
Please don't take a step back in your weight-loss journey with this bit of depression. The people who treat us unfairly are not worth it and the best comeback is living a fantastic and happy life.
I don't usually have much to say on forums (I lurk and read mostly) but I know exactly where you're coming from. I am the same age as you, and the oldest girl in my generation in my family. As such, I am the one who had to set the standard, apparently, and although I thought I did well, my cousins had more opportunities (more money helped them there) and have done better professionally. I was the first in my whole family to go to university. I have a degree (2:1 BSc Hons Medical Biotechnology that I worked hard at for 5 years, including a placement year and a semester retake after my boyfriend was killed in a road accident and I couldn't concentrate for months) but can't get a job using it - I work in a shop. Therefore I'm viewed as a failure. I also bake (not good for the diet, but oh so good for the tastebuds), craft and write, and I do it well, but they don't help me professionally, therefore they're "non-skills". There is a lot that I can do that none of the others could even attempt, but none of it matters to any of them. Talk between my mother and her sisters was never what I'd done well, but what someone else had done better.
But you know what? Stuff the lot of them.
You've raised a family without the help most people have. You've built a life without the support of your other family members. You've learnt a difficult craft that they couldn't dream of mastering, and you've done it in a foreign country whilst still learning the language. They may be your family, and their approval and appreciation for what you've achieved would be a good thing to have, but you don't need it. You've done a lot without them, and I bet they could never have managed as you have. You have a lot to be proud of. They dismiss what they don't understand, they trivialise things they know they'd never manage, and they do it because some people have a deep-seated need to put others down to buoy themselves up. Sometimes it's arrogance, sometimes it's insecurity, often it's a bit of both, but whatever it is, the only way they can feel good is to make out that they're better than someone, however wrongly. And they are wrong; modesty and self-effacement are better qualities than arrogance and one-upmanship. You've done amazingly so far, please don't give in; the last thing you want is to give them any grounds to say they're right when we know they're wrong. No matter how much they put you down, how much they tell you they've done, remember what you've achieved, and ask yourself how much they could really have achieved on their own, as you have. You might be surprised.
Sorry it's long-winded, but people being belittled and made to feel like crap in such a way really gets my hackles up
I think it's cool as all get out. I've watch people tatting here in the states and have wanted to learn just the basics, but to learn to make Turkish lace would be the bomb. And having to learn it in another language would certainly add another of difficulty, for me anyway, not so much for you.
I'm sorry that others don't understand or don't openly acknowledge your skills. Shame on them! In my life I've often been underestimated by others, it used to bother me tremendously. But then I realized that others base their estimations of me by there own shortcomings, not mine. I think that must be the case for you too, because obviously you are crazy talented. Oh and congratulations on your certification, normally I would say that calls for cake, but maybe this time it calls for a nice lowfat yogurt with blueberries?
There is only one thing I can think of to say in addition to the others who have already posted how admirable your achievements are (and I really do think that you've done an awful lot, and wanting to do more instead of just being content is amazing). I could go on about that but others before me have said it very well.
But the thing that struck me about your post is something I would encourage you to think about. It's easier said than done, heaven knows, but here it is:
No one can make you feel anything. YOU make yourself feel.
Your feelings are completely your own. You have a choice as to how you feel. When others do or say things that imply criticism, what you do with that is up to you. Yes, it is extremely hard to react to something hurtful in a way to turn it around and make it positive, but you have the choice to do so, and with practice it gets easier. As Hope said above, why would you give someone the power to make you feel bad?
You have started to take a step to put yourself first in one way, at least, by getting on FitDay and taking care of yourself. Be proud of that. Let it grow, and take care of yourself in other ways, too. That is fertile ground for self-esteem to grow. Again, I don't mean to imply that this is easy or quick, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Sadly, we can't control what others do, but we have a huge say in what we do. That's a lot of power and a lot of responsibility. You have choices. Granted, some have consequences, but in the end, it's up to you to make choices that make yourself feel good instead of worthless. I hope you choose the first option, because you ARE worth it. Be gentle with yourself.
"If you drop an egg, you don't say, 'Oh, shoot' and drop the other 11, do you?"
-Source unknown, but obviously brilliant
Reached goal 4/16/2010...but kind of afraid to look these days
Crimpet, your story is amazing and inspiring Thank you for sharing it here.
So often I've found that other people have some sort of standard-bar for others. For example, you're not "successful" unless you run your own business, or get a medical degree, or are a hot-shot lawyer. Nevermind if you're happy as a pig in mud making lace, others are just going to be like "Oh...well, that's...yeah." They can't get beyond their own biases, and they can't put themselves in your shoes to see how much it means to you. They're stuck in their own heads - and that's not your fault.
When things like that happen, I like to take a step back and really ask myself how MUCH their opinion means to me. When it comes right down to it, there are about 4 people in my life that I have whose opinions REALLY matter to me - because of their position in my life, or because of our bonds. Of course I care what others might say, and I certainly take their POV into consideration, but in the end I have to choose to step away from the negative when I let myself know it doesn't really matter.
It's really, really hard to do, and even though I say "I do this" I still only REALLY succeed half of the time at best. But you are an amazing person. I think I get the sense in your post that at least PART of you knows that what you've done is special, and shows your toughness and resolve. Listen to that part of yourself. So many times there's so much negativity in our own heads, and when other people echo the bad things we say to ourselves, unfortunately we tend to listen to that bad (that low self-esteem part, the part that tells us that we're worthless) than to the part of our minds that is rooting for us to succeed!
Like Cassie said -- CHOOSE to listen to that part of yourself. It's not easy and it takes some practice, but you can do it. You are a SUPERSTAR.
Female, 30 years old, 5'4 1/2" tall
Starting weight 1/4/11 = 215.2 lbs.
Weight 8/30/13 = 179.8 (net: -35.4)
Current mini-goal: 175 lbs.
Lowest weight: 156.7 lbs.
150.2 lbs. <--- Official "Healthy BMI" weight
Estimated final goal: 130 lbs.
"You don't have to change your life today. You only need to change your day today."
I think all who have posted have given you wonderful advice. On several levels, I know exactly where you're coming from. The only thing I can add, from a little different perspective, is that raising successful, healthy, motivated children is no accident. Being a full-time mom, especially a single mom, is never given the credit it deserves. I have worked 60 hour weeks in a demanding profession. I have worked part-time and I have now been a full-time mom for 15 years. By far, being a full-time mom is the hardest, the least understood and the least appreciated. There is little praise, no sick or vacation days, no bonuses for completing your work, no pay and no pension. You have done and accomplished far more than you are giving yourself credit for. You have traveled and live in a country most have only read about. You are experiencing a new culture first hand. And, most importantly, you had the courage to take a chance and do so.
From another perspective, one of being a little older, (almost 49) I want you to know that the older you get, the less you care about what other people think of you or your accomplishments. Although I gave up a career to be home with my kids and I'll never have some lengthy, impressive title, I love my life and I so proud of all that I've accomplished. When you get older, things like titles, income, and accomplishments are far less impressive and important than who you are as a person and what kind of legacy have you left. I can honestly say I don't have a single regret in my life. The things that once seemed like "mistakes" in my younger days, I now see as extremely important stepping stones to the peace, happiness and success that I enjoy today.
Long story short... the older you get, the less any of this will bother you and the less importance it will carry. It's one of the most pleasant, unexpected surprises of aging...
freedom from being pulled down by those who have no right to do so.
Reached 30 lb. Weight Loss Goal April, 2010
Fighting The Battle to Maintain
Like the others, I agree that what you have acomplished is amazing and I think you should feel proud of yourself for having accomplished it.
The only thing I want to add is that I think you should be careful of how much you read into someone's comments. It is really hard to express emotion through meida like Facebook posts, emails, and online forums. Your cousin's response may not have been meant as a put down, it may have been a legitamate question, or even an attempt at humour, without hearing the tone it's hard to tell.
At any rate, if you are proud of what you have done, then that is all that really matters.
I just wanted to say...I hope someday that you are able to look within and know that you are great and what you are doing is awesome. Then maybe you won't be so hurt when someone does come off with a backward comment about you. It is hard but you will feel so much better once you come to that realization. The only thing is....it will happen for you when you are ready for it. I used to be hurt by literally everything, now I take most things with a grain of salt. It just works better for me that way. I do have to be careful though because sometimes I don't take things seriously enough.
__________________ April - 35yr 5'10" mom of two teen boys