It’ll be the just before you decide to hit publish on a raw and vulnerable piece like this that you will be listening to The Book Of Joy by Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu, a very calming and love all of humanity book. And you will shut off that book to yell at your children for not doing what they were asked (like 7 times).
Then you will turn into a nasty wife who asks your husband to tell you what’s bothering him, because when he finally tells you you will use all of your superhuman bitch powers to block every human relation skill you have ever learned and tell him to stuff his damn problem up his nose. (Who am I kidding I said ass).
If you choose to write a big deep blog post, you might find your Mr. Hyde coming out in full force.
About a week before Christmas I posted a really powerful quote from The Fate Of The Tearling By Erika Johansen on Instagram. It read: “These people are so damned proud of their hatred! Hatred is easy and lazy to boot. It’s love that demands effort, love that exacts a price from each of us. Love costs; this is it’s value.”
Someone dear to me commented underneath it: “Super easy to hate yourself.”
My heart sunk. My thoughts churned in my head from “Darling! How can you not see how precious and lovely you are?” to “Stop it! Just stop saying these things!”
Those five words have stuck with me. I have pondered them intensely. With lament that there are no magic words that I can use to take away self hate. With anger that this is such a big problem. And finally now with curiosity. Why is it so easy to hate yourself?
Here’s the short version of what I’ve come up with. Loving yourself is work.
Pulling yourself up out of a pit requires effort. It is not simple to live in the pit it is painful. There are heavy emotions and negative beliefs that feel impossible to escape from.
Because those feelings are excruciating our instinct is to numb them. We use all sorts of numbing agents. Food, social media, sex, alcohol, drugs… and each one leaves us feeling shitty and low when the effects wear off. So we numb even harder the next time.
Numb the dark and you numb the light. ~Brené Brown
Wallowing in pity and fear zaps your power. It leaves you with no energy to work your way out of that pit.
I would not say I have struggled with depression, but I have had feelings of being unworthy. A burden to those I love. I’ve heard my own voice tell me that nobody likes me, my friends just pretend so they don’t make things awkward.
In the past I have curled up and made a cozy little nest in these lies.
I’ve done a lot work to love myself. It’s sometimes like cleaning the bathroom. When you haven’t done it for a while there can be some super gross shit to scrub. There’s probably some dried pee to wipe off the seat and possibly some stray hairs scattered around the area as well. Seriously this is a job that nobody is eager to begin, but it’s so satisfying when we are finished. Except it only stays done for so long. We have to maintain the cleanliness of the bathroom.
Loving yourself is dynamic. There are levels to strive toward and healthy choices to make.
There are enemies to fight and gremlins to shut down. You are vulnerable, left to navigate unfamiliar terrain in unpredictable elements.
It is not a slothful actionless feat. It is risky, stay on your toes, move forward, be brave stuff.
If you love yourself, you will pay a price. I want you to know that whatever price you have to pay it is never too much.