Last week, three questions weighed heavy on my soul.
- What is it that makes it so hard for some of us to feel like we deserve to be happy?
- How is it that we learned to be so comfortable with self-flagellation?
- And more importantly, how can we stop that shit?
I don’t have all the answers.
That’s one of the beautiful things about life; it’s up for interpretation.
I can’t speak for everyone. I’m not a trained psychologist. I’m a writer.
For me, the thing that made it so difficult to feel deserving of happiness, was my self-image; it was waaayyy out of whack.
When you spend a lifetime building an inner collage titled “All the Bad Things”, it becomes difficult for happiness to live. Your body and mind get used to feeling like shit. Anxiety and depression seem normal.
Happiness is a foreign concept.
Since 2004, I went from being a man who looked in the mirror and threw up to being a man capable of a healthy loving relationship with a beautiful and amazing woman.
It took a shit-ton of work; gratitude lists, goals, visualizations, meditations, yoga, mindfulness, Stand Up Paddling.
So, on birthday, when I saw those flowers, realized I am living the life of my dreams, it surprised me to have the reaction I had.
“You’re worthless. She deserves better. This won’t last too much longer. You’re a piece of shit.”
It had been a long time since those words had an emotional impact.
They’ve always been there, still are. And I did a damn good job bringing enough positive feelings to the table to offset their impact. But ultimately, I never really addressed my self-loathing inner conversation in a healthy manner.
Sometimes self-improvement techniques are misguided and badly prescribed.
I think that’s why I’d been so pissed off at the Gurus. I did what they suggested and still felt like shit. Not much changed. It felt like I’d bought snake oil from a salesman, rather than a cure to what ails me.
What ails me is self-flagellation.
Discomfort is my comfort zone.
Looking back, it started as a defense mechanism.
I am very sensitive. It was heartbreaking to be a child with such a loving heart. People around me were so quick pointing out flaws.
One boys mother actually yelled out to her son at the pool in the YMCA that; “Timmy is much fatter than you!”, then she was kind enough to make sure I heard her correctly over pizza later that evening.
From that point forward, my mind told me that I’m fat, ugly and should be ashamed of myself.
That’s one of many moments that I tucked away in a corner of my mind. Eventually, a part of me decided that I would beat everyone to the punch. For years I prided myself on the fact that NO ONE could say something mean about me that I hadn’t already said.
Self-deprivation became my default.
And last weekend I discovered that it never went away.
On Saturday, I wept while telling a story.
During a guided meditation, my mind saw me holding a studded belt from 1984.
All of this time, 20+ years, that belt has symbolically served beatings on a daily basis.
No lapse in judgement is too small. No slip of the tongue too inconsequential. No failed effort left unpunished.
Letting go, is a challenge.
So, how do we stop that shit?
It sounds a bit cliche, but the answer, for me, is self-love.
Last Sunday, I woke up in Love with Myself and in Love with YOU.
We may not even know one another.
Over 60% of the people on my email list are strangers. They’ve never even introduced themselves, and that’s ok. My point is, I don’t need to know you, to love you.
I love me, and I see myself in you.
We’re only human. We each interpret life as it unfolds. We each have our things that we hold onto.
I wish I could walk you through and guide you to a state of being that you were in love with you, your past, your future and your place in this world.
But, I can’t do that in a blog post.
I doubt that I can do it through my next book. But, that won’t stop me from trying.
What I can do, is keep sending out a message each week; share with you openly, honestly and without reservation and hope that it inspires you to dig deeper and breakthrough your walls so that you can enjoy this feeling I have at this moment.
Peace is a beautiful feeling.
A little weird for me. It’s almost as if we short circuited my anxiety receptors It feels like I can do anything my heart desires, and more importantly it feels Okay if nothing greater comes.
After a lifetime of being at war with myself, it feels really, really good to write to you today.
My hope is that my presence here has been and will continue to bring more healing into this world.
Thank you all for reading my words.
My hope is that you leave this website with a little more love in your heart, a bounce in your step and a smile on your face. If you do, it would be awesome for you to share this post with your friends.
Talk to you next week.
Love your face!