Here we are, new week, new revelations!
Shockingly, these are positive ones.
I feel like I am all gloom and doom on this blog a lot, so, here you half-full people go.
My Realization This Week
When I first started this whole thing I had no idea where to begin. I just knew I needed to learn to appreciate myself. To stop with the hatred. It was killing my creativity and life force like bad weeds choking the flowers out of a garden. So in the beginning it was just a simple goal. Follow-up proved both hopeful and depressing....lots of people who used to have bad self-esteem (my boss and my boyfriend being two of them, and they're two people I really admire) now have great self-esteem. Changing one's idea of oneself is doable. But the how was a little harder to run across....everything just says "love yourself!" "Learn to love yourself!" "Tell yourself you're wonderful!"
So I tried that for awhile. It didn't work so well. I realized the error about a week ago. You can't just parrot through things that you don't think are true. Well, most people can't, anyway. I likened it to my atheism. It'd be just as easy for me to say "God is real and church is good and religion is a nice thing to have in my life" and believe it. (I don't believe any of those things obviously.) What good does parroting positive thoughts about oneself do if that's all it is--empty words? It did stop the flow of hate words, which maybe was my first success. Once I stopped nagging and bullying myself mentally every minute of every day, I could focus on other things besides feeling like total shit for being total shit. Still, my realization made me a little confused: all my research seemed a little stupid now. YOU'RE AWESOME! STAND IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR AND SAY YOU'RE AWESOME! TELL PEOPLE HOW AWESOME YOU ARE! WRITE LOVE NOTES TO YOURSELF! WRITE YOURSELF A FUCKING LOVE BALLAD AND THEN HAVE SEX WITH YOURSELF TO IT BECAUSE MY GOD YOU'RE THE BEST!
My Solution So Far
One quote popped into my head immediately as I was thinking about this. I forget where it's from, but I've always liked it: "Don't believe everything you think." My reality and truth might be total bullshit as far as real reality and truth are concerned. In fact, in this instance, I really believe it is. I think that my reality--that I am a horrible useless person who would be better off serving the world by being a pile of ashes scattered in the wind--is not real. I've made it real to me, but that definitely doesn't make it reality. (Again, going back to religion....lol....) I had two choices: feel like a total asshole for being so stupid as to mentally manipulate myself into a false truth--and I considered that--and the other choice, acknowledge that I believe untrue things about myself and work toward relearning who I am from an objective point of view. Not good, great, grand, wonderful, fantastic....but also not horrible, scheming, slimy, useless, worthless, ugly, and stupid.
I Haven't Failed
I was sitting on the bus last week, going to town. I like the bus rides, because they're a nice quiet alone time for me to sit and reflect on being in Sweden, and that's when some of my happiest thoughts come. My appreciation for life just swells up in some really great thoughts: about my Swedish host family, about my friends, about this beautiful country, my dreamland, about life in general. I usually sit and stare blankly out the window and let those thoughts pass by and put me in a good mood. But this day was different because I thought something so profound it put my brain in meltdown mode, made my throat close up, and I cried.
"You haven't failed."
Even by my own ridiculously unrealistic standards, I have not failed. I may cry at night, I may have a lot of angst and depression and I may have been on antidepressants for almost a year, I may have a family who refuses to speak to me and I may have a ton of other things wrong that I feel badly about but none of that means that I've failed at having the life I want..
I've definitely had setbacks: I was homeless for awhile, I was in an abusive relationship when I was 18, I married someone for every wrong reason that can ever exist to marry someone, I've tormented myself over the years until self-hate was the only way I spoke to myself. But I've also done so much that I swore I would do....so many things that I've wanted, some since childhood. Not only have I done them, I've done them in spite of the odds against me. I learned how to paint, I started writing my stories down, I made the most wonderful friends anyone could ever have, I traveled. I even moved to another continent and got a job that most Americans only read about in historical novels.
Some days I can't do anything but cry over this or that or the past or what have you, but I haven't failed. And from someone with such strict guidelines on what is appropriate for them and what is not, that's huge. I have a lot that I want out of the future, that's true, but so far I've succeeded. And as with most human beings, the odds were stacked against me in the beginning. So I sat there on the bus, crying and realizing that I'm not a failure and am exactly the opposite of a failure, really, and that's the most wonderful thing I've ever learned about myself.