On Listening

What is it about self-loathing that makes it so easy and appealing? I ask this having just watched one of my best friends dump out one of the most unpleasant pieces of self loathing I’ve seen in a very long time on a message board we both frequent.

I mean, I’m not exactly without my own neuroses, but generally it takes a prolonged hammering at my mental state before I become sufficiently off kilter as to really give in to them (like, for example, several months of self-inflicted stress… :) ). Most of the time, I’m well balanced enough to know that I’m probably not as [stupid/malformed/unpleasant/insert other self-pitying adjective in here] as I think I am on a bad day. In my experience, it’d be a great thing if everyone woke up to someone telling them that they’re better than they thing they are. Mind you, most people refuse to listen when they’re told that. We get shy, get embarrassed and in that state kind of forget that we’ve been complimented, or assume that the person saying nice things is either insincere (and wants something) or is in some way mad or defective. Basically, find an excuse to ignore the fact that they’ve been told something that doesn’t fit in with their view of themselves. God alone knows why. Frankly, I don’t get enough compliments to feel I can ignore the ones I do get…

Yet when someone deals our ego a blow, we listen. Much, much too hard.

Example: a little over eighteen months ago, I asked someone I knew out. She laughed in my face. I mean literally. The sensible reaction, and the view that I now hold is that she was, at best, a tactless and thoughtless cow, and frankly, I’m very glad it never went anywhere. Her view of me is no more accurate that my own most negative imaginings. Basically: fuck her, and the horse she rode in on.

The reaction I had then, on the other hand, was not so sensible, and involved an awful lot of misery and bitterness. Took me fucking ages to believe that I might actually be worth dating again (and of course, someone who doesn’t believe they’re worth dating doesn’t exactly do themselves any favours when it comes to letting people to persuade them otherwise).

I am, unsurprisingly, doing better these days, and lately, better than I have in a long time, having finally come to the realisation that self-deprecation is nor more attractive (or accurate) on me than it is on other people, and thus made an effort to stop doing it, both in terms of what I say out loud, and what I think inside my head. But given that it’s the same friend who made me realise this that is vomiting out self-loathing in public, I wonder why it is that they can see that my neurotic whinging is just that, and get really fed up of it (not that I blame them, mind you), and yet their own is apparently justified and accurate.

The moral of the story: No-one can convince you that you’re great but you. But y’know, other people might help, if you listen to them.

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