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Loving yourself first.

If there’s something that’s become increasingly more obvious to me as I’ve become older and more mature is that to deal with life’s challenges and be a better more whole person is that we have to heal ourselves and learn to love ourselves first, before we can be loved and be of true use to the world.

Not to say we can’t be loved and be useful to others without it – but I’ve come to a certain understanding slowly over the last few years.

I really don’t like myself.
I don’t think I deserve love. I don’t think I deserve happiness.

I do an awful lot to purposefully sabotage great things that are placed in front of me. Yes, purposefully. Why? That’s what therapy is for.

I am pretty sure it has something to do with deep-seated low self-esteem brought on by years of tormenting by bullies in grade school, sexual assault in my college years, and a challenging upbringing where I was not ever really held accountable for my actions.

When I begin to find myself comfortable or challenged I pick at the wound, like a scab. I do things unconsciously, railroading relationships and engaging in behaviors that cause my life to sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly careen off the tracks.

You would think by this point in my life I would have it in me to figure out how to stop it. Acknowledging and trying to do something about it is where I am right now, hoping that I can find a way to make the crazy train stop before it hits the next station, and heal enough that someday I’ll be able to really feel worthy.

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When you need others.

Asking for help isn’t inherently a bad thing. We’re often told that to be strong, we have to do it ourselves. To be brave, we can do it alone. To be stoic, to have a stiff upper lip, that we should and can tough it out. 

This isn’t a thing that just men have to deal with, though they have it MUCH worse than women do. They have to do it without showing emotion. Women are at least given a pass that they have to do it, but people will wait if they cry first. 

I recently saw an article titled how to “Not cry at your child’s IEP meeting” and while the content of this post was mostly positive – I saw it circulating as an answer, after another Mom’s teary-eyed car video talking about how she just couldn’t handle this-that-or-the-other-thing anymore. I FEEL YOU MAMA. We’ve all been there. CRY. Girl, cry. 

Having emotions is OK. Don’t fucking let anyone tell you, that you shouldn’t cry. I saw so many responses to her video telling her not to cry. That it’s going to be ok. That she just needed to calm down, crying wasn’t going to help anyone.

WHAT THE FUCK. CRYING HELPED HER.

Having emotions does not make you weak. Having emotions makes you a person. Crying was helping her deal with the situation. Sharing her video was helping her deal with the situation. Posting the video was how she was dealing with the situation. Unfortunate assholes posting telling her NOT TO do the thing that she was doing, was not going to help her. 

When you seek the help of others – or just NEED someone else to witness you, you express a vulnerability that immediately exposes you to the opinion of others which I’m finding these days is the unfortunate issue with so much of what’s troubling in the world. Saying “I need you.” means the person suddenly is allowed to say, “Ok, but…” 

Fuck, no.

My bandaid for the world right now (’cause I can’t see a way to really fix things right now) is the following; next time anyone you have the chance to help says they need help, just say, “Yes.” stop and listen. Don’t do anything else. Humanity needs you to only listen and help.

If the help is to get something down from the high shelf, do that. Don’t then suggest they don’t put things so high if they can’t get them down themselves.

If the help is to lend money because they are in a tight spot, and you’re able to help, do that. Don’t then suggest they don’t live so frivolously that they don’t have any savings themselves.

If the help is to listen because the person needs to process emotions and a situation that was difficult to deal with at the moment, do that. Don’t offer your opinion of how they should have dealt with it at the moment or how they should manage their emotions now. 

If we could just, NOT. Offer one hand over our heart and one hand for them to hold should be what we strive to do, friends. Give it a try.