If I asked you to name everything you love… How long would it take for you to name yourself?

This question changed my life. So I’m asking you… How long would it take?

The truth is, I realised that I didn’t love myself. No. I was just pretending. All the time. I’d hear the stories… Tales in which you can’t find love, success, happiness and all the other things people strive to find in their lives, if you don’t love yourself first. And because I didn’t know how to start loving myself, I decided, one day, that I do love myself and I guess I just started believing my own made-up lie ever since.

But reality kicked in. A few weeks ago, I discovered that an awful rumour about myself had been going around in the city. A lot of people who I thought of as friends had heard it but no one found it important enough to ask about my version of the story. They just decided to judge me, based on what they were told. The day I found out about it, was one of the most difficult days in a long period of time. I literally did not know what to think, feel or do. I did not know how to behave. I did not know who to talk to. I guess you could say, that in just one second, my life had fallen apart. At least, that’s what it felt like.

As tough as it was for me to start building again, it also taught me a valuable life lesson. I learned the hard way that my self-worth was defined solely by the love, affection and affirmation of others. That’s why this rumour and those people judging me, allowed my world to stop spinning. That’s why I felt like my life had fallen apart. All these years I’ve put my happiness and my value in the hands of people who I thought I could trust.

Imagine what would’ve happened if I had been able to give myself the amount of love, affection and affirmation that I needed. If I had been the creator of my own happiness and value, instead of giving such a huge responsibility to outsiders, then I wouldn’t have needed them to feel good about myself. I wouldn’t have needed them to keep my world spinning. And the rumour? It wouldn’t have hurt me the way it did.

I feel lucky. Lucky that I experienced this now, in my twenties, with a whole life still ahead of me. I feel free. Free of so many burdens in life that we create for ourselves by thinking we need to impress certain people or by thinking we need the affirmation of others. I feel energized. Energized because I’ve spent the last weeks working on myself and because it feels right. It’s amazing how much you suddenly can achieve, if you replace the “what-would-they-think-of-me”-worrying space with the “what-do-I-need”-working space.

Looking back, I can only be thankful to those people for judging me and for breaking me down. It is because of them that I choose a different path. A path that I’m designing and one where I am in control.

I still don’t know exactly where to go from here and how I can learn to love myself. But I know one thing:

I’ll figure it out and wherever I’ll go, it’ll be because I choose to.

 

 

 

 

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