I was talking to a friend about the challenges he was facing. It made me think back and realize that throughout this month, there was something I was fighting above all else: fear. This blog records my fight against fear in the pursuit of self-love.
For many years, I walked through life afraid. So very afraid. I let it blind me and stop up my ears and close up my heart. I was miserable, but didn’t know any other way.
I tried to force myself to be happy, to be more extroverted, more in line with what I felt like I should be. I tried to rip off my mask and pull down my defenses and open my heart. In the end, I learned something valuable from these painful experiences.
I hurt myself more by doing this. First, there is nothing wrong with being me so trying to force myself to fit this unreasonable ideal kept me from better reaching my potential. There’s nothing wrong with going out of your comfort zone, but you need to be patient with yourself especially during these times. I was not. I walked away with a lower opinion of myself and more self-hatred than ever before. So I’d try to be more ideal and the cycle would restart again.
If self-hatred could be quantified like money, I’d be a billionaire. I think a lot of us would be in that range. It makes me sad to see. If it makes a stranger SSD, then how much sadder must their loved ones be? Those that loved me probably felt sad seeing me like this too.
When I forcefully pulled off my masks (which admittedly weren’t the thickest in the first place) and pulled down my (heavily guarded) defenses in an attempt to be more open and rectify the problem of me being too distant and pushing others away….I walked away hurt. Yet those that hurt me taught me a valuable lesson.
Originally, it was a lessons about how there is a reason why you don’t just open up to people like that. Even good people may not understand or value what you’re giving them. It’s like throwing pearls before swine.
However, that’s not it. Not exactly. The true lesson was that, in hindsight, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have the inner confidence to shield myself from the downsides of being a more open person. I tended to wonder if people who said bad things about me were right rather than recognize what was and wasn’t. The doubt that was formed on the playground so many years ago was still being carried around in my heart.
I wasn’t ready then but I’m ready now. I don’t need to automatically open myself up. Actually, that’s the real, true and honest lesson here. I never had to force that to begin with. I mistook being open to relationships with others for being open and out there for everyone. Some people can do that, but I can’t and never want to.
I thought I had to be a certain way, but I never did. I never will. I am enough the way I am.
I thought I had to force myself to grow, but all I needed was patience in myself.