My best-friend and I tend to disagree about fairytales every time they are brought up.
As a recovering, hopeless romantic I find them detrimental. As a normal human being she finds them cute. Typical in our friendship.
As a child I grew up feeling totally lost. I didn’t know who I was or what I was suppose to be doing. I felt like I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. I always asked my parents a question at the exact the wrong moment, when they were in the middle of a huge project. I was always too emotional or too sensitive.
There was too much of me, period. I didn’t know how to cope with being myself.
I was born with a brain that works overtime at bothering me. It’s like a never ending machine that continually churns up thoughts about how I am not good enough or how I need to change.
I don’t remember ever having a thought that I was good enough past age of four.
Today, I understand that circumstances brought on at a young age affected how I viewed my worth. They affected how I viewed the world and how I viewed my relationship with other people. These instances caused me to grow up too fast.
I saw movies and fairytales of women in distress being rescued by a man. Well, that was me. I was in distress. I needed rescuing.
The prince in shining armor was an escape for me. I thought I could be rescued. This led me to more unfortunate circumstances—settling for relationships that just reinforced my belief that I not good enough.
I didn’t know any better. I did the best with what I had at the time. And at that time it was not much. I didn’t have any real independent women as role models who were confident and self-assured. I was surrounded by the type of women who were obsessed with looking perfect to the outside world. This is what I was taught as a young girl.
I must look perfect and be rescued by a man.
I didn’t know any better.
But I wish I could of had a better example of a woman in distress who never felt good enough and realized that the only one that could save her is herself.
I guess I am lucky to be young and know this, though I feel like it took me a million years to have this etched into my heart, even when I knew it in my mind.
I am the only person who can save myself.
What does that even mean?
To me it means that everything in life is ephemeral, fleeting, it will leave. People, places, relationships, these things are all fallible and changeable. Being a control freak as a child, the thought of change and people leaving was the worst thing in the world. I thought the world was over when a friend was no longer a friend or a boy no longer liked me.
My fear of abandonment was sky high because I relied on these people to fill me with self-esteem. If they left, I was nobody. My mom left when I was young, leaving me with abandonment issues. I am overly dramatic, anxious and everything affects me a little deeper.
I lived my life waiting for a prince to come and sweep me off my feet.
Time and time again I was let down and my self-worth went deeper into the ground. I was attracting men who felt the same way about me as I felt about myself.
I self-esteem classes should be taught to young girls in school. I feel like it would save a lot of money in the long run.
Considering how much money I have spent on therapy, doctors, groups and self-help books.
All I needed was to learn to love myself.
And it sounds extremely simple when I put it into one little sentence like that, but it is a lifelong journey that many people never even scratch the surface of because they feel unworthy. I still have days when I go back into old patterns of thinking that I’m not good enough. They don’t last long, but they are still there. And thank god they are, because I am not perfect, nor will I ever be and it keeps me on this path of bettering myself.
Along with learning to love myself I had to extricate old beliefs about who I was and what my place in the world was. I had to deal with shame and guilt. I had to feel my self-hate in order to let it go. I had to reteach my brain that I’m a good person, because for a long time I didn’t believe I was.
I found Louise Hay an inspiration on my journey to self-love.
We have similar stories and she gives me hope on dark days.
I would write ten things I like about myself every day. Ten about my appearance, and ten about my personality/being. I would look in the mirror and call myself beautiful. As cheesy and remote as it sounds, it helped my heal my soul. It allowed me to begin to soften the edges of self-hate that surrounded my heart.
Slowly, and with a lot of heartache and sorrow, mixed with trial and error I got the hang of self-love.
I began to become repulsed by the idea of “needing” a guy and I began to think that a man would be lucky to have me. I no longer saw myself as a detriment, but I saw myself as an asset to society. I felt that my soul was here for a reason and I had purpose here on earth.
I found I am enough just as I am.
I found that I am lovable and capable of anything I put my mind to.
All I need is self-love and I can accomplish anything.
I no longer want a man to “save” me because I’ve already saved myself.
I have a partner today who walks this journey side-by-side with me, but I do my own internal work. Because I am my own hero.
And it is work, continual work of watching old thought patterns come up and quickly replacing them with better thoughts, that nourish my soul. I work and I will work at this for the rest of my life. I found that by accepting the dark sides of myself, I am able to help other people.
Not only that, but I have learned compassion. Today I see people as a soul in pain, instead of mean people.
We all have dark-sides. No matter who we are, but by embracing them and being honest they become our strength. They become our purpose for life. Overcoming the darkness is what life is about.
Life is about getting a little more free everyday.