My Bipolar II Disorder is rife with periods of elevated mood where I experience grandiosity and high self-esteem. More common though, and existing without any accompanying depressive episode, is low self-esteem, filled with self-deprecation and self-invalidation.
Take this morning. On Twitter (yes, I continue to prefer that name!) a question was asked:
“Tell me something about yourself that sounds made up, but is 100% TRUE!.”@305CountryGirl
I then did something that is atypical of me… I answered:
“I helped save 4 people from drowning in Lake Ontario after their boat had sunk due to a passing speedboat.”@zelandroid009
@305CountryGirl replied that my action was heroic. So too did @medeathewriter who called me a hero.
My response? Self-invalidation. I minimized my action, which is saying a great deal about how I too often view myself.
Yes, I was in the right place at the right time. But so were many, many others who did not hear the cries for help as they zoomed past in their boats. I did hear those cries and I alerted my companions. We stopped our boat and we searched for the source of the cries using flashlights. In time we saw the two adults and two children who were hanging on to coolers to keep afloat. So, we moved alongside them, slowly, and rescued all four.
No passing boat stopped to see what was going on or to offer any aid.
@medeathewriter rightly chastised me for minimizing my action. She said:
“many people don’t act to get that involved! it’s a big deal in my opinion”@medeathewriter
I paused for a moment to consider her remarks. For those four people, the good fortune of my hearing their cries of distress, the simple action of my alerting my companions, and our concerted action to search and rescue them, are noticeably big deals!
Why then, am I minimizing this?
Simply, I far too easily view myself as wanting. I too often view myself as being unworthy. In part this is the legacy of a childhood where criticisms were frequently disguised as compliments. It is also the legacy of too much time living with depression, a mood that is all too familiar to me. Depression robs you of so much, not the least of which is your self-validation. In time, self-invalidation and self-deprecation become the norm.
The truth is, I am not wanting, I am not unworthy. The truth is, I am worthy of self-validation.
My tweet is one hundred percent true. I helped save the lives of four people, two adults and two children, and it is time for me to stop minimizing that truth, just as it is time for me to stop minimizing the value in the volunteer work that I undertake to help others.
I do not seek accolades, not at all. But there is no reason I should not take pride in these actions for they are about serving the needs of others. I did just that those many years ago on Lake Ontario and I do it again today.
It is time to end self-invalidation and embrace self-validation.
Thank you @medeathewriter for chastising me.
Image by Corinne Behrens from Pixabay