Almost the first thing any book, counsellor, psychologist, self-help guru, psychic, tarot reader, spell worker, pastor, priest, granny, blog post or article you consult about finding the person to fill the human size hole in your life is going to come out with something like:
“Before you can love others you must love yourself.
Once you love yourself then you are ready for others to love you”
If you said to me “do you love yourself” I would have looked at you like you were a moron and said “duh yes I love myself” goddess knows I spend enough time in my own company (I might be a tad antisocial) and I can guarantee I have more conversations with myself in my head than I do with other people, mainly because I’ve learnt to think it don’t say it. Plus I’ve spent a substantial amount of time and effort in learning to be me and not apologies for it.
However I’ve discovered something very very interesting. The entire world of people out there wanting to help you find true love are asking you the wrong question.
Think about it what is your idea of “Love thy self”? Responses will be things like:
- I like my own company
- I love the way my body looks all that time at the gym has paid off
- I’ve learnt to accept my faults they are part of me
- I’m emotionally stable and balanced
- I finally feel like I understand me
And so on and so forth, trust me I’ve said most of those things over the last few years (well apart from the going to the gym thing I don’t do gyms). However all of the above isn’t self love, its self acceptance, emotional intelligence and self confidence (all also needed for a healthy life and relationship).
So what is SELF LOVE. Quite simply it is putting you first 100% of the time in every situation and then making sure those around you are ok. You all just went that called being “SELFISH” no being selfish is putting yourself first and never giving a shit about anyone else other than you.
So I’m changing the question I ask myself to:
“Do you put yourself first 100% of the time before you worry about others”
And tragically the answer to that question is NO a big fat 100% NO I very rarely put me first at all let alone 100% of the time. Most people don’t put themselves first because to put yourself first tends to be termed “selfish”. However the first thing you are taught in any emergency situation is make sure you are physically, mentally and emotionally ok first and then you can help others. This lesson should be applied to your entire life because if you are constantly putting other peoples needs (emotional, mentally or physical) first then you don’t love yourself.
I actually avoid a lot of social situations because I find it incredibly stressful to be polite and unless I really hate you saying NO makes me feel guilty. Like most people I was raised to be “polite and nice” especially in public so if you don’t know me well I come across as a nice polite well brought up lady. I learnt as a child that rolling my eyes and saying the first thing that comes into my head as a response is not socially acceptable behaviour if you’re over the age of 3 and sober it’s actually considered rude. So mostly I say very little and strangers have this odd idea I’m “quiet”. Trust me anyone who knows me well is going to tell you I am not quiet, mostly my responses will be honest but probably sarcastic and borderline rude and if you ask me to do something and I don’t want to I will still do it but you’ll hear me bitch about it for the next millennium.
Not putting me first (emotional, mentally and physically) has over an accumulated period of time been detrimental to my health (emotional, mental and physically). I’ve always been one of those people who works over their required hours because I’m constantly being asked to do shit that is not in my job description or I stress that my boss will be irritated that x didn’t get done or I inbox wasn’t cleared by COB. I end up going to social engagements I don’t want to be at because I really have an issue saying no I don’t want to come without feeling rude and mean. I get volunteered for things I do not want to do but end up doing them because whoever volunteered me knew I’d feel bad if I said “no you volunteered me you can un-volunteer me” and as tired, stressed and ike as I might feel doing it is less stressful than having an argument about not doing it.
Perfect example of how bad I am at putting myself first – I actually went to work after spending the night in the emergency ward thanks to pain from my then undiagnosed rheumatoid arthritis and I didn’t tell my boss I’d been in hospital overnight only reason anyone found out was because I still had my hospital bracelet on and when they tried to send me home I said no because the girl training me only had 3 days to do it.
Effectively I get so stressed about not disappointing someone or how they will feel or react that I can’t say NO without feeling guilt ridden and taking a day off because I’m sick also makes me feel guilty. Well guess what I’m changing, I have to change I have no choice my inability to put me first and say NO is literally killing me.
I got diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and apart from making my life incredibly painful and making it very hard to do day to day shit without help it’s made me take a long hard look at my life and wonder how the hell did I let my health get this bad. I could just be one of the unlucky people genetic vulnerable to Auto Immune Diseases, which I probably am but for the current flair up to be this bad I had to have ignored every warning symptom that I was getting sick. I still worked over my required hours despise being in incredible pain, I made medical appointment to be outside of work hours because I’m still on probation and I didn’t want to upset HR by taking leave to get my tests done. I turned up to social events I’d agreed to go to doped to the eyeballs on pain killers because I didn’t want to ring up and say I’m sick I can’t come.
Not any more bad days may require a day off work, doctors instructions. I don’t want to give up my job I like working but if I don’t start putting me first 100% of the time I’m going to wind up on a Disability Pension by 45 because I literally won’t be able to take care of myself. The husband hunt was basically on hold anyway but now I have to learn to Love Thy Self which might take a little time I’m not good at putting me first 100% of the time before I even think about going back to The Husband Hunt. I also need to be in a better mental, emotional and physically less painful place in my life before I even consider trying to let someone else into my crazy world.