So, everyone seemed to really like the Take Back What's Yours interviews on the blog but I haven't posted one recently! I've got so many already conducted and in my drafts ready to post so I'm happy to say they're back and I know everyone who is going through some of the topics discussed will really find them helpful, motivational and inspiring so I cannot wait to post them all!
Today's interview is with Chichi who has an amazing blog which covers a whole range of topics from fashion and beauty, to travel and lifestyle! I've included her links at the bottom so please say hi to her and check out her links!
Let's get into the interview!
Hi Chichi, tell me a bit about yourself!
I am 22 years old, I'm from London and I am a full-time university student. In my spare time I write for a few blogs and online magazines, and I run my own blog.
What do you blog about?
My blog is called Trends, Style & Features (I'm in the process of changing the name to Trends, Comment & Style.) It's about fashion, lifestyle and beauty trends. I am trying to branch out into posting about other topics, such as my opinions and comments on current affairs, society and politics.
What inspires you in life?
I feel inspired by people who have been able to achieve all the things they wanted to achieve in life, and I feel inspired by people – friends, bloggers, actresses, singers, authors, etc – who have overcome adversity and are now able to achieve what they want. If shows me that regardless of whatever one's been through in life, you can overcome it and go on to live a great life and (realistically) achieve what you want.
What keeps you motivated?
My goals and ambitions. From a young age I've always had goals and ambitions and these keep me motivated and keep me going. I tend to throw myself into things and I work really hard.
What is your proudest achievement either in life or the blogging world?
In life so far, I'd say getting into university despite the obstacles standing in the way and moving away for it. I feel as though moving away for university had really changed me for the better and has helped to aid me in personal development. Even though I have had some bad moments I am so glad I came to university. I am enjoying my experience here and I will be so sad when it ends!
In the blogging world, I can't think of anything spectacular! However I would say I'm so glad I started blogging (I started my blog in November 2013 and now I blog regularly) and having a blog has helped me to create a portfolio and get opportunities in writing for other blogs and magazines. I hope to gain some more opportunities through my blog.
What is your experience with self-esteem?
From a very young ago I had no self-esteem. As a child I was quite timid and sensitive anyway, but there were certain events in my childhood that occurred and these events had an extremely detrimental effect on myself, my life and my well-being. I was constantly judged, dehumanised and degraded. People would always go out of their way to put me down and make me feel bad about myself. I have even experienced this since moving away to university. Unfortunately when people put you down you start to believe in all the negative stuff. I always felt a massive sense of misery, and I felt as though my whole life would be total doom and gloom. At times I thought I had a bleak future.
I spent my childhood lacking in confidence. I could never feel good about myself. I completely loathed myself. I spent my childhood feel hopeless and worthless. I always felt a sense of learned helplessness, weakness and lack of control. I always felt guilty and full of shame. I had an inferiority complex and I thought I was a massive failure. I thought that if people treated me badly then it was all my fault.
I always had a very negative image of myself and a lot of negative thoughts, and that's pretty much how I lived my life for the first 19-20 years or so.
How has it changed and impacted your life?
At times I found I had self-destructive tendencies. Also, I struggled to be assertive and confident, and this has affected a lot of aspects of my life, such as how I relate to people and completing simple tasks such as answering the phone. Assertiveness was something I had always struggled with (even at university) because even though I believe in sticking up for yourself I realised that a lot of people hated that about me, so sometimes it's 'easier' to be passive and go along with things so you don't 'rock the boat,' but that's not like me because naturally I am a defensive person.
I ended up having little to no self-esteem because of a lot of negative experience in childhood so I find I cannot trust people, I am quite distant sometimes and I don't like to let my guard down because I worry people will make assumptions and try to take advantage.
When did you realise your low self-esteem was impacting your life and how did you feel about it? Was there a trigger that set it off?
There wasn't a particular defining moment, but I always knew that something was not right about myself. I'd have moments where things would build up and build up then I'd explode. I would look at myself in the mirror and I just hated myself. My mind was so full of negative thoughts and these thoughts were having a detrimental impact on my mental and physical health. I couldn't bring myself to feel positive and I'd feel so tearful.
Eventually I realised that things had to change, because I knew that if I didn't deal with this then I would continue to suffer in adulthood and I didn't want that. I wanted my life to change and I wanted to change too. I wanted to start having relatively normal experiences and I wanted to start enjoying life but I knew that I couldn't do that with low self-esteem because it would always continue to be a barrier.
How are you coping with it?
I'm coping a lot better now, especially since I had therapy. My mindset is slowly changing. I am (slowly) building up confidence and assertiveness. I don't hate myself anymore and I don't see myself in a negative way. I feel confident and I feel as though I can hold my own in a situation now. I can now do daily tasks like answering the phone or putting in an order at a coffee shop without feeling bad. I find I speak a lot clearly now and I can make face-to-face contact. I try to think positive now. I feel as though I have found the strength to just be myself.
What kind of support did you seek or did you keep it to yourself?
I've had CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). At times I found it a bit unhelpful (a lot of my issues are deep-rooted) but I learned a few techniques on how to recognise negative thinking patterns and how to counteract them.
Do you feel like the media are doing enough to help people who suffer from low self-esteem?
Not really. I feel as though there is a sense of irony in the media and in society in general – there is a massive expectation for people to have high self-esteem and confidence but I don't see anything in the media about how to have higher self-esteem and confidence.
I also think that societal attitudes need to change. I feel as though assertiveness (especially in women) is often seen as a bad thing. In my experience a lot of people hated the fact that I could stand up for myself and stay true to myself and my beliefs and values. I guess some people prefer passiveness, because it is easier to bring someone down to their lowest ebb if they are passive.
Even though I have become a lot more assertive, confident and self-assured I still find that people view these traits as a bad thing, even at university, so I think people's mentality need to change, and society needs to change. Having assertiveness, confidence, the ability to stand-up for yourself and the ability to remain self-assured are not negative traits, and these traits don't make a person 'aggressive'. I think that maybe some people don't like these traits because if a person is assertive then it's a lot harder to keep them 'in their place' if that makes sense. I think we live in a culture where we build people up and bring them down and assertiveness and confidence counteract that sort of behaviour.
What are your top tips for anyone living with low self-esteem?
I used to assume that people with high self-esteem were born with it, but it is not something you're born with, it's something you can learn to have. If you struggle with low self-esteem then I suggest having CBT to help deal with this. Also, I've heard that self-help books and online resources are supposed to be really effective too.
Don't suffer with it, do something about it, because having low self-esteem can really hold you back in life.
Thank you for taking part in this Take Back What's Yours interview, Chichi! I know people who are going through something similar will really appreciate your honesty and advice. I love blogger interviews because it lets readers know they aren't alone or different from feeling a certain way...a lot of people are in the same boat!
If you'd like to check out Chichi's links, I've included them below!
If you're interested in the Take Back What's Yours campaign, there are so many ways to get involved!
If you want to take part in the Take Back What's Yours Challenge, head over to the website here!
If you'd like to be interviewed on topics such as Chichi's or anxiety, bullying, health issues or anything at all you feel could be inspiring to readers, send me an email and I'll get back to you ASAP!
Get in touch!