Self-esteem Doesn’t Grow on Trees

Picnic weather at Crump Acres

Some days, I feel lost in my own maze. I find myself frequently caught in the middle of moods that surround me on all sides, blocking my view of the sun. The days in my marriage that are hardest for me are the ones when it feels like something is “off” but nothing actually is. I have spent countless hours trying to bottle all the parts of our best days, so I could clone them later. But you can’t grow happiness in a jar. It can only be found in the wild. The movement and passion of organically grown joy has no synthetic equal.

In criticism, a smaller version of me found comfort. Not because it was true, but because it was tangible. Because “why” helped me blame a moment for my pain instead of a fickle core. I have swallowed correction in big, full gulps to avoid the real pill: that my emotions are fleeting. The placebo of blame helped me believe for a time that I was the master of my own days. As it turns out, I am only the master of my reaction to those days.

I have obsessed over words and glances that made me feel loved instead of just accepting them. I have forced my husband to reassure me that his attachment to and affection towards me have not wavered. He has graciously done that and so much more. I have filled our home with an air of self-doubt so dense at times that we could barely breathe normally. I have ruined some of my sweetest memories by dissecting them.

But I have been working really hard. I have spent long, hard hours with my therapist learning to fill the gaps in my personhood. She helped me see that although it is natural to want someone to like me enough to heal all of my wounds, the gap is too wide for one person to fill. Self-esteem doesn’t grow on trees, but it does grow in people. I am more secure in this moment than I ever have been. It’s not because I fixed all the things that are broken inside of me, but because I saw them for what they truly are – a part of me. My husband has been patient when I have been hard to love. He has been understanding when brokenness tried to drive me mad. He has always found the good in me, even when it was hidden in the middle of a maze. And it is high time that I start meeting him halfway.

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