In the spirit of Valentine’s Day I’d like to share a few pieces this week on self love. Here is number one.
I have this ideal version of myself in my head, and I am nowhere close to her. She is an enhanced version of me -poised and less shy. She stands up for herself and others, consistently partakes in random acts of kindness and works to create whimsy and joy in a world that so easily becomes mundane. She bikes, does yoga or dances every single day because she wants to and it makes her feel good. She has a good sense of adventure and goes out to find it even if she’s by herself. She writes and reads constantly and remembers the details in the movies she’s seen. She isn’t afraid, or if she is she faces her fears. Confrontation doesn’t make her whither and her feelings and emotions aren’t guarded by moats and thick castle walls. She knows Italian and wants to learn French. She makes macaroons and cooks dinner at night. She travels, really travels and doesn’t hesitate to spend a day, a weekend, or seven days somewhere foreign even if she’s by herself. She responds in good time, and doesn’t freeze up when hit with someone unexpected. She is witty and charming. She wears leggings, tights, skirts, dresses, yoga pants, and tshirts, flats and Chuck Taylors, jewelry and glitter. She has watched all the movies she owns and has read all the books in her to be read pile (making the pile itself nonexistant). She can sing but only does it for herself.
I have this amazing image of this fierce whimsical woman I want to be and I let everything about this image crush my spirit because I’m not her. I am awkward and quiet, not motivated enough to get into a fitness routine and I spend most Friday nights alone watching tv or writing and wishing I was watching movies in the company of someone else. This makes me frantic with the need to go out and feel like I’m meeting people or having an adventure or doing something to better my life when some times there really isn’t anything to do.
Previously I filled this void by taking myself out buying books or movies and filling up on sugar of dinner out. Since I’ve mostly stopped that I’ve been more emotional, unsure what to do with myself and my boredom.
Overall I’m coming to terms with some of these things. I’m figuring out how to accept myself. Just because people are busy doesn’t mean they don’t care about me. A night (or several) in doesn’t mean I’m a loser or wasting my life. As long as I’m enjoying myself and not feeling bad about it then taking a nap at 6pm or reading a book all night in my bed is perfectly fine. I love books. And naps.
In learning to accept me I struggle with the line between acceptance and complacency. I can not be complacent. It will result in all the things I could hate about myself. Complacency ruins my health, aids in depression, causes that don’t-give-a-shit attitude to leads to more debt, weight gain and a significant lack of words on a page.
Instead I must accept who I am right now. And I must be willing to grow from this point right here. I need to get out and have more fun, open myself to new experiences and take the time to cook a new meal (instead of stopping somewhere), even if I’m just cooking for myself.
The difference between acceptance and complacency is about not giving in. It’s knowing it is okay, that you aren’t the perfect image of yourself, not getting overwhelmed or anxious about it but also not using this fact to give up all together.
Accepting yourself is about coming to terms with who you are at this very moment. It’s about embracing your past and responding to situations in ways that will not make you spiral downward. It is about learning from your past experiences and not continuing with those bad habits unless you are okay with the result. It’s also about taking a step back, a huge deep breath and not beating yourself up for not being the perfect version of yourself.
The only way I can suggest this happen is with a lot of thought. It’s with a lot of delayed reactions. Maybe meditation. Making lists. Spending time alone to really figure out who you are. Don’t bend or break for someone else. Know that you are the person you were meant to be right in this very moment. And you are the only person who is ever going to be you.