Well, if you’ve been keeping up with my 30-Day Self-Esteem Challenge then you’re probably wondering how everything ended up. At the beginning of July, I wrote my first post and said, “I want to wake up each day ready to work towards my goals, no matter how big or small they are, and I want to go to bed each night feeling peaceful and confident that I gave the day my best. I want to find the good in bad situations and face the bad things in life without desperation. I want to feel better about myself, my scars, and my story, and I want to learn to use my “bad” qualities to help not only myself but to also raise IBD and ostomy awareness, help others in situations similar to my own, and help create a stigma-free environment for future patients and their peers.
Looking back over the past month, I can confidently say that I feel good about my journey. I realized the truth in the saying “success happens when preparation meets opportunity” and I embraced the realization that sometimes you have to create your own opportunities. I learned that all of the bad qualities I listed about myself in that first post are really not so bad after all – so long as they are “practiced” in moderation. But most importantly, I realized that I’d succeeded at my original, root goal: to have higher self-esteem.
Now when I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t pick out my physical flaws. Instead, I note the things that I think are nice, such as my hair or how my outfit flatters my figure. If I feel a negative thought surfacing, I squash it and replace it with something positive. The same goes for the way I talk to myself. I now try to eliminate negative vocabulary from my thought stream. Instead of being upset with myself for not giving 100% during a particular workout, for example, I just say, “I’m glad I at least did something today and I’ll do better tomorrow.”
I’ve also become more comfortable with my ostomy. I am now much less concerned about whether or not other people can see it through my clothing. The truth of the matter is, most people are probably not even paying attention; they’re wrapped up in their own world. And if someone does notice the bottom of my pouch or its outline, then SO WHAT? My ostomy gave me back my life – where is the shame in that?