Things I’m learning/unlearning

What a ride the past six months have been. I’m clocking in at my third existential breakdown for the past few weeks, and frankly, that seems right on target given the current state of things. 

I’ve stepped back and spent a lot of time learning, raging, exploring, examining, and collapsing and reconstructing my idea of myself as a person, as a woman, as a researcher, as a psychologist. I’ve had lots of interesting, nuanced and juicy discussions with people, and have given myself permission to explore diverse viewpoints offline – which, over the past few weeks is tantamount to violence according to some. So, additionally grappling with the challenge of what it means to sit with shame and not feel compelled to enter, uninformed, into a dialogue for the sake of gaining external approval or saving face. 

There are an exceptional range of resources, stories, art and voices that have been amplified over the past few weeks – a range of which will inspire, enrage, challenge and elevate. I encourage you to make space, continuously for such resources. And from there, make efforts to detangle and integrate your learning – allow it to help shape you into the type of person you most want to be and let it inform how you show up in the world. 

Here’s a glimpse of a few things I’m learning/unlearning…


In therapy, we understand the importance of being seen and heard in one’s fullness, in one’s vulnerability, in one’s pain and in one’s truth. Finding a voice and having a space where we can be heard and acknowledged, free from judgement or expectation, is something we all deserve. Unfortunately, structures within our society have made it so that some voices are louder than others, and some people are rarely given the space to be seen. This is unjust and needs to be confronted.


We all have needs and boundaries and we should all feel worthy of expressing them, without feeling as if we are being burdensome or over-demanding. Unfortunately, structures within our society have made it so that certain people’s needs and boundaries are overlooked/disregarded. Our needs run deep, and reflect our human yearning for safety, for inclusion, for belonging and for autonomy. We cannot progress as a collective until all individuals feel empowered to express their needs and boundaries, and expect they will be met with acknowledgement and respect.


We may not ever intend to, but we will, throughout our lives, do things that hurt others. In this way, we all have a duty to both become aware of the ways in which we might unwittingly diminish or injure others, and understand what triggers our own personal hurt and offence. We must honour emotional truths which means not telling an upset person “Don’t be upset” and not telling ourselves “Just get over it” when we find ourselves hurting. We must be compassionate and curious about what drives us to act in certain ways, and how these actions impact others, just as we must be compassionate and curious about what drives others to act as they do and how this impacts us. 


Lately, folks have been bandying around the idea of “challenging your implicit biases” like it’s the same thing as remembering to pre-heat the oven. Dudes. This is a lot to expect from some people who aren’t even socially-aware enough to realise that catcalling out the window of their Subaru Impreza is not going to be taken as a compliment. We are all operating with implicit biases – around race, around gender, around values, around who we are and what we deserve. If you’re not questioning these on the reg, you’re basically an automaton and will be discarded once the robot apocalypse comes. 


Self exploration and analysis is hard fucking work. And I can say with 100% certainty that you, me, everyone, is holding onto shit they don’t need or that might hurt others because it’s comfortable, familiar or allows one to retain status/dominance. It’s difficult to confront but essential if you want to cultivate an authentic relationship with yourself, with others, and with the world. So what are you holding onto that’s holding you back? A feeling of superiority around some kinds of people? A feeling to stay small bc you’re afraid of making a mistake? The desire to be constantly approved of? Do the work, and bin it. 


As individuals, we are soft-wired to be both selfish & groupish. It’s what helped our ancestors survive in harsh environments within tribal communities. This tribalistic desire to belong and to be approved of by our in-group is still as salient as ever, and is explicit in society today, particularly when confronted with politicised issues. It’s easy to admonish and dehumanise others when you feel as if they’ve made conscious choices to believe what they believe – and those beliefs (according to you) are wrong. However, it makes it harder to understand one another, reach common ground and find positive solutions to problems. 


While the conversations around race, gender, sexuality, etc. are all completely necessary, a danger these conversations can pose is the unintentional definition of an individual by what is essentially only one part of them. We are all complex, multi-faceted, radiant, unfinished and often contradictory organisms. Our brains have the tendency to fall into the default of stereotyping or simplifying the complexities of others, particularly when we don’t know too much about them. Don’t be lazy. Learn. Be open. Fuck up. Do better. Be compassionate. Be curious. And be prepared to be dazzled. 

The selfish side of empathy

Empathy gets a good rap – and so it should. It enables us to connect with one another on an emotional level, and feel alongside others, particularly those who may be suffering.

I’ve always considered myself a rather empathetic person. I’m a good reader of other people’s emotional states. I’m quick to imagine what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. I cry during every Queer Eye episode. etc.

I remember times growing up when my mum was depressed and I felt her mood encompass me. While she was sad I felt unable to feel anything else but sad. I felt so attuned to her emotionally but also made it my duty to suffer alongside her – it felt only fair.

After all, isn’t one being emotionally tone deaf to carry along on one’s merry way when someone you love is feeling such pain?

Now that I’m older, my empathy presents in the same way, however, I’m becoming increasingly sceptical if this emotional mirroring is really a helpful asset. In fact, it may be a feature that places a weighty responsibility on the other person, making them feel culpable for my responsive feelings of sadness (e.g. “if I wasn’t feeling so sad, you wouldn’t be upset). Not only that, but it may have the effect of disallowing the other to accept and experience their own emotions, faced with the added burden of having to comfort me in my allegiant gloom. 

As I become more in tune, less reactive and slightly more curious about my own emotional responses, I’ve begun questioning my automatic empathetic response. In light of much I’ve been learning about holding space for others, listening with intent to understand and allowing others to have their own emotional experiences without judgment or reparation – I wonder how this empathy might be harnessed in a more helpful way. 

I am inspired by my partner – someone with a remarkably high emotional IQ (who hasn’t needed to learn it via a swathe of mental health journals and psychology books, ala me). When he meets me in my moments of suffering and sadness, he doesn’t try to force it out of me, nor does he wilt and wallow in a similar state alongside. He recognises what I’m going through. He lets me feel it without judgment. And while he might extend to me a little more added compassion & sensitivity, he meets me from where he is. If his mood is one of contentment, he doesn’t extinguish this. And having him there, feeling full, is a comfort to me on my darker days. It’s a little reminder of what’s possible. And it makes a part of me happy to know he is happy.

Learning to respond from such a place of strength won’t come naturally to me. My regular programming is firmly engrained and I’m going to have to remain well aware of my emotional responses in the event of the suffering of those close to me, so as not to automatically react with more of the same.

Empathy is a weird thing. But with all the good that it can do (and does), I’ll just have to keep practicing and strive to do it justice.

Why I secretly want celebrities to fail

Ok. I’m going to be real with you right now and I’m well aware that it will not make me look good. But there is a part of me that quite enjoys seeing celebrities fail. Whether it’s marriage breakdowns or public scandals, their creative projects bombing on a grand scale or them simply getting dragged for being socially unaware and generally tone-deaf to the current cultural climate.

Now I don’t generally enjoy basking in the suffering of others. Schadenfreude is a big ugly German word and, I mean, I’m not a psychopath (I know, I’ve done the test). So I’ve been curious about why I derive pleasure from seeing – what are essentially – other human beings fuck up.

I first thought it was the reassuring thought that “celebrities are people too” and they make mistakes. This would then make me feel better about my own mistakes. However, I think this reasoning is far too magnanimous to explain my reactions.

So I started re-evaluating our relationship with celebrities. Generally, they are quite shallow, curated and voyeuristic. Unless we’re close friends with a celebrity, we don’t know that much about them besides the fact they are publicly recognised in their given field, have a large platform through which to communicate and are (probably) wealthy.

Now how do we define/understand the following…?

  • Recognized in one’s given field
  • Has large platform through which to communicate/access resources
  • Wealthy

If you’re anything like me, you might see the former points as a clear representation of objective success. These celebrities are often living, breathing icons of “success”. So when someone successful stumbles, fails or fucks up in some way, it’s almost indicative of the fact that they can’t have it all. They can’t have the success and the happy relationship, or success and the smart kid who gets into college off their own back, or success and a first-class law degree.

This type of objective “success” is seen as its own reward. And a pretty lush one at that. Why should these people need more – when it seems like they have so much already? Perhaps I enjoy their failure (as Scrooge-ish as it seems) because it evens the playing field?

There’s plenty wrong with this way of thinking – enjoying the failure of others is a definite “dick-move” mindset. But it does provide me some insight into my personal insecurities and shortcomings as well as a little perspective on a few issues, namely:

  • The mindset of scarcity, e.g. the more someone else has, the less there will be for me.
  • My personal concept of success, e.g. what does it mean to live a successful life? What do I need in order to consider myself a success?
  • Judgement e.g. why do I react with hostility to other people? What is it about them that makes me feel threatened?

 I’m going to explore these points in some future blogs to see if I can get a little more wise in these departments. Do you ever recognise these issues at the heart of any of your dick-move mindsets? Lmk.  

Why Meditation Sucks

I don’t like meditating. Thinking a lot about everything is possibly my favourite pastime and so when someone says I should meditate it’s kind of like saying to someone who loves to crochet “Don’t crochet. Find time in your day to specifically not crochet.”

When I was a young kid, I remember my dad meditating. I remember thinking it was weird. Fancy being a grown-up and getting to do whatever you want, like buy every single tube of Pringles at the supermarket or drink Creaming Soda every day or ride all the cool rollercoasters – but instead, you choose to just sit down and close your eyes and do nothing.

I learnt meditation when I was around 8, when I started yoga. I was a super anxious kid – my head would often swarm with vivid and horrible imaginings of awful things happening to me and my family – and it used to give me chronic stomach aches. So to calm me down, my mum (who was way ahead of the yoga game) enrolled me in a kid’s yoga class. At the end of each class we were led through a very basic meditation. It involved feeling love radiate from within you like warm sunshine and fill your body, and then flow out your feet and fill the Earth. I liked how it made me feel and often let it play out in my head before going to sleep. But then I remember bringing it up around some primary school friends once and they laughed at me and said it weird. So I stopped doing it after that.

Fast forward to grown-up me, I’ve found myself consistently shocked at how frequently and adamantly most great thinkers in the psychology field insist upon a regular meditation practice. I mean, don’t they have anything better to do? And yet, time and time again, there it is. Just clap meditate clap So I tried picking it up a few times. I didn’t like it. I thought it was boring. It felt difficult most times, confusing other times, and all in all, not particularly useful. So I gave up. I had better things to think about.

Then late last year, I felt myself in a slump. That feeling where you’re being pulled in every direction (mostly from yourself and your own expectations) and I felt swamped and overwhelmed, like my face was wrapped with a wet towel and it was difficult just to breathe. I was mainly concerned with the fact that I felt chronically uninspired. My days seemed to fill up so quickly with meaningless fodder and at the same time I never had time to do things that really mattered to me. I went to my therapist and explained all this to her, and she said to me…

“Have you tried meditating?”

Pls, not this again.

Couldn’t she suggest something else? Like, anything else? When you go to chat to someone about how busy you are and they come at you with the old “Have you tried sitting down and doing nothing”, it’s like “Seriously? No.”

But she explained to me this notion of “creating space”. How the heaving pull of life can feel so stifling and suffocating when we neglect to give ourselves space from it.

I recalled the feeling of the wet towel. I wanted to breathe. So I tried meditating again.

I don’t like meditating. I don’t like cleaning my bathroom either, but when my bathroom is clean I feel good. That’s how I feel after meditating. It clears space in my head and as a result, helps me clear space in my life. It’s helped me become unwound from my wet towel and breathe through soft linen. I am not free of the weight of the world, but it’s no longer suffocating me.

29 Things I Am Still Learning

(Definitely not an exhaustive list.)

  1. 1. People are not thinking about you, they’re thinking about themselves.
  2.  2. You don’t always know what it is that will make you happy, and that’s ok.
  3. 3. Enjoying the simple things doesn’t make you boring.
  4. 4. People who love you don’t love you for what you might be or what you were, but rather for what you are.
  5. 5. What feels the strongest is not necessarily the most true (nicked this one off Brianna Wiest)
  6. 6. The way you think and feel about a situation is not a reflection of any “true reality”, just your own particular brand of reality.
  7. 7. Air-fried chips are still not a “healthy” snack.
  8. 8. You are more than your mind. 
  9. 9. Being happy does not mean giving up on achieving more.
  10. 10. Letting yourself do things you’re not good at is actually really important.
  11. 11. It’s ok to fuck up, as long as you acknowledge it, own it, and learn from it.
  12. 12. You do not need to be exceptionally beautiful or talented or successful to experience the things that make life profound.
  13. 13. When you feel a certain bad way, call it out. It will have less control over you then and you won’t over-identify with it.
  14. 14. Listen and stop talking over people.
  15. 15. If you want to know what someone thinks, ask them.
  16. 16. Models on Instagram are reinforcing your materialistic and superficial values.
  17. 17. When your house plants die, this is in no way a reflection of how capable you are as a human being.
  18. 18. Your younger self wanted different things to what you want now, because they were a different person, with less knowledge & experience.
  19. 19. One day you and everyone you know will die. So don’t chuck a fit over a parking fine.
  20. 20. You’ve accomplished some cool shit in life so far. Acknowledge it.
  21. 21. Ask someone before you pet their dog.
  22. 22. You don’t need to make everyone like you.
  23. 23. No one wants to spend ages in a queue at the grocery store. You’re not special for feeling frustrated. Be patient.
  24. 24. Don’t bother arguing with people on the internet. You won’t change their mind.
  25. 25. Meditating 10min each day is a good use of your time (remember, Bobby Axelrod does it)
  26. 26. You don’t need a character on a television show to do something for you to think it’s a good idea.
  27. 27. Calm the fuck down.
  28. 28. Be nice to people who can do nothing for you.
  29. 29. Sometimes you are a shit driver too.

Brianna Weist and her 101 Essays To Change The Way You Think gave me the inspiration for this list. She has a beautiful way of expressing complex ideas in short, succinct bursts and I found her essays full of wisdom and delicacy.

Don’t tell me to fucking “breathe”

The first time I discovered that my breath might be key to managing my anxiety, I was really fucking mad.

Breathing? Seriously?

I do that already. All the time. Automatically in fact. The idea that something so basic and constant could provide relief for a condition I considered so volatile and overwhelming was almost…insulting. Don’t you think I would’ve worked that out on my own by now?

And yet, there I was. Fritzin’ out my mind. Uneasy about nothing & everything all at once. Wringing hands in the pit of my stomach. Pause. Eyes closed. Attention drawn inward.

Breathing in. 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.


Breathing out. 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.

After a few more of these, something weird happened. Almost like an invisible balm was rubbed somewhere on the most nervous parts of me. And for the moment it brought calm. But not for long. That calm was quickly replaced by embarrassment.

How can breathing be the solution? It’s too easy; too natural – to quell something so complex and unrelenting? It made me feel dumb. And it made my anxiety feel dumb too, and I didn’t like that.

In the following years after this experience, I’ve curiously prodded my strange emotional reactions to it. I mean, fancy being upset when you discover something free, easy and cheap could be a helpful solution to an ongoing problem?

Something I discovered about myself is this need to idolise complexity. I am very quick to discount the simple, easy & accessible. In high-school, I remember feeling like getting married and having a family was literally the most basic and elementary path to life satisfaction – it was what lemmings did, and I wanted more than that. This pattern of thinking was destructive, as it led me to exalt my anxiety, and revere my depression as factors that gave me depth. It didn’t inspire me to go on to do great work or create great things – in fact, it made me resist creating because nothing I produced could ever be profound enough. It shut me off from appreciating the small, simple and wonderful things in life – believing them to be reserved for individuals less ‘enlightened’ than myself – when it turned out that I was the one who truly needed to get woke.

This is something that I’m still teaching myself to un-learn. Confucius served up a zinger when he said “life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” We can spend our whole lives searching for meaning, analysing our own and other people’s thoughts, emotions and behaviours, thinking for so long about so many things that seem so important. It’s still pretty much what I do 95% of my waking life. But now, in the other 5%, I’m forcing myself to breathe.

Welcome to the fun house

We only ever see ourselves, reflected. Through cut glass, charged between lenses, in pixels, by the harbour of a still pool. Our reflections exist in the eyes of others, in the minds and hands and hearts of others. In what we make, in what we build, in what we create.


We can never stand across from ourselves, face to face, in raw flesh, fully flawed & pigmented – and be real.

I’m no master observer to point this out. The reflections metaphor is about as worn as my Apple TV remote. However, I have been thinking about it a lot lately. This quest to reflect ourselves powerfully on the world. Moments of our lives, sought like snapshots for the fulfilment of that dent of triumph, that achievement unlocked, and then onto the next one. The two mirrors in my apartment almost consume me some days, with the illusion that they are the closest I’ll get to knowing myself. In most every action I perform, from folding laundry to making art, I seek confirmation that it reflects back on me as a good wife, friend, employee, tenant, passenger, artist – person. 


It’s difficult to comprehend we exist as more than the sum of our reflections. Even the thoughts in our mind – the place where we consciously make sense of ourselves and our existence – are mere reflections; interpretations, however distorted, of the world around us. Sometimes, I feel like the whirling inside our heads is like a funhouse – stretching, warping, pulling everything out of shape. Insisting it’s showing us truth.


There must be a self that exists beyond the reflection. Perhaps there is a way to access it, or to catch a glimpse. But perhaps it’s not something that can be seen, rather something that must be felt, embodied, like a swallowed flame. I wonder, if it burns.

Why Queen’s New Biopic is No Rhapsody for Young Artists

As a teenager, I was a crazy Queen fan. T-shirts, figurines, DVDs of live concerts and music videos, with obsessive recollection of the track listings of every Queen album. I loved Freddie and his story most of all. I would read bios written by anyone and everyone to learn as much as I could about his journey.
Bohemian Rhapsody does no justice to that journey.
The film is as grandiose, pompous and cliche as a good many Queen tracks but it does a huge disservice to future artists by the way it tells Freddie & the band’s story. There is no suggestion as to how Freddie became a musician, no inkling as to how he grew as a performer. He enters the film as a fully formed superstar destined for stardom and stardom is dutifully delivered. The impression that a talent, voice and presence as immense as Freddie Mercury’s was something ever present tells young artists “you either have it or you don’t” and if you have it, your rise to meteoric fame will be easy. There was no exploration of the struggle, the tireless grind, the growth, obsession and commitment of his story. The part I always found the most interesting and inspiring.
In addition to this, the film expertly paints characters as one-dimensional heroes and villain (guess who’s the hero – spoiler, it’s Queen) and reduces homosexuality to moustaches and a leather-clad gay club montage (no.)
I’m sure my fourteen year old self would have loved the film – the fabulous outfits, the awesome soundtrack, the glossy, vintage glimpse into an epic band’s rise to glory. However, my older, more cynical self sees how destructive representations of success can be in the eyes of young, impressionable creatives. Making Freddie’s journey come off as a “bed of roses” or “pleasure cruise” makes it all the more difficult for people to recognise that effort is an essential ingredient to any success story. Although, if you’d prefer to keep kidding yourself and see rockstars as divine entities with untouched, god-given talents who were always bound for greatness then you might enjoy this film. However, my suggestion would be to go back, listen to their records beginning to end, and let the music speak for itself. That’s Freddie’s true legacy and his story – told when he had the voice to tell it.


NB: If you’re hungry for some musician biopics with a little more grit or insight, some of my favourites are Tina & Ike’s story in Whats Love Got To Do With It, the last days of Brian Jones in Stoned, early Beatles story with Backbeat and The Doors.

More than Sad

I don’t want to call it the black dog. Because I like dogs.
I don’t want to see it as a dark cloud. Because I like clouds.
Most of us know something of depression. Whether we’ve experienced it first hand, or casually seen an ad about it online. But in a conversation I had about it recently, someone admitted “To be honest, I don’t really understand it. It’s being really sad, right? But not really for any reason?”
Our limited understanding and vague concept of depression leave us vulnerable. It makes it hard to see it in ourselves, maybe hard to spot it in others. Yes, sadness is an element of depression, but only one aspect. What needs to be understood is that depression is a disease of the mind, a disorder of perception and cognition – of sensing and thinking. It distorts how we experience the world, so much so that everything we see is filtered through an insidious lens and becomes a mangled and tarnished reinforcement of all the bad stuff we’ve been thinking about. It can be all-consuming and cyclical, it drains ones hope and ones strength, and  just like cancer, the longer it’s left untreated, the more dangerous it is to those experiencing it.
It is more than sad.
Imagine you are wearing dirty glasses. Doesn’t matter how they got dirty – the fact is that now they’re dirty, it’s impossible to see things right. Your friends don’t wear glasses, they can see just fine, but when you’re looking at the same things, you’re  taking it in differently, and because of your glasses, things don’t look as good to you. Now imagine you never learn how to clean your glasses. Imagine you don’t even know you can take them off. They become grubbier and grubbier. The world becomes foggier and uglier. Every little thing becomes hard to do. Every interaction or task, laborious and difficult. You can imagine how a world like that feels hopeless. You can imagine how a future like that looks bleak. With no concept that your glasses are seperate from yourself and removable, your view through the lenses seem to show life as it is. And it’s not a nice view. 
We need to start understanding depression better. As something that is not just “sad” but a gross distortion of how we think about and experience the world – like living life in a dirty pair of glasses. Once we realise that depression is something outside of ourselves, we are more powerful to make changes in order to heal, to know that it’s possible to see the world again in a different way, clearer and brighter.
Remember no one can clean someone else’s glasses for them. A conversation, a call to a counselor, a session with a psych can help but what is also needed is better understanding of depression and mental illness. We need to keep educating ourselves of the risks, the signs and the reality of this disease and that it can look different on everyone. Our best defence is knowledge. There are plenty of resources available online to learn more – about symptoms and about treatment.
And finally we need to keep practicing resilience, even in our strongest moments, because depression and mental illness do not discriminate. They can touch all of us at any time. So let’s keep having conversations about understanding and prevention.
Below I’ve included some of the American Psychological Association’s top ten ways to build resilience. These are for everyone. But, if you feel like you might be experiencing depression, know that you can access treatment at any time. In Aus, your GP will provide you with ten subsidised psych sessions a year (you should use them all and try to find someone you can really talk to). Or you can also access free, self-guided e-therapy online ( – it sounds hokey but it’s really great). Treatment might not work instantly but it’s a good first step. The world doesn’t have to be the world you see through dirty glasses.
The APA’s Top Ten Ways to Build Resilience
Make connections. Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based organizations, or other local groups provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope. Assisting others in their time of need also can benefit the helper.
Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.
Accept that change is a part of living. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.
Move toward your goals. Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”
Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.
Look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality and heightened appreciation for life.
Nurture a positive view of yourself. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.
Keep things in perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.
Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.
Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.
Additional ways of strengthening resilience may be helpful. For example, some people write about their deepest thoughts and feelings related to trauma or other stressful events in their life. Meditation and spiritual practices help some people build connections and restore hope.
The key is to identify ways that are likely to work well for you as part of your own personal strategy for fostering resilience.

The Art of Putting Yourself Down

There is a trend among some to be outspoken and vocal about the parts of themselves they’re unhappy with. The art of the put-down is less fashionable now but I remember, particularly back in high school, when it was the done thing. And I was certainly a master.
Putting myself down around others was an attempt at reasserting my humility. It tried to quash any suppositions of the narcissistic, egotistical aspects of my character that people might have read into. The idea that someone might take me for “loving myself” made me very concerned. I didn’t want to be seen in that way. So the easiest way to express myself was to offer frequent reminders to others that I was less than happy with a great slew of general aspects of who I was.
The acknowledgement and dissatisfaction of certain personal qualities was real. And I’m sure, not unique to me. However, the need to share this in the company of others was not particularly brave and vulnerable. Nor did it act as a great impetus for change.

Constant reinforcement of how crap I thought I was didn’t motivate me to improve.

And sharing it with others merely reconfirmed those insecurities – because even when people would argue back and insist I was wrong, I didn’t believe them anyway.
It’s taken a while, but I have since learned what a dangerous and detrimental behaviour this is (here’s when my nana and dad both roll their eyes because they’d been telling me this for years.) Not only does repeating these self-derogatory notions continue to give them more power and truth in your own mind, but the social expression of these notions also helps build them into your public identity. You become the person who isn’t good enough, the person who is insecure, the person who lacks confidence and dislikes themselves. You can also inadvertently make people feel worse about themselves by putting yourself down – if you’re constantly saying “I’m so fat” or “I’m so ugly” some people will use that benchmark at which to judge themselves. And if they consider themselves less attractive than you – you’ve just indirectly called them fat and ugly (it’s not nice, is it?)
The idea of “self-love” now is very much in vogue, and as much as it’s used as a tool for making us buy more of Rhianna’s new Fenty line and other shit we probably don’t need, it’s a much more healthy and empowering attitude to be encouraging. It reminds you “It’s great to like yourself!” It doesn’t mean you think you’re perfect – but it reinforces positive and adaptive ways of thinking about ourselves that help us develop, grow and flourish.
Next time you ‘re on the verge of negative self-talk – check yourself and see how you can rephrase that thought into something more healthy and useful. Make an effort to remind yourself of THREE THINGS you like about yourself, every time you think about something you don’t (because negative cognitions carry more weight than positive ones). And if someone offers you a compliment, just f*ckin’ take it. Don’t challenge it if you don’t believe it – someone has seen something good in you that they deem worthy of mentioning. Perhaps it might even be true.