hi so tonight im having a particularly tough time feeling okay with myself. do you have any insight/quotes/poems/etc that might help? im so sorry to bother you
Hi. First, you’re not a bother. Second, I can toss out a few links to poetry dealing with various subcategories of the “I’m not feeling okay with myself” vibe, but I can’t really be sure that any of them will encapsulate your feelings exactly; and I’d like to stress that most of mine (unfortunately) work more towards pointing out when I’m not feeling okay and not actually offering sage words of wisdom about coping with it. I still haven’t totally learned to cope with it. I’ve just learned to breathe through it. But sometimes just knowing other people feel what you’re feeling can be comforting.
I think the most helpful thing I’ve learned to do when I’m not feeling good about myself for any number of reasons is to try to treat myself like a child. Like imagine yourself at six years old and then tell me really, would you be saying the same things to yourself? Would you berate a six year old? Call out their flaws? No. You give ‘em a chocolate milk and a blanket and put on a Disney movie. It’s obviously not fool-proof. It’s just a starting point for self care and trying to be kind to yourself.
For general anxiety days, I like to read this quote:
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.” -Anne Lamott
For “Bad Days” I made this “Other People Feel This Too” list that I like to reference.
“oh yes” —Charles Bukowski there are worse things than being alone but it often takes decades to realize this and most often when you do it’s too late and there’s nothing worse than too late.
“I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.” —excerpt from “Eat, Pray, Love”, Elizabeth Gilbert
“Suicide Song” —Tony Hoagland But now I am afraid I know too much to kill myself Though I would still like to jump off a high bridge At midnight, or paddle a kayak out to sea Until I turn into a speck, or wear a necktie made of knotted rope But people would squirm, it would hurt them in some way, And I am too knowledgeable now to hurt people imprecisely. No longer do I live by the law of me, No longer having the excuse of youth or craziness, And dying you know shows a serious ingratitude For sunsets and beehive hairdos and the precious green corrugated Pickles they place at the edge of your plate. Killing yourself is wasteful, like spilling oil At sea or not recycling all the kisses you’ve been given, And anyway, who has clothes nice enough to be caught dead in? Not me. You stay alive you stupid asshole Because you haven’t been excused, You haven’t finished though it takes a mulish stubbornness To chew this food. It is a stone, it is an inconvenience, it is an innocence, And I turn against it like a record Turns against the needle That makes it play.
“Perhaps most of all, though, you deserve to be okay. You deserve to know that a day in which you can just barely get out of bed because you are sad, or sick, or simply not ready to see the outside is not the end of the world. You deserve to know that moments of weakness do not make you fundamentally weak, only fundamentally human, and that sometimes we’re not going to be effusively happy, and that is okay.” —excerpt from “What You Deserve”, Chelsea Fagan
“It’s okay to lock yourself in the medicine cabinet, to drink all the wine, to do what it takes to stay, without staying. It’s okay to hate God today, to change his name to yours, to want to ruin all that ruined you. It’s okay to feel like only a photograph of yourself, to need a stranger to pull your hair and pin you down. It’s okay to want your mother as you lie alone in bed. It’s okay to break, to fuck, to flame, to church, to crush, to knife, to rock, and rock, and rock, and rock, and rock, and rock. It’s okay to wave goodbye to yourself in the mirror. To write, ‘I don’t want anything.’ It’s okay to despise what you have inherited, to feel dead in a city of pulses.” —excerpt from “Letter From My Heart To My Brain”, Rachel McKibbens
"You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts. — You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.” —excerpt from “Tiny Beautiful Things”, Cheryl Strayed
“If you want to kill yourself, kill what you don’t like. Kill narcissus. I had an old self that I killed. You can kill yourself too, but that doesn’t mean you got to stop living.” —quote from “Archie’s Final Project”
“You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend, or a new acquaintance — you don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and continues to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go." —Daniell Koepke
"It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to say no to someone you love. It’s okay to say no to a friend. It’s okay to say no to a parent or child. It’s okay to say no to a job or relationship. It’s okay to say no to sexual advances. And it’s okay to say no to a person who’s romantically interested in you. Even if it hurts someone’s feelings, even if you disappoint people, even if you’re judged and ostracized — it’s okay to say no to anything and anyone that causes you pain or makes you uncomfortable. You’re allowed to put yourself first. You’re allowed to set limits and boundaries. And you deserve to make your happiness and well being a priority. You don’t ever have to settle for something or someone that doesn’t feel right. And you definitely don’t have to compromise yourself for the sake of making other people happy. You have to take care of yourself, and if that means saying no, it’s more than okay." —Daniell Koepke
"The fact that you’re struggling doesn’t make you a burden. It doesn’t make you unlovable or undesirable or undeserving of care. It doesn’t make you too much or too sensitive or too needy. It makes you human. Everyone struggles. Everyone has a difficult time coping, and at times, we all fall apart. During these times, we aren’t always easy to be around — and that’s okay. No one is easy to be around one hundred percent of the time. Yes, you may sometimes be unpleasant or difficult. And yes, you may sometimes do or say things that make the people around you feel helpless or sad. But those things aren’t all of who you are and they certainly don’t discount your worth as a human being. The truth is that you can be struggling and still be loved. You can be difficult and still be cared for. You can be less than perfect, and still be deserving of compassion and kindness." —Daniell Koepke