You’re your own harshest critic. You find yourself saying cruel and unkind words to yourself; words that you would never dream of voicing to anyone else. You apply constant pressure, and gradually up the weight over time. And you can’t see it, but you’re slowly crushing yourself into the ground.
You’re so damn hard on yourself, and you don’t know how to stop.
Because there’s always a girl who’s smarter, or prettier, or more popular than you are. Always someone in front or above you, leaving you breathless behind, in their trail of smoke. There’s always someone a little further ahead on their journey. There’s always a reason for you to believe you aren’t quite enough.
Because you’re convinced you have to do everything in this life, and be everything to everyone, all at once. Because you’ve been taught to be a yes girl, and no is a profanity you must not use in your vocabulary. And because yes pleases others, and so yes is what we must say to get ahead.
Because the world is filled with garbage.
Celebrity obsession, gossip magazines, TV shows, clothing, and make-up flogged by the bucket-load; all designed to tell you what you should look like. What you should be interested in. How you should dress. The colour of your hair. And the width of your waistline.
A full set of make-up that covers your flaws, while still giving you that totally fake ‘natural’ look. Not too much skin on show, but just enough so you don’t look like a prude. Longer eyelashes, bigger boobs, fuller lips, thicker eyebrows, glossier hair, and on and on. It doesn’t end. All dictating to you, who you should aspire to be. Instead of celebrating the incredible girl you already are.
And because it’s all too easy to let our mistakes cloud over us, and shadow all of our success. It’s easy to focus on what we’re not, instead of all that we are. And we’ve been led to criticise, to analyse, and to continually mould ourselves into someone ‘desirable’ to others.
Because you think you have to be perfect.
You think that failing will automatically label you a failure. And so you’re scared to even try.
You’re scared to go after what you want. You’re hard on yourself for even thinking for a second that you could.
Because someone along the way told you you weren’t good enough. You weren’t worthy. You weren’t beautiful. And you weren’t wanted. And it breaks my heart that you decided to believe them. You allowed your worth to be dictated by some nobody. And even now that nobody is gone, those not enough feelings stick around, like a band aid begging to be ripped off.
And because people continually enter us females into competition with one another. A competition none of us ever willingly agreed to. We’re so hard on ourselves, because we can’t stop sizing up the girl beside us, calculating if we’re better than her or not. They don’t want us to know it, but through cheering each other on, and being happy for one another’s success, we would be far stronger than we are alone.
You’re so hard on yourself, because of everything that has happened to you up to this point. Every time someone put you down, and every time you didn’t stand up for yourself. Every time you said yes when your mind was screaming no. And every time someone else’s dreams came true, while yours remained unfulfilled in your mind. Every time you stumbled. And every time you were scarred.
You’re so used to being this hard on yourself, you don’t know how to stop.
Praise for Bloom by Shani Jay
“I read Bloom in one night. I started feeling hopeless and pushed down. Shani picked me up, dusted me off, and guided me to self-love in a few short hours with only print. Truly inspiring” – Rebecca Barnoff