Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Love Lounge: On Learning To Love Myself

I know a lot, but one thing that has always eluded me?

Guys.

They're a different breed, a different language, something I'm constantly trying to figure out -- usually, without much success. In fact, I usually end up even more confused when I try to think too hard about them. Trying to figure them out only ever leaves me with one of those cartoon bubbles over my head full of millions of question marks.

Yes, it's that confusing, my friends.

The thing is, I used to be certain of what they didn't want: Me. I was never the kind of girl they chased after with bouquets of roses or sent adorable, emoji-filled texts to. They wanted blondes and brunettes with long, lanky legs, not legs with a mess of scars on them.

They didn't want me. I wasn't what they'd desire or even fantasize about.

What is love? Certainly, I've never known romantic love, the kind of storybook fantasy, whirlwind courtship that leaves you dancing on air. As a writer and blogger, I've toiled in the world of emotions for years -- as long as I can remember, actually. Heck, I've made a career out of it; it's my life's work. I've written about wanting love, being scorned, unrequited love and all those times I've fallen for medical residents. And through it all, I've somehow managed to maintain a seamless balance between confident superwoman and vulnerable, insecure novice. I so often viewed myself through the lens of how I was certain others saw me.

Read: Guys.

So I hid a huge part of myself, deep down where no one could see, touch and most importantly, hurt me. I rationalized it as going into hibernation, a sort of survival mode. Sadly, I couldn't get to her. It seemed no one could. Maybe the self-confidence woman in me was trying to protect me in a way. If I pretended that I didn't care, that the last thing I ever wanted was a guy, maybe I could trick myself into believing it was all actually true.

But, my gosh, how insulting is that to myself and the strong woman I'm always striving to be? What is that teaching her about value and self-worth and something as simple as believing in yourself? How can I ever expect to love myself if I don't look at me, but instead just choose to take cues from other people -- people that, quite honestly, don't matter all that much in the end?

I sometimes want to shake my former self just to wake her up! I'm still learning, but I feel like I'm finally on the path to fully loving myself. No more apologizing. No more denying. No more hiding. When I look in the mirror these days, I can actually see myself. That sounds weird, I know. It's not like I'm a ghost! I've always been there, obviously, but it was like I was finally seeing myself for the first time. I saw for the first time what I should have been seeing all along: A woman of strength and character with one sexy brain.

What's been your experience in learning to love yourself, friends? What obstacles have you encountered and how have you dealt with them? What advice would you give your former self or others currently struggling? xoxo

[Photo via We Heart It]

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