I finished a cartoon that I was especially proud of and posted it online. But five minutes later, when the anticipated tidal wave of adoration failed to materialize and knock me out of my chair, I actually started to feel bitter. So I picked my pencil back up and drew this – to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with the world and show everyone just how clever (I think) I am. It (of course) got even less feedback than the first cartoon.
But making it made me feel a little better all the same.
I can make myself pretty unhappy when I allow my self-esteem to be dependent on other people. Feeling validation as a consequence of my own actions (rather than other peoples’ responses) has been a huge part of my struggle to be a mentally and emotionally competent human being. It’s still tough sometimes but – for the first time in my life – it’s possible. I no longer need you to like me, in order for me to like me.