SELF LOVE

self love help

So a few posts back I stated that I didn’t believe in falling in love.  At the end of that same post, I vowed to delve into this belief of mine to see if it really was true.  And since then, over the last few weeks, I’ve been knuckling down to some work…. on loving myself. 

Well, if I don’t love myself (as some of my earlier blog posts demonstrated – I was not my biggest fan) then what love do I have to give to others?

If I am constantly at war with myself, how the hell did I think I was going to live peacefully with another?

Now it’s a work in progress but we are making some headway… I think I’m starting to fall a little in love with myself. 

What makes me think this?  Well according to my research, I’ve got all the symptoms.

Everything seems brighter and lighter and it’s like the quality of my life has been upgraded to high definition.  Every day is just full of fun, even the mundane things – it’s like I’m constantly at play.  Comments over heard or songs that come on the radio are like divinely timed messages and nothing appears as if by accident.

When I “threw out all those boxes” as mentioned in my previous post, I also dropped my own fixed expectations and in doing so I have allowed a little love to flourish within myself – just as it would with another person if I didn’t require them to meet a ridiculous checklist of criteria.

I feel as though slowly but surely I am waking up to the error of my ways and it’s supporting the idea that mine is the only reality – In that it really doesn’t matter what is going on around me or what I think people think I should or shouldn’t be doing because my thoughts are my thoughts and are the only ones that are capable of keeping me in the light or the dark, not other people’s.

In your thirties, dating steps up a notch, particularly for the ladies with their biological clocks ticking and family members not letting you forget it either. 

It is also at this time I think we believe that we know ourselves more and are so much clearer about what we need and the truth of who we are – we’ve had thirty odd years of experience after all.

But do we really know ourselves? 

Has our 30 plus years of life learning experiences really taught us what we do and don’t want?

Or could this actually be the turning point where the magic happens?

Where we say to ourselves “Holy crap, I’m not entirely sure I want any of this stuff I’ve been hell-bent on getting for the last god knows how many years!”

I feel right now that I’ve been chasing after things for so long that I’ve completely forgotten why I am chasing after them.

When questioning myself on them right now I actually can’t come up with a logical reason to be dedicating my life journey to some of them and compromising my happiness in the process of attaining them.

Just like my dates, I was going through life much the same way.  I started each day with an extremely detailed plan and a checklist of “what I need to be happy” laid out and all that really did was disappoint me. 

So it turns out my own boxes were actually boxing me in. 

I have realised that my days couldn’t just unfold and be enjoyed and experienced as I began each one with far too many expectations.

I reckon I had a bloody good idea of what I wanted when I was about 10 years old but for the 20 years that followed I was conditioned to want other things, things that actually other people wanted for me, or things that society told me I should be wanting. 

Essentially I got lost chasing after stuff I certainly don’t need and don’t really want either.

I’m starting to realise that things such as careers, money, partners, having a family of my own don’t actually matter. 

There is only one thing that does and that is how I FEEL. 

Because even if I’m rolling around in my own cash in my beautiful 5 bedroom home in the suburbs with my perfect husband and our 3 children, if I’m miserable then the whole lot is totally pointless.

So in light of the above, dating has become a hell of a lot simpler.   

I am only looking out for one thing now and that is the way someone makes me feel as opposed to their attributes.

It’s funny how love – in my case an unfamiliar dose of self-love – can come in and illuminate what is actually real for us and what really matters.

This little bit of self-love has shifted me from where I was before and in fact where I have been for quite a while.

I’m not sure where I am being shifted to and I have no idea what the outcome will be. 

To be perfectly honest, I’m feeling a little naked with my cast iron belief system having just had a mighty shake-up but I’m learning to own it… wobbly bits and all!

And I am starting to believe that all else aside, self-love could, in fact, triumph all.

LOVE DEBATE

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Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge believer in love, I have so much love for so many people and things, in fact, I probably dish out love too freely. 

But perhaps my interpretation of love is not the same as yours. 

In fact, I’ll be so bold as to say that every single one of us has a different perception of the word “love.”

When I talk about love I refer to something that evokes true and physical emotion from me.  From goosebumps, butterflies, tears, laughter, smiles and everything in between.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and I consider myself to be a rather empathetic person. 

A tad too emotionally charged I guess, but it has it’s benefits as well as it’s downfalls, and you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth…

However, I don’t believe in falling in love.

My gripe is with the “in” word – I don’t believe I’ll ever fall IN love.

In this statement, I’ve also got a problem with the word “falling” to be honest with you.

That just suggests an accident.  A loss of control.  An error of judgement.

We don’t fall on purpose and falls generally result in injury.

A friend said to me a few years ago – “Camilla, I can’t wait for you to fall in love, it’s the best feeling in the world.” 

and my immediate response was – “Pah! I’m never going to fall in love, I’m not that stupid. Why would I pass all my emotional well being over to another person and then have them do whatever they want with it?”

Now, it may sound sad and bitter, but that’s just how it is for me.

I’m also a bit of a control freak too so the idea of surrendering or handing anything over sends me into a bit of a meltdown!

But, I’ve seen people who have “fallen in love” and have gotten their hearts broken.

Sure, I’ve had breakups. 

I’ve been hurt, disappointed, upset. 

I’ve mourned a loss for a few days with my friends Pinot, Sauvignon and Ben and Jerry, but within a couple of days I’ve dusted myself off and got back out there again as life goes on – it’s just a change in your direction.

And the more changes in your direction, the quicker you get used to hitting the ground running with the new one.

Now I’m referring to all kinds of relationships here.  Be it a business relationship that went sour, a romantic relationship that went tits up, maybe you got evicted from your home or whatever. 

I know from umpteen personal experiences on the matter that breaking away from areas of comfort isn’t easy but the new opportunities that present themselves will kick the previous right into the gutter if you allow them to. 

That means you stop moping around, pull your shit together, get the faith and embrace the new way.

I’m a firm believer that someone up there has got it all in hand so the less resistance you give the easier it is to move forward.

So back to the “in love” debate…

As we get older, collecting life’s little bumps and scrapes along the way, I think it gets harder and harder to fully trust and I guess for me, when it comes to romance, that’s never imagining myself falling in love.

That’s right, I’m a fully fledged “box ticker!”  – And I can tell you right now, that hasn’t been working out so well for me these past few years.

Because we can’t help but learn from our experiences, the barriers we keep building get thicker and thicker or stronger and stronger.  We don’t even realise we’re doing it, it’s just a new coat of armour we wear or a new behaviour we adopt and we’ve had them for so long we don’t even know the darn things are there!

It’s our primal response to fear, it’s human nature and it’s our way of keeping ourselves safe. 

It’s our primal instinct to protect ourselves which is vital to our survival. 

And when confronted with situations that remind of us of bad past experiences then we go into fight or flight mode.

I’m usually a fighter with most things but it when comes to dealing with true matters of the heart where there is another human being involved who is unpredictable and complicated – I’m off!

It only took the one time of putting our hand in the fire as a toddler to learn that we never put our hand in the fire again.

Now despite everything I have just said and being fully aware that this is my own primal instincts protecting me and knowing I should budge a little and warm up to the idea of “falling in love” I can’t shake the feeling that placing your heart in someone else’s hands to be damaged seems like plain carelessness to me!

So I’m currently in the process of changing tactics (I shall be a box ticker no more!) …which to do so means I have the rather messy job of challenging some areas of my own belief system.

Yes, folks!  I am fully undressing it, layer by layer to see if actually, just maybe, my “oh so strong” belief system has in fact been built on ridiculous assumptions and completely untrue facts… and is in other words… total BS.

MANIPULATION GAME

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I find it ironic that we’re in a particularly strong age of mental health awareness and politically correct body positivity yet the “Body Perfecting” industry is still peddling empty promises now more than it ever has! 

We are constantly bombarded with the latest technology, treatments, procedures and products to fix the body issues that both society and the media continues to riddle us with.

Our insta feeds feature heavily edited “results” leading us to believe that we’re only a few credit card transactions away from having our body hangups banished for good.

But it’s all BS.

Even if all this breakthrough technology worked, which the majority does not, we’d still be forced to feel inadequate by the media in other ways – Because how else are these guys going to sell us stuff that we don’t actually need? 

The advertising companies are the worst at playing on our insecurities and creating monsters out of them.  As if we didn’t have enough demons of our own!

Instead of embracing our true selves, we’re constantly trying to change our appearance and thanks to a whole host of influencers, we’re all after cookie-cutter results.

We’ve forgotten how to think and want for ourselves, we just get swept up in lust for the “next best thing.”  We want what “she” has or “he” has and are striving for perfection that doesn’t exist.

So we’ve learnt ways in which to bend reality to some degree to get what we desire – From likes on Facebook and Instagram to bagging a date on Tinder or even nailing that job interview.

Now, I’m not saying all millennials are internet addicted, narcissistic “snowflakes” that are too self-obsessed to quit posting doctored selfies or “perfect posts” and start living in the real world.  But I think we all struggle to some degree to fully accept our own reality.  Because of this, we have cleverly crafted our own way of manipulating the truth.

You know, my single greatest reason for disappointments and annoyance these days is when people make out to be someone that they are not.  

BUT the truth is, If we are manipulating our own truth how can we be surprised when others manipulate theirs?

I’ve heard a few times over the years that what annoys you most in other people does so because it is a direct reflection of something in you that you dislike. 

So it would appear that I am in fact solely responsible for the annoyance and disappointment I feel about others.  But to be honest with you I find this new realisation quite comforting.  We have no control over others, but we do have control over ourselves and the ability to change what we don’t like.  

So I guess it’s time for me to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

As the saying goes “you should never judge a book by its cover” and now more than ever, we shouldn’t take everything at face value…. including our own reflection that stares back at us.