Frustrated by really low self-esteem

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2006
Frustrated by really low self-esteem
39
Sun, 10-24-2010 - 9:32pm
Hello: I've posted before but a very long time ago. I'm just a few months from turning 30 and just feel really low. I'm grateful for my temp job but it is coming to an end this week. I'm craving a full-time position already and preferably in my field (law - attorney). I'm terribly lonely right now which is funny because I've been alone virtually all my life and up to this point, it never bothered me. I know part of my lonesome feeling comes from the fact that all my friends are out-of-state. It's been next to impossible to make new friends in my home state that I've moved back to. I have gone out to young professionals events and I enjoy them. I've met people here and there but it's hard for me to get to know people better and meet up other times. Given that I can't drive much at night, it's difficult to go out Friday and Saturday nights. Oh sure, I've taken plenty of cabs and trains but with limited money, I can't do this all the time. Consequentially, I am unable to accept invitations to join people at different places or events. Yes, I know that I can try getting rides from people...but I don't like being a burden all the time. And I've found that very few people are understanding of situations like mine at least in my life. I accept my life as is and even see benefits from the challenges I face (i.e. it's made me a very tolerant non-judgmental person with a lot of compassion for others and I don't take much for granted). But in the past few years, as I've gotten older and in the "marriageable" age, I've just felt so alone. I have gone out on a few first dates but they never go beyond the first date. Between my very crooked teeth, which makes me embarrassed to open my mouth and smile and a crooked spine (untreated scoliosis), I just don't feel very attractive. Oh sure, I have gorgeous green eyes which I get lots of compliments for but I'm not as pretty as my twin. She makes heads turn. I, on the other hand, seem to repel people. And everytime people see my picture (even of me all dressed up, jewelry, makeup and all), guys or their parents outright reject me. I've tried OLD and it's been quite interesting. Everytime someone expresses interest in me, I accept, and then they reject me. It's like, why do they express interest in me in the first place? I've since given up on this one site that's actually very popular within my culture. Between how I feel about my physical appearance (none of which can be fixed without money at the moment) and how my vision issues even impair my ability to get out and about, I just don't feel attractive. Then again, how can I feel attractive when I've been rejected nonstop? Seriously, every guy or their family has rejected me without even first getting to know me! Just based on my appearance! I'm normally optimistic but feel very pessimistic these days and I know negative energy won't attract happy positive people. My sister keeps telling me my personality is what counts, not what field I'm in (in my Indian culture, only medical, pharmacy, engineer, IT fields are acceptable to parents). But she's in one of the Indian acceptable fields so she doesn't see how people like myself are treated. And yes, I know, I should try dating outside of my culture but have no clue how I'd go about doing that given that it's hard for me to get out and about. I can't even begin to describe how much it hurts to be rejected by my own community again and again. And what's worse is that my culture is so narrow-minded that any slight imperfection like wearing glasses is very much intolerable. So I know that they would never accept me given my vision issues. Even when growing up, I recall people making rude/curious comments about how high my prescription is and wearing contacts at a young age. I keep telling myself that I'm better off without those people anyway as I don't want to be with narrow-minded people to begin with. But it still hurts. If I'm honest with myself, I know that I've felt alone and lonely ever since my sister started dating her boyfriend more than a year ago. Gut instinct tells me they will get engaged in a year or so. I'm happy for her but also jealous. I wonder why she was able to meet him on her own in real life without OLD? At a bar of all places! He's everything I'm looking for and as would be my luck, even she admits he's perfect for me. My parents keep saying that I should try OLD or that they'll put personals ads in our cultural magazines for me. Even they think that's the only way I'll ever find someone. Even they know I'll never meet someone on my own in real life. I just feel so unwanted and unloved. Why is it that everyone else in my life can meet each other on their own but I can't? I introduced two people to each other and they've been dating for more than 6 months now! And the girl was unemployed at that time as well! Why is it that some people have all the luck and others like me have absolutely horrible luck? With just 4 months left until I turn 30, I'm convinced that I will be alone forever while everyone else in my life gets the happiness I've always dreamed of - marriage and a family of their own. I wish I didn't feel that way but there are no indications right now that things will change in my favor anytime soon. Without evidence to the contrary, there seems little reason to believe or hope otherwise. Sorry this was so long - I've really been so stressed and upset about this.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2006
Mon, 10-25-2010 - 10:04am

hey, benilaw; it's nice to hear from you again. sometimes it seems like everything comes together or falls apart all at once, doesn't it? i want you to try something for me. when you start to feel down on yourself, stop, take a deep breath, and then for every negative thing that you believe about yourself i want you to think of either one positive thing about yourself or one thing that you're grateful for. write them down in a journal, if you want to, so that you can use it for reference when you need to. it is very, very easy to let negative thoughts snowball so you have to work at breaking the cycle. it's also easy (and probably human nature) to feel sorry for yourself; it is much harder to practice gratitude.

you are a very intelligent woman who unfortunately had to grow up under the influence of a culture that does not value females for anything other than looks (my best friend is half-indian and she has agonized over many of the same things as you). if you choose to become a doctor or engineer, you might be sort of accepted, but because you're a woman you'll always be second-class. men are everything and women are nothing. it is backwards BS but it's how you were raised, and you can choose to follow in your culture's footsteps and pass along the same nonsense to your daughters (yes, you will have them; don't worry), or you can figure out what YOU want and

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2006
Mon, 10-25-2010 - 11:20pm
thanks for your message. I hate feeling down about myself although it's usually only during monthly hormonal joy as I call it. I am so incredibly irritable during that time and I know part of my post stemmed from that moodiness I experience during this time. Despite feeling so negative about myself and virtually every aspect of my life, I can honestly list a lot of positive things about myself and have even done so in the past. Yet, despite looking at such a list, I see/hear more of the negative rather than the positive. In case you're wondering the list is this: in terms of my appearance - gorgeous green eyes that people always believe are a result of colored contacts (nope!), high metabolism that most Americans would envy in terms of who I am - kind, considerate, thoughtful and caring, generous, fairly non-judgmental, simple and far from materialistic. Unfortunately, those things seem not to count. I think you're right - I have grown up in a very negative environment. And though I don't want to believe the things I wrote yesterday, it's the only message I ever get. I'd welcome a different message from within my culture. Despite how they treat me, I very much value my culture and my religion and these things are very important to me. That's why I'm struggling to accept the reality that I'll either be alone for life or end up with someone outside of my culture. As far as gratitude goes...every single day I say thanks for each day and for the miracle that came my way as a result of going to law school (vision issues somewhat corrected). For now, I'm also grateful that I'm working (albeit temping).
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2006
Tue, 10-26-2010 - 8:43am

you're welcome. i'm glad that you've already come up with a list of positives and things that you're grateful for. i sort of thought that the culprit could be the negative messages that you got from your upbringing. unfortunately, culture is somewhat entrenched in us and we can't change our roots. however, you can make the conscious decision to take what you value about your culture and religion and make it work for you, so that you can go in a different direction that is what you want and not what your parents want (or think they want) for you. in other words, you can either be a passive sheep, and follow your culture/religion in its entirety (good and bad) and let it tell you how to think and how to act, or you can be your own active shepherd and take only the things that you value to make your own 'individual culture'. i was raised jewish, but as i've gotten older i've realized how misogynistic judaism is and i've chosen not to follow the religion anymore. however, most of my family is still jewish, so i have to respect their choices. the things that i value about judaism are their code of conduct (ten commandments) and their beautiful ancient language, but the way they [don't] value women is the deal-breaker for me. what about you? what do you like/dislike about your religion?

Avatar for firstglimpse
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Tue, 10-26-2010 - 7:11pm

I, too, was raised in a religion which is male dominated. In their belief a woman cannot even make it to the highest degree of their heavenly kingdom without a man calling her forth.




"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2006
Tue, 10-26-2010 - 9:32pm
What do I like/dislike about my religion (Hinduism)? What a thought-provoking question. What I don't like about my religion is the way women are treated. More and more, I keep noticing that it's a religion where men tell women what to do. It annoys me that women are required to make all the sacrifices for their husbands such as fasting once a week (most women of my mom's generation actually adhere to this but not her sister). However, men don't have to do the same for their wives. So that is one tradition I don't subscribe to and don't think I would in the future (although after marriage, that might change!). What do I like about my religion? Hmm. I think I actually need to think about this one. I like the fact that we don't have to go to temple any one specific day as in Christianity. It's more voluntary and of our own free will and on our own time so no need to feel guilty about not going every week the way my Christian friends feel about missing church. I enjoy our holidays (our biggest one is about to come up next week). I like the fact that just about every tradition has a religious principle behind it, rather than non-stop commercialization the way Christmas and Easter are (although, with globalization, I'm noticing lots of Diwali and Navratri sales so that is slowly changing). Example - kids get money from Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, during Diwali and it's based on the principle that God takes care of us and gives us money. Although I don't like the over-emphasis placed on the math/science professions by my culture, I am proud that my culture values education (frankly, Americans should really take a page from them) and still teaches the importance of respecting elders and showing deference to them (again, this is something lost in American culture).
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2006
Tue, 10-26-2010 - 10:20pm
I do yoga, though not as often as I guess I should. I don't know if I'd call it night blindness...the issue is lack of depth perception, making it very difficult to judge distance easily (like how far/near cars are from me). It's tough during the day as well. It's for my safety and everyone else's safety that I avoid driving longer distances at night (but I still try to push myself to drive even a mile or two further than in the past). It's been a painful decision to make but in my heart, I know it's the right thing to do. For the most part, I'm okay with it (I can take trains to work). Where the challenge rises though is the ability to go out, meet people, etc. It's easier to do that in a city than when you live in the burbs. I don't entirely regret choosing my profession. More like the timing of it (although apparently in a few years there is going to be a demand). It's actually in my blood - my great-grandfather, my great-uncle and now me. I've heard often that when you stop thinking about it, that's when things happen. It's funny, but I actually never thought about dating until after I graduated from law school. Well, let me clarify. I never really thought about it in college but always thought that I would be engaged somewhere around 25-26 years of age. Even in law school, I didn't think too much about dating even as classmates were dating each other. As in college, I stayed focused on school. In that sense, it is somewhat my fault that I've never been in a relationship. I never sought one...until now. I always thought that eventually I'd meet someone so I was never worried or stressed out over being single back then. But it's because I've never been in a real relationship that I don't really believe the old saying that it happens when you don't think about it. I never thought about it before and it never happened! Yep - at the heart of it, my feelings on this matter comes from the fact that my sister has all that I want. In the grass is green on the other side mentality, she is envious of me for the one thing that I do have...professional degree and license to practice. Go figure! Your sister sounds a lot like mine! And it just scares me so much that gut instinct is telling me that she'll be engaged this year or next (she keeps telling me she wants to break up with him but they are actually talking about getting engaged). It's not just because I'm older (two minutes sometimes feels more like two years). It's like when that happens, I'll be the old maid. I've been alone virtually all my life but I am only human and it turns out, even I need some human interaction/connection. I'm not a hermit - I'm very used to doing things by myself including going out myself. I have no qualms over eating alone in public, watching a movie at a theater by myself. I just feel that it would be more fun to have someone in my life to share those experiences with. It's not fun being alone all the time. I would love to get my mind off the fact that I'm alone and lonely...it's kinda hard when you're surrounded by other couples all the time (twin, cousins, friends, etc.). I just don't know how to put the focus on myself. Advice on how to would be welcome.
Avatar for firstglimpse
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Wed, 10-27-2010 - 1:05pm

I guess the first place is thinking how to promote yourself. One thing in your profession is how tough it is to get 'in' somewhere. What are some uniques ideas on how to promote yourself? When I first moved to this state I needed a new job as a web designer. Before getting here, 10 years ago, I found out about these monthly socials for the web community - first one was 2 days after I moved. So I made up some business cards (printed at home!) and was able to figure out how to get a very short, but intriguing resume on this tiny card. People were impressed and I got a lot of calls.

Is there something you're really proud of in your profession? Could you start a website set up in a style of press releases of your achievements?

I've heard at many companies are now doing Internet searches & looking at Face Book pages of employee prospects. If you have a good Internet background you're more likely to get the job. I find it offensive, but if you are in need of a job, then I guess you need to play the game, eh?

I wonder ... if being a lawyer makes you a strong person in general? I can sort of see how that may intimidate Indian males & their families. You should not be who you are not - but maybe you need to look for stronger men? I know one guy my H worked with & it was appalling. His wife worked more hours than he did, bring home more money & yet he'd come into work complaining when her dinner was




"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2006
Fri, 10-29-2010 - 9:45am

i think that religion/spirituality is

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2006
Mon, 11-01-2010 - 11:19pm
Yes, of course I know how to flirt (although apparently I don't do it so well). I am a very strong person and I know that my being an attorney can definitely make me appear intimidating. I'm so NOT the stereotypical docile, subservient woman of my culture. I don't always speak my mind but then again, I don't always stay quiet either. While I certainly am in some ways traditional for my culture (respect for elders, religious, serve others, somewhat conservative in how I think or do stuff, etc.), there are some things that I don't agree with and certain things like a man or his family trying to control me or dominate me would be the dealbreaker. I believe in compromise and more balance of power rather than one person controlling everything (the important stuff like money) and the other person being controlled and doing all the chores for that person. I'm a loving and caring person but I definitely don't see myself as the type to serve her husband (seriously, my cousin-in-law younger than me actually serves her husband his dinner even though nobody does that here) hand and foot. That's just not right to me and it's a setup for the other person to be lazy, spoiled, and take the partner for granted. I have seen this first-hand and my mom always laments on what a mistake she made in spoiling my dad. And yet, I've always thought I'd marry someone within my culture. It makes the most sense and is certainly easier (then again, we are starting to seem like one big country around the world with globalization) in some ways. Sigh. What's a girl to do? I don't know, maybe I should stop looking for people within my culture and be more open to others outside my culture who can actually feel secure around a highly educated woman (someone should really tell young women in my culture that too much education is apparently a turnoff and a bachelor's in engineering/sciences is better than a professional degree - other than MD or Pharm D of course!). In a sick twisted way, I feel as though I'm competing with my sister...and if she marries her boyfriend, he'll be the favorite son-in-law - he's Indian-American like us and his family is from my parents' home state and our families are in the same caste and subcaste. People would be envious of my parents for such a match. I just don't know...and I wish I could stop thinking so much about this. I know there are worse things in life than being perpetually single...but it's hard when marriage is a big business in your culture even when you live in the country where divorce is a big business. I have joined young lawyers division and because I feel so strongly that we need more of a political voice for South Asians, I've gotten involved in our South Asian Bar Association (in fact at one event, one girl lamented we would all have to marry each other since we're the rejects in the South Asian community). My facebook profile is super clean (the good thing about inability to go out much is that you can't be caught in undesirable acts) and my privacy settings are as tight as possible. Here's one good thing about my self esteem...it's not so low that I accept every "friend" request. If you were mean to me in high school, why would I want you to be my friend on FB now? So I look popular? Who cares? Better to have a small number of high quality friends then to have a large number of fake superficial friends.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2006
Mon, 11-22-2010 - 11:36pm

looks like I lost my message that I was typing. I've been rejected yet again. This time, the guy/his family thinks I'm too short! Agreed, 5'2 and 5'11 is definitely awkward but it would be nice to get to know someone rather than get an automatic outright rejection. Talk about judging a book by its cover! I think I'm finally ready to take a hint and just give up on ever finding someone at least within my culture. I don't think my fragile heart can take any further rejection and I'm tired of being stomped on. I always dreamed that I would get married within my culture because that makes the most sense.

But I think it's time to face reality and just move on. Either I'll end up perpetually alone and single or I'll end up with someone outside my culture, which is starting to become more commonplace (ironically, I'm more "Indian" than American in terms of how I think/act so you would think these people would actually want me) even among my family. My parents won't accept it but it's my life. I've tried finding people within my own culture to date and at almost 30, it's time to accept that this will probably never happen for me and my only chance of finding anyone to share my life with in any way will be outside my culture. I've had some first dates within my culture but that's about it (and mostly H-1 B guys and that's not very stable to begin with). It hurts but then again, I'm better off without these people. If they are all that narrow-minded so as to be so picky over superficial, shallow things such as height or wearing glasses (SO many girls within my culture get LASIK surgery for this reason - no joke. Unfortunately, I don't qualify for this), then I guess I should be glad to not be associated with them. Call it sour grapes but frankly, I really have low tolerance for such prejudice/narrow-mindedness judging.

I really hate the holidays. Even though it's not my holiday, our family still gets together and of course, I look like the loser. Twin is in a relationship, cousin is engaged, his brother's wife is expecting, other cousin is married and his sister will probably get married before me (she's beautiful, outgoing, vivacious, gregarious, etc.). Sad thing is I used to be very outgoing and gregarious myself but over the years, I lost that part of myself after all the horrible teasing/harassment I've dealt with. Not to mention that my parents never wanted me to be with them whenever I wore glasses instead of contacts (they said it was to protect me but cmon, I'm not dumb). How exactly am I supposed to feel loved, wanted, accepted with that kind of message growing up? I'd love to stay optimistic and hopeful but what's the point. Everytime I try, I get hit with a rejection. Maybe if I'm more pessimistic, I might get the opposite (and yes, I know that is optimistic thinking!). I don't like being negative but I'm not seeing any reason to stay positive. I keep getting reasons to be negative, pessimistic, hopeless.

Thanks for letting me vent!

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