The “Looking-Glass Self”

Learning to Put Yourself First By Brave Anonymous

Story Contains

During sophomore year of college, I found myself in many toxic friendships. These “friends” would doubt my abilities in school and would jokingly call me “stupid”, as I was struggling to adjust to UW’s curved grading system since freshman year. At the time, I would just laugh and brush these comments off. However, I was growing increasingly unhappy as time went on, which affected my performance in school. My parents became more and more disappointed in my academic performance and I became distant with my true friends as I tried to spend more time studying. My life became this ruthless cycle of performing poorly in school but not being able to improve because I was constantly dealing with toxic friends and strict parents, and all the while pushing away my true friends who actually cared about me. My mental health was deteriorating, and I could not seem to escape this nightmare. I blamed myself for what was happening. By the end of sophomore year, my mental health reached an all-time low as I was stuck in a pit of self-loathing and low self-esteem. However, this all changed in junior year when I just happened to enroll in an intrapersonal communications class because I needed to fulfill my VLPA credits.

In this course, I learned about the “looking-glass self,” which is a concept where other people’s opinions of you influence the opinions you have about yourself. Although this concept seemed deceptively simple and obvious, I was not aware that I had been doing this until now! I realized that surrounding myself with people who did not believe in me led me to not believe in myself. I knew the answer was to cut ties with negative influences and reconnect with people who truly cared about my well-being. Cutting ties with people was not an easy thing to do, but for once, I decided that it was time to put myself and my mental health first. I recognized how important happiness and self-worth are in being healthy and successful in life.

Rekindling relationships with friends and family, of course, made me happier but it also made the people around me happier, thus strengthening our relationships even further. In particular, my relationship with my family is as strong as it has ever been and has allowed me to appreciate family in a way that I was never able to do before. Learning to work past people who put me down has made me a stronger person and has allowed me to realize that surrounding myself with a support group is invaluable to my mental health, happiness, and success.

During sophomore year of college, I found myself in many toxic friendships. These “friends” would doubt my abilities in school and would jokingly call me “stupid”, as I was struggling to adjust to UW’s curved grading system since freshman year. At the time, I would just laugh and brush these comments off. However, I was growing increasingly unhappy as time went on, which affected my performance in school. My parents became more and more disappointed in my academic performance and I became distant with my true friends as I tried to spend more time studying. My life became this ruthless cycle of performing poorly in school but not being able to improve because I was constantly dealing with toxic friends and strict parents, and all the while pushing away my true friends who actually cared about me. My mental health was deteriorating, and I could not seem to escape this nightmare. I blamed myself for what was happening. By the end of sophomore year, my mental health reached an all-time low as I was stuck in a pit of self-loathing and low self-esteem. However, this all changed in junior year when I just happened to enroll in an intrapersonal communications class because I needed to fulfill my VLPA credits.

In this course, I learned about the “looking-glass self,” which is a concept where other people’s opinions of you influence the opinions you have about yourself. Although this concept seemed deceptively simple and obvious, I was not aware that I had been doing this until now! I realized that surrounding myself with people who did not believe in me led me to not believe in myself. I knew the answer was to cut ties with negative influences and reconnect with people who truly cared about my well-being. Cutting ties with people was not an easy thing to do, but for once, I decided that it was time to put myself and my mental health first. I recognized how important happiness and self-worth are in being healthy and successful in life.

Rekindling relationships with friends and family, of course, made me happier but it also made the people around me happier, thus strengthening our relationships even further. In particular, my relationship with my family is as strong as it has ever been and has allowed me to appreciate family in a way that I was never able to do before. Learning to work past people who put me down has made me a stronger person and has allowed me to realize that surrounding myself with a support group is invaluable to my mental health, happiness, and success.

Brave Anonymous

This story was created by someone and published anonymously under the Brave Expressions profile.

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