My idea of loving yourself up until recently was something I considered to be the same as being self-absorbed or selfish. Since I’m in the process of unlearning my stinking thinking I’ve been able to see the absolute importance of self-care and loving me.
First and foremost, it is Biblical as it mentions “love your neighbor as yourself.” For some reason the only part I focused on was loving my neighbor and loving myself went right over my head. It’s safe to say I’ve taken the martyr’s approach to life. Put myself last in every way possible and put everyone else ahead of me. People-pleasing was my goal and I became a champion. As a result I was an easy, vulnerable target for some of the worst kind of people. I take part of that blame since I was too focused on making everyone else happy , that they liked me and wouldn’t reject or abandon me. Of course, these were all side effects of my early childhood and grown up years.
Now that I have entered into what is called the “golden years”, which I’d rather not embrace out loud but it does serve a purpose which is the fact that I’m finally starting to clear out the cobwebs of my mind and get on the path that will lead me to a successful existence for my remaining time on this crazy planet.
I understand how necessary it is to deal with the baggage that I’ve been dragging around since childhood and getting to a place of acceptance, forgiveness and love of and/or for myself. That baggage led me to believe I was unworthy, unlovable and someone I had grown to hate. Funny how many lies we can believe about ourselves. I’ve proven at times to be my own worst enemy based on my perceptions of the major events of my life.
We don’t get to skip phases, issues, hurts, disappointments of our lives without dealing with them. We are only able to suppress them for a time and once the gauge hits “FULL” the stuff will start pouring and sputtering out of us at the most inopportune times. By the time that happens we can’t even distinguish what in the world is going on with us. We’ve detached from those times and literally don’t even remember them anymore.
We must be crazy or maybe we have a brain tumor. Unresolved, suppressed baggage can surprise our family and circle of friends just as much as it surprises us. We don’t yet have the answer and nobody knows what to say. It starts affecting our relationships, career and other aspects of our everyday life.
It takes time, honesty, patience and willingness to find our answers. Don’t fall for the I’m doomed for life, crazy or have a brain tumor just yet. Get real with yourself. You know that way back in the depths of your mind’s eye there are things that pop up occasionally and you find a way to deflect or suppress those thoughts and feelings once more.
I’m not a trained professional so I can’t tell anyone how to deal with these issues but I think it’s pretty safe to say that talking to a professional would be a good idea. Although I attended therapy a couple of years ago, I still have a long way to go and my plans are getting myself to a therapist asap.
Writing has been very helpful for me as I have been writing for the past six months and sporadically for the past few years though not on a blog site. Sometimes I will write a letter to a person who has hurt me that I’ve been carrying a grudge against and I let it all go onto the paper or email document. Then I leave it for 24-48 hours, read it again and decide to not send it or maybe revise and send it, depends on how it strikes me after letting it settle. Sometimes just getting it out of our heads is therapy enough.
Today I can say that writing is slowly teaching me to love myself first. That means I’ll do a better job of loving my neighbor and I’ll raise the bar on what treatment is acceptable for me, the girl/woman I’m learning to love.