I'm "Thirsty,"And That's Okay

“She thirsty.” This usually refers to a woman who is trying a little too hard to gain the attention of a man she’s interested in. She’s making unwanted advances, desperate to be in a relationship, and it’s not attractive to see.

Well, I have a confession to make.

I’m thirsty.

Wait, here me out. There’s a good explanation for this.

Yes, I blog about relationships and marriage; yes, I’m happily married to a great man with integrity and vision and he’s totally into me.

But I realized that at my core, in my heart of hearts, I don’t have it all together.

 I struggle with low self-esteem. I thought I was just indecisive, fearful, and shy. But this week I was reading an amazing book called "How Successful People Grow" and it hit me: 

People with low self-esteem have negative self-talk. When we mess up, we criticize ourselves harshly, then go over all the things that are wrong with us.

We’re self-protective. So we don’t let people in. Our circle of friends is small. We don’t reach out to people because we don’t want anyone to see our flaws and realize that we’re screwed up and don’t have it all together. We’re sometimes mistaken for being snooty but it’s really us hiding.

We also have a desire for people’s approval. Because we don’t approve of ourselves, we’re “thirsty” for someone to see good in us. When people affirm us, it gives us hope that maybe we’re not so bad after all. And that’s where things get really dangerous.

When you’re thirsty for approval, you end up in situations where you compromise your values in order to keep the person you’re with. So many of us are in unhealthy, destructive relationships because we don’t think we can do better.  Because we have low opinions of ourselves, we limit ourselves to our current situation. It’s like the fly who thinks vinegar is the sweetest place in the world because it’s never been in any other jar.

I think the only reason why I didn’t fall into a dysfunctional relationship is because I encountered a person and discovered that I was a person of value, that my life had a higher destiny than anything I could dream up for myself. I fell in love-with God, my Creator.

No, don’t stop reading. This isn’t a clichéd “I got saved” testimonial.

They say the two most important days in a person’s life is the day they’re born, and the day they figure out why.

When I encountered God, I realized that I was here for a reason. That there was something for me to do that no one else could; and that no matter what I did or didn’t do, no matter my inadequacies, I was loved.

Of course, I have to fight off feelings of inadequacy sometimes.  At times, I find myself doing things for my husband’s approval and then getting mad at him when he doesn’t notice. At times I start to rely on his affirmations too much. There are times when I stall on making decisions because I'm waiting to hear from him that it's the right one. Or when I'm proud of myself for working out for a whole week, then get devastated when he tells me "Rome wasn't built in a day." That’s when I have to remind myself that I can’t live my life looking for other people to pat me on the back, that no matter how many times I mess up, or how far I am from the finish line,  I’m still an awesome person.

So if you’re looking for someone who will love you no matter what, appreciate you, and always see the greatness in you, you have to have to be the first one to do it. As long as you talk down to yourself and think you’re worthless, you’ll keep attracting people who feel the same way, and treat you as such.

If you’re like me, fighting the upward battle against feelings of inadequacy and shame, don’t stop.  The more you affirm yourself, and forgive yourself when you mess up, the easier it becomes to believe in yourself. And when that happens, you stop being so stuck on yourself. You’re able to reach out to other people and pour into their lives by being a blessing to them. 

When you’ve transitioned from being self-absorbed to being a blessing, you’ll attract people who are doing the same things and want the same things out of life as you do.

So, are you thirsty? Male or female, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you recognize it in yourself, and make the commitment to grow into the person you want to be.