The Concept of Loving One’s Self

The concept of perfectionism has haunted me. As a child I was given an I.E.P. (Individual Education Plan). From first grade I was pulled out of the general class and given individual attention. I was behind educationally. At the time I was going through emotional challenges. My father was a mean alcoholic so I had more important things to worry about then school. Still I can remember standing for practicing spelling and I would always get out first. I was bad at English and my Math was even worse! I felt like such a stupid person. My family didn’t exactly help out in school. To them, if you’re dumb, that’s just it. I was creative and I loved to dance at the time. It was important for me to hold onto those things. They were the only times I felt like I was seen for the person I wanted to be. I thought I was beautiful in those moments… When I turned 8 I lost sight of any beauty I believed in. My protectors of parents failed me. For 2 years I went through the worst experiences of my life. But this post isn’t about what happen to me, it’s about how I saw myself.
I stopped dancing at 10. I didn’t want the world to see me anymore and I couldn’t muster up that dancer smile to perform. I hit puberty and I began to develop much faster than my peers. I felt like an outcast. Even more so this year because to spite everything that was happening, my school cut funding for my I.E.P. and I was given the choice; join the “regular” class or go into the “special education” class. My parents urged me to go into the “special” class. They didn’t want me to push myself or to have the pressure of society upon me. I defied them. I insisted on being placed in the normal classroom. I spent hours on my homework. I worked my ass off to catch up and an amazing thing happened. I became the top of my class. That didn’t mean I was accepted. I was horribly bullied. One classmate even went as far as to hit me (and leave a mark) with a yard ruler in the back. Having boobs made me a whore and most of the female students hated me. The male students were cruel. I can remember hating my body. I hated myself! I felt alone. The one salvation I had was to put my full attention into my schooling. No one in my life ever had standards for me. I had to do that for myself Sometimes I feel like my anxiety and my obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) were born out of the self-critiquing. That need to self-edit became a survival instinct.
Being older and in therapy now, I’m learning to like myself more and cut myself a break. I am aware that I can be my worst enemy. Being mindful of my self-critical nature, I have to ask myself if my standards are realistic. Every thought must be scrutinized with a barrage of testing questions to assess their true nature. Most are entirely irrational. The worst part about your mind working against you is that it knows your worst fears. It recruits these fears to torment you.
I’ve had to work on letting go of my need to be perfect. Perfection is an illusion and it doesn’t exist. I’ve had to stop stressing out about being perfect because it’s a goal I’ll never achieve. It’s an empty ambition Now, I strive to be “good enough.” It’s important to embrace mistakes as opportunities for growth. They are blessings in disguise that make me wiser. If I fail, it doesn’t mean that I am a failure. I am not what I do. Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn, but we never lose.
I’m used to making myself busy all the time. I require myself to always do, all the time. I always had to be doing something. Idle movements were moments wasted. I’ve since learned that my anxiety is pretty good at tricking me. It makes me feel like I need to be in a rush all the time. Taking any time off was considered selfish to myself. It sounds odd I’m sure but I couldn’t take any time for myself. I felt immensely guilty. Now I realize that sometimes I need to listen to my body and take time to recharge myself. I don’t owe anyone an explanation for taking time for myself. If I don’t have time for myself, I have to make it. It can mean watching a movie or playing a game. Just doing something I enjoy to feed my spirit. I do whatever I need to do for myself.
I have to let go of self-criticism! I’m paying attention to my inner thoughts and I edit when needed. Sometimes I have to tease my thoughts apart and really assess them. I don’t call myself names anymore. I treat myself with the dignity and respect I deserve. I treat myself the way I would treat a good friend because I deserve it. In life we don’t get what we want, but what we think we deserve. I am enough and I am worthy of good things.
I’m working to let go of blaming. When I blame others for taking my time, money, or love, it’s unfair to them. I am always choosing to put myself in those positions. No one can hurt me or upset me without my consent. I take responsibility for the way I feel, act, and think. I’m in charge. I am what I believe and whatever I choose to be, I will be.
I struggle to let go of judging. I realize everyone is on their own path in life, and it’s my job to focus on my own. I realize that when I am judgmental, I’m reacting to something that bothers me about myself. I’ve also had to let go of the assumptions about what other people feel, want, or think. I am not them. There is no way for me to know what they actually feel or what they’re thinking. I’m careful to stop myself from imagining scenarios and letting my mind play tricks on me. When I’m disturbed by what someone does or says, I know it’s my turn for a reality check. I have to ask myself, “Is that true?” Most of the time my assumptions aren’t true. The moment I stop and realize I can’t know what another person thinks, my mind gets clearer and I’m able to be a more genuine person. I’m also letting go of my competitive nature. My need to be the best is my ego’s scream for self-validation. I don’t need for someone to lose or do worse than me to feel validated. Instead of fearing people, I choose to connect from a place of love. I want to live in a supportive world so I should be a part of that. I’m no longer looking for external validation to feel accepted. Worrying what others think is a waste of my time. Other’s opinions of me is all about them and what they see in me. It’s filtered through their world perspective and really has zero to do with me. I’ve stopped expecting others to give me what I wasn’t willing to give myself; love, care, and attention. Loving myself as a whole is the best thing I have ever done for myself. I take good care of my needs and I do things that fill my heart with joy. I’ve learned to make powerful choices for myself and to not worry about disappointing others. People disappoint themselves by setting expectations for who they want me to be of what they want me to do. Saying no to things I don’t want to do, is a learned practice and a sign of self-care. My wants come from myself and I listen closer now. I don’t do what other impose upon me. I do what I want to do. I spent my time with who I want doing what I want. Time is so very precious.
I’m working on not worrying so much about the future. I accept things as they are and I understand that some things are out of my control. No matter how hard I try. At some point I have to trust the flow of time. The only certainty is uncertainty. Sometimes things just need time.
I’ve stopped projecting my happiness into an imaginary future, hoping that someday, when I have that job, that house, that car, that success, I will then be happy. I find happiness in the small pleasures of life, and I embrace the only reality that is. The present moment, with gratitude and joy. I no longer wait for the weekends to live my life. I try to live each day to happiest I can. I try to switch my focus from stressed to blessed. I’m thankful for everything I am. Every part of me make me who I am today and I am proud to be myself. I am worthy and I am enough!

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Author: Kenzie

I am a 24 year old Marriage and Family Therapy graduate student at Fairfield University. I graduated salutatorian of my undergraduate class with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Mitchell College. I will graduate from Fairfield with my Masters degree in December of 2017. Check me & my cat out on instagram: My Account: @Kenzie_quotes_22 Cats' Account: @Ajaxcheetto Thanks for Visiting!!! 🙋❤😺😸 Check me out on Deviant Art: http://kenzie-22.deviantart.com

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