You’d never guess but I was one of the most self-destructive people with a very bad sense of self. It’s interesting how people can go through life putting on a facade, this is what I did for many years. People saw me as an extrovert, fitness enthusiast, an empowering and positive individual. I allowed people to see what I wanted them to see. I wasn’t willing to put down the shield and show my vulnerability, I had to maintain a sense of being tough and in control. I faced an inner conflict, being a personal trainer with a strong physique, I felt it wouldn’t make sense for me to have a sensitive soul.
In fact, I prided myself on being someone who just charged through life, no matter what life threw at me I knew I could handle it. I defined myself in this way, I actually liked the struggle because it showed that I was a fighter. In relationships, I always chose people that I could “save”, it almost became a project for me. I lived like this for years, until I couldn’t handle it anymore.
I felt so broken and empty inside and I didn’t know why. I felt like I had my shit together so why did I feel so miserable? My relationships we’re suffering and It was all of a reflection of how I felt about myself. No perfect body or achievement could ever make up for this.
I never stopped to think, maybe the reason things aren’t going right is really because of my lack of self-love and respect? Maybe i’m getting into the wrong relationships because I can’t accept myself and my body?
I then had a heart to heart with a friend of mine and she posed the question: Do you think maybe the reason you can’t accept your body is because you can’t accept yourself? Do you think you are getting into bad relationships because you don’t believe you deserve better?
That really stuck with me for a few days, I sat down and thought about it. Since i’m extremely inquisitive and analytical I wanted to know the answer and understand myself better. I had an epiphany a few weeks later while I was outside running. I thought to myself ” Maybe I am seeking the wrong relationships in order to fill a void in myself and maybe the people I choose reflect what I lack.”
Ok, now we are getting somewhere. That night I went home and I started journaling and immersing myself in articles and books about self-love and relationships. I also decided It was time to see a therapist to work through these issues, I didn’t want to end up in my 30’s not having mastered self-love and acceptance. I remember sitting in our first session and saying to her ” I can’t go on a date until I lose 3lbs, it’s not OK. I just don’t think I’M good enough yet.” She thought it was a sad story.
It was such an amazing experience, peeling all the layers, getting in touch with my true self and letting go of any negative beliefs I was holding onto. Through therapy and doing the work on my own, I slowly began to show myself more compassion and kindness. I was starting to give myself What I had been deprived of for years: Self-love and acceptance.
What we’re the steps?
1) My first step was to ask 4 of my friends about my 5 best personal qualities and then reflect on them.
2) Think about ” Why you aren’t good enough”? Good enough for who? If you aren’t then who else is?
3) Practice receiving compliments and accepting them rather than deflecting them and changing the subject. Really take it in and appreciate it.
This translated into attracting better relationships, strengthening relationships with my family and friends because I was more authentic and people started to see me for who I really was.
To sum things up, self-love and acceptance is the absolute key to creative positive relationships. Loving your body will come once you learn to love yourself as you are right now.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog as I dig deeper into relationships, sexuality and self-love.