Monday, April 28, 2008

Self-love

From Jezebel: 25 Things All Women Should Learn to Do. I especially like this one:

"Take yourself personally.Your persistent low self-esteem: how did it get that way? Were you awkward growing up? Not quick or witty enough? Just ugly? Once you gained a shred of confidence, did you blow your wad seeking out companions you knew would make you feel inadequate? Why? Think you're a narcissist? Or just a weak person? Guess what? We're all different. We're all completely individual assemblages of genetic traits and collected experiences. We're all special, which is precisely what makes us so un-special. If you harbor lingering dissatisfaction with yourself, figuring out what it is is a pretty good way to start coming to terms with that."

There's no greater gift you can give yourself than self-acceptance. And getting there takes a little work. That's why I'm glad I've been single for over 3 years. I've learned to be comfortable with myself; I've learned to love being alone. For me, that was essential -- I couldn't figure out why I was such an insecure, self-loathing mess until I realized that I was trying to be someone else. It took letting go of something destructive to realize that I could be happy without sacrificing who I am and what I want.

See, a few years ago, I was in a doomed relationship. I spent all my energy trying to pretend we weren't entirely wrong for each other, something I knew in the back of my mind but ignored from the very beginning. When it ended badly (as doomed love affairs tend to do), it broke me into tiny, painful pieces, and it took me a long, long time to heal. In some ways, I'm still healing -- I don't know that I'll ever get over that first real betrayal, my first heartbreak. But you know what? I wouldn't go back and change anything, as much as it makes me cringe to remember how pathetic I was. I took so much away from that experience, and as cheesy as it sounds, I'm a much stronger person now. If I hadn't gone through that pain, I probably wouldn't have accomplished half of the things I've done since. Once I woke up from the delusion and realized that I was free to be whoever the hell I wanted to be, flaws and all, it allowed me to be creative again, to try new things, to take some chances. Now, most of the time, I actually like myself. Sure, there are still a lot of things I want to work on, but without the constant self-doubt and self-hatred dogging me, I'm a lot better positioned to conquer those lingering demons and bad habits.

So there you have it: doomed relationships have a silver lining! And if there's any advice I can give my brother right now, it's this: don't fight the pain. Let it come, let it suck, because it will. But know that when the worst of it has passed, it's left you with a whole mess of wisdom. It's up to you to sort through that heap o'knowledge and use it for your own good.

1 comment:

Louisiana Belle said...

Seeing the title on my RSS feed, I was a little scared to venture over, lol. Great post, as usual. You are so wise. Some man is going to be very lucky some day.