Love You Some You

Whenever the topic of low self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem etc. ever comes up in our household, it never fails, my husband always finishes with his bold declaration “I love me some me” {his words to himself}.

When I first heard him utter those words (back in the earlier days when we were dating) I thought they sounded rather self centered and arrogant.

Part of me couldn’t understand how someone could truly LOVE THYSELF at such a level that they might disregard all others or all THINGS happening in the world around them to ensure complete self-preservation.

At least that was the thought process back then.

During those early times, when I was adverse to this mindset, I think was a little jealous and/or hurt by it. The concept of “I am my own man, I do what I want, when I want, how I want – because it serves me” attitude just seemed so narcissistic.

To some degree he still has some of that attitude about him…but I think he started to realize a few years into our relationship that it might not be fair to love yourself so much that you give others the perception they are without a doubt secondary in your life.   At the same time I started to come around (slowly) to the idea that if you didn’t put yourself first – nobody else would. But even then, it was still an idea for me.

In my 20’s and early 30’s  when I declared love for someone else, I had a tendency to put them first.  Even before myself. My pecking order was often my husband, my kids and myself (within our family unit). And on the most part I was REALLY happy with this.

Until all the walls of my life came crumbling down.

One tragic moment after another turned into 5 dramatic life changes in my world over a very short time period and I was literally FORCED to focus on myself if I had any chance of surviving it.

I couldn’t ignore what was happening in my life anymore and continue taking care of everyone else and their needs / desires first. I could no longer let the NUMB take over and become me / define me and destroy me.

AND, relying on professionals to instigate the improvements I needed and wanted became fruitless because I started using them as a crutch and an excuse as to why I wasn’t making the kind of progress I felt I deserved.

I wanted my life back (or some semblance thereof).  I needed to reclaim the power in my own universe.

I needed to become the driver – not the passenger.

I needed to get the hell out of dodge and start anew.

But what did that mean exactly?  Who was I and where exactly was I heading?

I used to be this person who spend all her days caring for others and never herself, so when it came time to face myself in the mirror…I found myself drowning in an identity crisis.  

I KNEW I needed help. But I also knew that it could ONLY come from within.

It no longer made sense to continue putting off self care or self preservation until things got better.  I had to make it better. ONLY me.

So how did I do it?

First step, was AWARENESS.

I had to get very clear on what was happening and the role I played in it. Lacking the ability to do this in my current state, I had to get off all my pharmaceuticals to clear my head.  I knew that they were supposed to treat physical pain, sleeplessness,  stress and anxiety but they were causing severe depression and depleting my ability to stay in what I refer to as a SANE mind.   *This step isn’t for everyone…but it needed to be done for me.

With a clearer head, I could start processing the damages.

I also had to ask (repetitively) WHO AM I?!

I had faint answers…but I didn’t have clarity. Not enough anyways.

I knew what I was professionally. That much was certain. But I had no clue what I was personally (other than a wife, mother and pretty absent friend).  I didn’t even know what I liked to do anymore…(for fun). I discovered that I had spent far too much of my life adapting to what everyone else wanted / liked to do.  I wasn’t sure if that was really me.

Turns out a lot of it was…but some of it wasn’t. So, I finally allowed myself to open up to the idea that I might have to redefine who I was. The more I explored, the more I found. This is a journey (still ongoing) that takes a while, but it’s well worth it.

I do not believe we can move towards a better life if we don’t know ourselves well enough to make it happen.

Second step, was INVENTORY.

Once I got a hold of who I was, I then needed to take inventory and take control of all that had happened over the years (and my role in it).  Even through the increased awareness of the ongoing pain and suffering I was still dealing with (still am), I was determined to create a plan of action and move forward.

Couldn’t do it without knowing where to go.

First, I made a list of all the loose ends that needed to be taken care of. (I am a todo list junkie – so this was extremely liberating for me). This was the quickest and easiest way to tackle the mountains upon mountains of STUFF that had piled up around me.

Many of those todo items I am still dealing with, which is totally fine with me.  At least I know they are no longer being ignored. Thank the lord!

I also made a list of the residual damages in my life…some which were in my control, others which were not that needed a long-term recovery plan.

Unfortunately with the kind of life-changing events that have occurred around me there are a lot of damages and many I am still dealing with. But I refuse to let them get the best of me.

So instead of staying angry at what has already happened and can no longer be changed, I decided to look at all my options for forward movement and weighed the pro’s and con’s between the best.

Narrowing down my options was very therapeutic as it gave me new HOPE that I hadn’t had in a very long time.  This was already progress. 

Third step, was TAKING ACTION!

Now this one required (and still does) a lot more than just stepping into awareness and taking inventory.  Both are actions, but at best they are SUBTLE actions.  They won’t make any difference unless they are truly transformed into real executables. So…I took my top contending “best options” and made the leap towards them.

Truth be told, I wasn’t entirely sure which option was going to serve me the best and result in the least resistance or residual damages.  But that was somewhat out of my control when I made the decision to follow my gut. It was all that I could do in the state that I was in.

I took the leap towards the option that provided the least amount of stress short term.

Usually short term gains are NOT my way of doing things, especially when it comes to business. But this was the biggest difference maker of them all for me (and my family). Without getting into exact details about what I did…I will tell you why I did it.

…Here’s why:

  1. I came to realize that life is WAY too short to ALWAYS hold out for the long-term win. There are no guarantees. Ever. Change happens too quickly. It’s unstoppable and we need to embrace that.
  2. I realized also that as quickly as my life fell apart it could just as easily improve. And if I chose to focus my attention on THAT possibility…I was far more likely to move in that direction instead. After-all, what we focus on expands!
  3. I also started to consider that there might actually be BETTER long-term gains available to me as a RESULT of my short term solutions (such as less pain and suffering, reduced stress and anxiety, reduced depression, increased confidence and  a stronger long-term outlook) and that it might be OK to think this way (from time to time).
    1. In other words, I started to figure that giving myself some short-term relief would likely give me the head space to do something even better (than I would have originally) for the long-term.
  4. And then….I started to think that – even though I couldn’t be sure, this might be one of the greatest gifts of all; the gift of loving / caring for yourself in the MOMENT  instead of worrying about the future.

Of course I am not oblivious to the fact that this may not work out…and that living ONLY for the moment doesn’t really help you get ahead in the future (unless you are doing both simultaneously).. but since I embarked on this journey I have been clearer, happier, more optimistic and more energized about what COULD be…instead of controlling the outcome in my own vision – than I have still my world crumbled.

With this new, short-term game plan, I wasn’t going to live in constant misery.   It was a refusal letter to that option.

Furthermore, this new decision allowed me to relieve the fear of the unknown. I was no longer going to allow myself to WALLOW in what MAY be in the future – or even take control over all kinds of things that I really have zero control over to begin with. It freed me.  It released me.

It’s not necessarily the PERFECT PLAN, but the bottom line is, it allowed me to “love me some me”.

And lets face it…

Schrodingers catThe future is as certain as the state of  Schrödinger’s cat for most of us.

So if you are – like me – accustomed to taking as many calculated risks as possible, controlling as much as you can and treading carefully for the long-term benefit and forgoing the short-term…you too may wish to consider for a moment that your overall sense of “what is” or “what could be” is perhaps as theoretical as the opposite version might be and that IF, in this very moment, things are not working in your favor, choosing the opposing theory – may actually prove better for you.

Perhaps it’s time to step back and love you some you!





Author: Freedom Fighter

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