Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Greatest Love of All

Yes, the title does refer to the Whitney Houston classic.  It seemed appropriate given my topic.  And my love of 80's music.

I have been seeing a therapist for almost 4 months now and had lots of opportunity to talk about what is wrong with me.  I started seeing her due to job issues and general uncertainty about my work future.  Then, I was fired from that job for no good reason and I had to start doing some real soul searching.

What I discovered is that I have been struggling with certain things almost my whole life.  And that I was tired of these things controlling me and how I lived my life.

I have always put others before myself, almost always to my detriment.  The reason is is that I think everyone surrounding me is better than me, worth more than me.  I have always suffered from self esteem issues though I really couldn't tell you why.  I never felt right or comfortable in my own skin.  I have never really stood up for myself because I was afraid of repercussions or that people would have a bad opinion of me.  I always judged my self worth by what others thought of me and I still do.  Which is a pretty painful place to be.  To never feel cool enough or important enough to matter to anyone.  Social situations were and are terrifying to me.  So I avoid them as much as I can.  I assume that I am the most boring person there so I don't speak and the stress eats me alive.  I have a never ending soundtrack in my head, telling me that I am stupid, why did I say that, etc etc ad nauseum.

My therapist asked me to list some of the qualities I liked best about myself.  I couldn't think of one.  Silence filled the room as I struggled to think of anything.  I threw out a few trite things but couldn't believe that I couldn't think of one thing.

That's what I have struggled with since I started elementary school.  I have always had friends, boyfriends even.  But inside, this was eating me alive.  I met my husband and he treats me like a queen and thinks I am special and tells me so.  But I don't believe it.  This hurts him, thinking he isn't making me happy.  But it is me, all my negative thoughts rolling around in my head.

I had my daughter and I realized that I never want her to feel the way I have felt almost all my life.  Like I am less than.  I want her to believe she is the most precious and wonderful girl in the world, to feel she is worthwhile and can attain anything her heart desires.  So I knew I had to fix myself, to model the self confidence I want my Madeline to have.

I am 36 years old and finally trying to love myself, just as I am.  I am tired of letting people's opinions and treatment of me dictate how I feel about myself.  So the hard work has begun.  I feel like I am moving forward, slowly but surely.

As to why I have been so brutally honest about what I am going through and working on?  All of us have things that cripple us, don't allow us to live the life we could be living.  We only get one go around is my feeling and why not try to make it as wonderful as we can.  Some things happen in life that throw us for a loop, but there are plenty of things we have control over, things we can change in ourselves.  I should have worked on this years ago but I never did.  But I am doing it now.  We all have the power to make ourselves a little happier and I finally realized that I was tired of living half a life.

I know this was pretty self help booky and all, but it is something I wanted to get off my chest.  After carrying all this crap around for decades, I decided to dump it and live the rest of my life differently.  Whitney was right - learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.

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