Last night I realized some heavy truths about myself.
I’ve been reading the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. This is one of those books I’m going to have to read over again once I finish it. It’s full of hard truths and mind grenades. It’s shaken up the way I think, process and live. It’s shown me that as strong and progressive as I think I am, I still play the victim to so many things I think I have no control over. I have more control than I think I do, it’s that I choose to shift blame so that I don’t have to do some heavy thinking/decision making.
If how people treat me is their fault then I don’t have to do the hard thing and walk away, which is something I’m not very good at. I have a fear of giving up before it gets good.
Anyway, this book and trying to change 34 years of the same thought processes helped me realize some things about myself last night.
The first realization is that I don’t like to admit that parts of me might be broken. I realized I avoid it because I have a fear that if I admit that something is broken it will never get fixed. Let’s just take a minute and take apart how ridiculous this sounds.
If you break a bone, let’s just say you broke your arm, you and/or a doctor need to identify and acknowledge that it’s broken in order to start the process of fixing it. If you ignore it and act like it never was broken, guess what? It’s never getting fixed.
I have to acknowledge the broken parts so that I can begin the process of healing.
The second realization is that there are three parts of me.
I imagine the first girl to be broken, sad, hurt, and curled up on the floor inside my heart.
She is the one that wants to be pretty, perfect, loved, fearless, happy but lives in crippled fear that she will never be enough to be any of those things. She is beat down by the hurtful actions of others. She is victim to thoughts inside her head.
The second girl is the outer shell of me. She has confidence. She knows her worth even if it’s not always clear to her. She looks for happiness herself. She builds her own life. She is strong. She is safe. She is her own advocate. She is warm. She is kind. She is healthy. She loves big.
The third part of me is the loudest and most aggressive. She sits at the top of my head yelling obscenities all day and into the night to the broken girl inside my heart. She is anxiety, anger, self-loathing, hate, negativity. She creates headaches and depression and loneliness and fear. She attacks the broken girl inside until she feels she will never get up, never heal, never be okay. She silences the happy, confident girl by making her feel like she’s a fraud, like she’s simply just covering up the broken girl inside. She can’t really be happy when there are still things wrong with her.
But last night I realized the “outer shell” of me isn’t fake. She’s very much real, and she’s the real me, and she needs to stand up for herself..not only to other people, but to the mean girl inside her head.
So often we look to others to make our brokenness feel safe. We long for someone to wrap their arms around us and allow us to be broken for awhile. We want someone to acknowledge our neediness and tell us it’s okay to just be sad. We want someone to take care of us.
And while sometimes that happens, and sometimes there are people there for us like that, most of the time those kind of friendships and relationships don’t exist.
That’s when it hit me that it’s up to me to create a safe place for myself. It’s up to me to make me feel loved and accepted. It’s up to me to defend myself against the constant barrage of negative thoughts I hurl at myself.
I am my own safe place. I need to value myself enough to advocate for myself.
I say I love myself but do I really? Honestly, I really don’t because I have justified the self abuse, I have justified and allowed abuse and negative behaviors from others.
Imagine this scenario: you walk by a friend that has been going through a lot. Maybe she’s grieving death and heartache and life has broken her. You see there’s someone sitting next to her and they are belittling and berating her. They are telling her all kinds of hateful things about her looks, the way she lives her life, calling out every mistake, cutting her down…just spewing pure negativity and hate. Your friend looks miserable. She looks like she doesn’t want to go on, and like she’s about to sink to the floor in despair and just give up.
What would you do? Would you walk by? Would you tell yourself you’re not enough to help? That someone else needs to stand up for her and comfort her because you’re just a fraud?
God, I hope not.
So why don’t we defend ourselves….from ourselves like that?
Last night the real me, the confident, kind and loving me did for myself what I do for others.
I wrapped myself in love. I created my own safe space. I acknowledged the broken and hurt girl inside me. I held her, using my love as a shield from the mean girl in my head, telling that hateful voice to shut the fuck up. I defended myself. I turned the love I have for others on myself. I was there for me. And for the first time in a long time I felt loved, comforted and safe. I felt strong, fearless and peaceful.
And I did that all for myself. I am capable of feeling that way without the help of someone else. Sure, it’s important to have friendships and relationships to rely on but we can’t expect them to do for us what we can and should do for ourselves.
It was an eye opening experience and one that I know will take discipline and time to make a habit, but I have a feeling it will be life changing.