In the classic book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche, a well-respected figure in the world of Philosophy, wrote one of the most profound quotes in literary history: “…the worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself.” In a few words, he has captured one of the biggest flaws of the human being which is to lead oneself to the road of self-deprecation.
The Free Dictionary defines self-deprecation as the act of reprimanding oneself by belittling, undervaluing, disparaging oneself or being excessively modest. We all know of the common story of how others get bullied by other people but could it be that the real bully that we should protect ourselves from is…ourselves?
RJ, not his real name, recalls his first year in ADDU as one of the darkest moments of his life because he was unhappy with his course:
“Life at the time seemed to be nothing but fraught with sorrow and despair, and no matter how bright the sun would shine nor how graceful the bird would sing, I’d always see the world as this cold and dead place void of any sense of happiness whatsoever.
RJ described himself as a man who was stripped of any sense of pride, love and self-worth. Every time he would make a mistake, he would always result to excessive self-blame and wallow in his self-hatred. He could not find a reason to respect or even love himself. He describes the experience as pointing out a certain pain you can’t quite locate to your doctor; you can only point out that that it does in fact exist.
“I wanted to kill myself that year. Call me weak or a fool, it doesn’t matter. It seems at the time that there was nothing to recourse to but death when one has depreciated him or herself too much. I felt like a plastic water bottle that had ran out of water – worthless and dispensable. So what use was there to holding that bottle for a while longer? Why not just throw it out and be done with it?”
RJ is only one of the many people who have experienced self-bullying. Although the act of it may seem petty and shallow to the eyes of other people, it can already be the start of a dangerous road that can lead to grave consequences in the long run.
Why is it so hard for us to see the good in ourselves? Sometimes we see the good more easily in others. When it boils down to no one but ourselves only to rely on, why do we put ourselves down further?
The danger there is if we become convinced by these recurring voices of self-hatred in our minds. What if our self-judgements of being ugly, stupid, weak actually define our identities then? However, there’s also that possibility of change. We can sulk all day, but can also choose to change, to purge these thoughts, to live better.
Our college courses mould our college life. It will be our late night thoughts; it will be the reason for our headaches; and it will decide our future. It must be of highest importance then that we be satisfied with it. It will be our driving force, the reasonable voice behind our sacrificies. If at some point we realize we’re not happy with our current course, that it is not driving us to study further, to reach for the finish line, then it is not for us. Shifting to another course is difficult, but it will greatly help our self-growth. Yes, our parents might not be exactly happy about our decisions, and shifting may probably extend us another year if done too late, but this is our future here. Temporary struggles are miniscule trade-offs for a brighter future, a future where we’re happier, less self-depressed.
When everything gets out of control, we must always remember that we are in control of the situation and we can do something about it. It’s the little steps we do like facing our problems, n RJ’s case, a wrong course, that matter in the long run. We are only powerless and weak when we think we are. We should learn that when problems arise, we should always pause and reflect on our next move. If it will be helpful, go for it, but if it will be self-destructive then it is not worth thinking of and it is definitely not worth the extra stress.
In case of situations wherein we can no longer think straight due to emotional problems, the University Guidance Office is always open to those who need a helping hand and a little counseling to bring you a new and brighter perspective. Whether be it choosing a better course or making other major life decisions, they are willing to help.
Our thoughts only become bad when we allow them to hurt us. Never let your strengths be overshadowed by your weaknesses because you are perfectly able to save yourself. There is always a bright side to every bad situation and always remember that you are not alone. The people who love you will always be there for you to help you even when you don’t see a reason to love yourself.