“I had to learn to love myself”
That’s probably the most quoted saying that I read on the various mental health blogs.
I get it.
I used to hate myself. I still do. Every morning I look in the mirror and say “Wes, you’re a piece of shit.” So I understand the desire to not despise oneself.
To remedy this self-hatred, some have taken up a form of radical individualism: to not rely on others for happiness. To boldly proclaim oneself liberated from the sorrows that relationships bring. Some have even “married” themselves as a symbolic gesture of self-acceptance.
That’s cool, I guess.
Call me old-fashioned (or anti-American), but that’s hogwash. Pure tomfoolery. I mean, if you gotta love yourself, do what you gotta do. But you have to ask: is retreating into oneself the best option? This form of rugged American/Ayn Rand individualism, where the I doesn’t need anybody else, is what fostered this environment where people are shooting up post offices and public schools.
It’s nice to believe that all the love we require is within us. But that’s bullshit. That’s looking at the world with distrust. And distrust breeds contempt. And contempt breeds anger. Next thing you know, you’re collecting commemorative swords and reading Jordan Peterson.
Well, I don’t know if all of that’s true. But you get the idea: we’re social creatures….even the most introverted among us.
Look, I’m crazy. Not gonna lie, I take pills for this shit. If doctors are going to offer me drugs, I’m taking it. But after rehab, swimming through hurricanes, and flushing thousands of dollars down the toilet, literally and figuratively, on education and career development, I have learned to just…quit…giving…a fuck.
After I lost myself, I found myself.
That sounds fucking stupid and clichéd. But what I mean is that I came to realize that my conception of “self” was nonsense. What am I trying to prove? Why not focus on just being rather concerning myself with what others thought of me…or what I thought of myself.
Then it becomes a burden that’s suddenly lifted.
People often state that they’re tired of others hurting or betraying them emotionally. Which, that just sounds like emotional abuse and you need to get out of that relationship. BUT it’s important to not fall into this ego protectionism that’s encompassed under individualism. Sometimes people are just pieces of shit. Sometimes YOU are a piece of shit. But that’s just the condition of reality. The world is not out to get YOU.
But it’s important to not retreat into yourself. If you want love, you’ve got to give it.
I don’t know if I’m fuckin’ making sense. I might even be contradicting myself. But perhaps “loving yourself” isn’t the answer….perhaps becoming “indifferent to yourself” is a better option.