I’ve found myself at another precipice. But thankfully, as I stare ahead, desperately trying to understand how to cross this gap, it isn’t an unfamiliar feeling. I am teaching myself unconditional love. I am learning to surrender my expectations, self-judgments and internal victimization. But I really don’t know how to do it.
I read. I see these vague instructions that all boil down to “just do it!” and part of me feels helpless. How can I just do it if I don’t know how? I can’t recall a single time that I’ve experienced unconditional love for myself or from another person. Of course my parents claim to love me regardless of what I do, but their approval and affection is most certainly conditional. I’ve learned that same pattern, I can only be happy with myself when I’m accomplishing the things I feel I should, which are usually designed for me by outside expectations.
So I sit here analyzing what I’m doing wrong. I’ve had another romantic relationship end and in doing so, a number of unhealed beliefs were revealed. I’m glad to say that I have been immediately thankful for every part of that relationship as it happened, even as painful as the ending was. I see my progress, my learning, and I am allowing myself to feel and have gratitude even for the pain.
But I feel that it comes back to the same thing every time. I was completely honest with myself, brutally to the point of making myself uncomfortable. I knew that if I were more confident, I would have never considered going out with him. If I felt comfortable in my body, I would be worth someone who I perceive as more valuable. If I were beautiful, I would have the relationship I feel I deserve. And that belief right there is exactly why I’ve been unable to have the relationship that I want. Not only am I not honoring this person who has come into my life, but I am belittling myself in the process.
If I accept and surrender I would find happiness within. I truly believe that. But I’m at a loss. I can’t find that switch to flip that lets me just be ok, that lets me fly that white flag and melt into bliss. But thankfully, before I could distress myself over this too much I remembered…when I started this journey I didn’t even have conditional love for myself.
How many things had I read about loving myself years ago? How many times did I get headaches trying to understand how anyone could look in the mirror and like what they saw? And I’m in the same position. It clearly didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t wake up one morning, see myself and think “Hey, you’re really not that bad.” But I honestly couldn’t tell you how I did it. The simple fact that I can smile at myself in the mirror now, or wear dresses, or go out in public by myself…these were things I could have never imagined doing five years ago without being completely emotionally drained.
So my self-love is currently based on expectations, mainly focused around my school work. I’m smiling now because I realized I started working on this before it was a conscious thought. My expectations were so strict that even less than perfect grades on menial assignments could ruin my week. Making a B on an exam? Caused more than a little self-hate. But over the last month or so I’ve allowed myself to be happy as long as I make passing grades. I remind myself my grade is a direct reflection of the effort I put in and if I didn’t put in proper effort, it can’t be changed.
Perhaps that is the same logic I need to apply to other parts of my life, especially when it comes to my weight. It seems like two very different things but in reality it isn’t. I have choices when it comes to school; do I study or go to the movies? Well, it depends on whether or not I have an exam and if I want to make a good grade. Well, do I want to feed my body something it will like or stuff it full of grease and fat that will make me feel numb? That depends too, do I want to feel physically good or do I want to feel numb? Whatever my choice is, it is my choice and I need to own and love it regardless.
I want to feel better, emotionally and physically. I realize that by stating that, I’m acknowledging I’m currently not there. So many things say not to do this, to be present and happy in the present. But right now, I’m aware of my feelings of discomfort, my uneasiness toward change and that part of me that wants to hold onto so much pain and keep it hidden.
I’ll figure this out and for right now that’s enough.