For years, I have hardly been living. Technically I was, I guess, but I never felt security or satisfaction. The honest truth is, I believed I never would. I was scared. I was isolating myself.
I was reliving old patterns, old feelings, and old behaviors again.....and again.....and again, sometimes without even realizing it. It is so clear to me now why, and while I know this answer did not come overnight, it almost feels as if it did. Because I knew, but I did not believe it. I was not ready.
It was almost like this eye-opening experience, that brought clarity: an awakening, I guess. I had been in counseling for about three years, I had been working hard, for the most part, and I always consciously knew why, but one day it just clicked and I truly understood.
GOD DAMNIT, you don't love yourself.
I knew I did not. I read quotes that tell you to have to love yourself first, take care of yourself, and blah....blah....blah. "How unrealistic, if I could just switch this off and love myself, I would." my mind said.
These quotes were inspirational, at best, but never stuck with me. Currently, these words actually speak to me. For the first time in my life, it all makes sense.
I keep looking to the future as a destination, thinking I will eventually figure out why jobs, people, and hobbies never satisfy me. I think I honestly believed that I would just find it one day, you know, my perfect job or my soulmate, then at that point, my life, everything would be perfect.
I would be content. I just simply had not found the right things for me yet and it would come with time. "How unrealistic." to quote me.
And it almost seems that it should be obvious, doesn't it? We all know that we need to love yourself first. But in general, we don't. It was a reality for me. A reality that I did not even know I was living.
A reality of consciously knowing what I had to do but not truly believing it. A reality of searching in all of the wrong places, finding joy but never peace. There was always this empty void.
Sometimes really big, sometimes really small. I felt connections with people and things, but there was always this emptiness when I walked away. I have a tendency to never feeling completely full, I have always craved something more.
I craved something more because I was looking for "it" outside. Searching.....and searching. I couldn't be THAT unhealthy, I had been working on myself for years. I believed I was taking the right steps to find myself.
And I was. And I am. Because if I hadn't, I would have never been able to find this place where I am right now. Because I am unhealthy. I am the person that NEEDS other people.
I am the person that NEEDS to feel a connection. I am the person that NEEDS to feel unique. I am the person that NEEDS to be needed. And most of all I NEED these things to feel like I am living.
And there is nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that these needs, desires, and behaviors I follow to acquire them, have put me back in the same place, time and time again: devastation, emptiness, and turmoil.
I WAS that person. I USED to NEED those things. But at this moment, I feel secure in the idea that I do not NEED anyone or anything.
I feel at peace with the fact that I have been looking in all of the wrong places, despite how long I was blinded by my own actions. Because those quotes were true: you cannot love someone or something else until you love yourself.
There will not be a balance. It might feel right for a while, but you will always end up desiring more, no matter how much "who" or "it" gives to you. Because there is literally something missing inside of you.
I believe peace is only possible if you figure out how to fill that void, for yourself, by yourself, and with yourself. There is not a single other people, place, or thing that can do it. I have suddenly stopped looking for happiness, but for peace.
Peace internally and externally is what I truly desire.
So why not make this next trip around the sun about yourself? That is what I keep asking myself. I had to dig deep to figure out why. Because I am afraid.
I am afraid because up until now, I have been committed to the same patterns my whole life to survive and get the needs met that I could not meet on my own. I am afraid because there is a lot of unknown.
I am afraid that I will continue to repeat these same behaviors to return to what is safe and comfortable. But right now, these behaviors have become setbacks.
I am finally realizing that these behaviors are no longer helpful. These behaviors have become harmful at this point in my life. Emily Maroutian quoted, "The reason why you can't move forward is because you keep applying an old formula to a new level in your life. Change the formula to get a different result."
So how am I going to do this? How is it possible to change the formula when you have built your entire persona around it?
I have to accept the idea of change. I am going to start by taking myself off of the pedal-stool that I have gladly (and blindly) put myself upon for years and for the first time in my life, stop looking for fault around me, and start looking for the fault within.
I am going to realize that although I am special, I am not as unique as I have previously believed, and stop using that as an excuse to stay in the same ugly place of isolation.
I am going to start praying more, to my higher power, for clarity of my own shortcomings, peace, and growth. I am going to try to focus all of the energy I have put into other people and things, into learning new ways to balance my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
"There is an Indian proverb that says everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room, every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person. " – Runner Godden
I am happy to say I am at a place where I finally want to make the choice to create a life that I do not regularly have to escape from. Self-Love is not always face masks, yoga, self-help books, and bubble baths.
While these things are beneficial, and none are wrong, raw self-love is a little different. Raw self-love is looking directly at your own failures and shortcomings and creating a new strategy.
Self-love and self-discovery are not these safe, comfortable, miraculous things that we have all made them out to be. They are difficult and confusing. They require feeling lost and angry at times.
But they are the greatest gifts you will ever be able to give to yourself. Because when it comes down to it, you are not your preferences. You are not the things you choose to like and enjoy.
You are not all of these extra details on the surface of "living." And the good news is, you can change whenever you want or whenever you feel it is a necessary time to do so.
So, the real question is, WHY don't I make this next trip around the sun about ME?
And the answer is, I am going to try. And I am going to start by trying something new.
"This above all, to thy own self be true." – William Shakespeare