You know what’s cool about finally dealing with a lot of trauma and unpacking a lot of pain while in the midst of realizing I’ve been going down the wrong path for a decade or so? It’s never too late to turn it all around. Even in the midst of dreadful emotional pain that takes a toll on every aspect of my being, I can see a way through it. Going down the wrong path doesn’t mean I need to continue on it. My life can go anywhere from here. I feel the excitement and freedom of a lot of open possibilities.
Somehow I feel compelled to get on better terms with myself before I make any life-changing decisions. Then again, loving yourself sounds like a cliche in some ways. There are fantastic, feel-good think pieces scattered all over the place about the merits of finding ways to love yourself, aren’t there? It seems like something every good feminist should be able to do. I can’t save the world, but I should at least be able to do that, right? Bring on additional emotional daggers aimed at my heart because I can’t even get that right.
Love myself? I feel guilty because I am not anywhere near the country of confidence yet. I’m not even in the same hemisphere. I’ve been there in fleeting moments. Having been in love, though, I know that love isn’t something that comes and goes; if you truly love someone, it’s always there even when the intensity of it soars sky high or temporarily recedes a bit. My feelings for myself are more like long periods of loathing with brief reprieves of something akin to non-hatred.
I mean, I have a basic level of respect for myself. I’d never intentionally hurt any human being or other sentient being. I try to help others when I can. I try to do the right things. I hope to be able to do a lot of good someday.
That level of understanding about myself does not mean that I love myself, though. I care enough about myself to generally keep myself out of harm’s way, which is no easy feat for someone hell-bent on self-destruction who deals with a PTSD, depression, and anxiety. For someone who has no interest in drinking alcohol, using drugs, smoking, or premarital sex, I’ve done a remarkable job of self-destructing. (Not that there's anything destructive or wrong with those things at all; I just tried so hard to avoid certain things since I have an addictive personality.)
So, love myself? Eh. (I’m not Canadian. That’s said with my Southern twang.) It’s really more like: Hell, no. I don’t love myself.
I do like parts of myself, though. I can grant you that much.So, I’m at a checkmate sort of position. I feel like I need to find a way to love myself before I move forward in substantial ways, yet I just don’t. So I’ll continue to work on it. Sometimes just realizing our own limitations can be so freeing. Rather than ignore the bad things, looking at them and feeling whatever it is that they inspire is an act of love for yourself. I’m doing that, so at least I’m acting loving towards myself.
I challenge myself to continue acting in a loving way to myself, and if you’re struggling with these things, too, I hope you do. I hope you want to do that, too. I think that’s the best way to go through life, even if it’s really tough to even pretend that I’m not repulsed by my presence. I’m going to treat myself like I’d treat someone I love.
I have no happy ending to this post, beyond the simple realization that the world is a beautiful place that holds many possibilities, and I want to try to enjoy it more today than I did yesterday. Good morning.