lifestyle, Posts, writing

The Lack Of Self-Love And Its Side Effects

This has been a crazy competitive year so far. With Election Day looming here in Brazil, it’s fair to state that the last few months have been nothing but absolute, divided chaos.

Nevertheless, the potential rise of a mysoginistic candidate has awoken the righteousness out of people! I mean it. Never in my 20 years of existence have I ever witnessed so much empowerment among women, men and the entire LGBTQ+ community. This growing embrace feels amazing. Among all the controversy, I’m lucky enough to be present in an era where people can pridefully display their true colors. I mean, if no presidential a-holes put an end to that.

Even though we may – and should – be enclosed by welcoming love, unfortunately it can’t trespass the boundaries of our bodies, at least not permanently. In order for this sentiment to prosper, the fuel must be within us in order to complete what we receive from outside sources. After all, one will not be able to recognize their own artistry through the eyes of others.

What Is Self-Love?

Loving oneself by no means indicates obsession or narcissism. Instead, the keyword is acceptance. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve written it in articles, doesn’t that say something?

Self-love is not about highlighting the cheerful, positive facets and rebuffing subjective flaws. I call them subjective because what might be inadequate in your perspective might not even be that big a deal. Photoshopped fixes came to be full blown surgeries that somehow dug their way into our brains and took up our perception of ourselves and others, making them wrongful and generalized.

But hey, don’t be fooled by appearance only. Self-love goes far beyond that.

Since it flourishes from the inside out, its roots lie in cozying up with your own essence. Your true self, the one that holds together every piece of your being, whether it is broken, comfortable, extroverted, joyful, afraid…each of these attributes, among countless others, have their own little corner inside of you. They are you. They may be you for now, or they may be you forever. In both cases, the secret hides in taking up the reins of life, for it’s one thing you can claim as yours.

Well said, but for some of us that’s easier said than done.

When Acceptance Is Absent, It Opens The Wrong Gates

As I write this I recall the rut I found myself into over the past year, which stemmed from the constant quarreling with my own personality and my inability to realize people could be whoever they wished to, with no need to feel shame for that. My rampant self-dislike echoed in an unsuccessful relationship – very loudly at that – and further deepened my situation. The vestiges aren’t quite faded, yet their teachings remained.

During that time, I went through cyclic phases of comparison, bitterness and envy. Each one of those used to exchange orders, disabling my willpower to take a step back and analyze the circumstances with rationality, even for a fleeting instant.

Obviously, that wouldn’t happen in a matter of days. Unbeknown to me, I needed time. Time, so the scenery would distance itself and the “a-ha” moment would dawn. This day has come, I’ve gained a long awaited sense of perspective and most importantly grown from a former problem, which will assist me in the journey of accepting my own person from now on.

Do I sound positive? Thanks, that’s new to me as well. Things weren’t always like this, though.

Comparison Is Poison. Suck It Out, Gradually.

What comes to your mind when you think of “addiction”?

Most likely, pills and bottles popped up, I assume. However, if you’ve dealt with an inferiority complex at some point, you know comparison can be just as hooking. It’s a state of incessant search for perfection in others while ruminating over all the reasons you can’t hold a candle to them. Like smoking, it’s toxic, yet we constantly spot people  nonchalantly puffing out smoke wherever we go.

Truth is, with obsession comes distortion. That applies better if whoever you’re comparing yourself to isn’t someone you live together with, or don’t know them at all. That way, it’s only natural for you to romanticize their smiling selfies and unconsciously erase the flaws you aren’t even aware of in the first place! You know, familiarizing yourself with someone is no different from listening to a song on repeat: initially, the vocals stand out, followed by the main instrumentals. Still, with enough effort and acquaintance, you could hear the trembling bass that adds up to the whole melody, even though it’s hidden at first.

In halting compulsion, nothing helped me more than becoming familiar with the target of my fixation. In the past I’ve envied people who I became close friends with later on, which was enough to bring out their ordinariness and even their similarity to myself. I felt relief in scolding my former version who got tricked into believing some sort of ghost perfection.

Though breaking a habit may be tough as hell, it’s a process. I know, this sentence may induce a few eye-rolls, specially if whoever’s reading is in the middle of a crisis. It’s a cliché. But there’s a reason clichés are always among us: because they’re intertwined with reality. Oh, and they’re so predictable. This way, we know that leaving a toxic repetitive pattern will make a world of difference.

After a long and overdue while, I realized I should get a grip on myself. My life would be stagnant if I kept prying into other people’s business instead of my own. Mind you, I had a lot to do at that time! Oftentimes, all it takes is a not-so-sweet reminder from the universe that you’re straight up wasting precious time on this earth.

Envy In A Few Metaphors

It’s admirable how some people are so sure of themselves. Those with unwavering self-confidence, or even those who excel at feigning it. “The fellas must live with rock hard inner-peace”, I think to myself. “They do one hell of a job at being themselves”. Or would that be my skewed perspective pulling a fast one on me again, huh?

See, by now most people should bear in mind that we’re not fully ourselves. Through life, we are bombarded by various outlooks, some of which stick to our brains harder than others. This is how I’d put it: we are pieces of encounters, of everything we’ve been through. We’re many selves in one. You may not know it, but somewhere there’s a piece of you rambling around.

In spite of that, we can still be our own person. Even if we’re unconsciously shaped as we grow, right now we still get to decide how to dress, what music we like, or who to vote for and why. That album your friend begged you to listen to, whether it’s a hit or not depends on your personal taste. In spite of that, we are all different.

I feel rather guilty writing this part due to my history of attempts at people-pleasing being an extensive one, so much that I would need to sit alone at times and struggle to remind myself of who I was. Devoid of any sense of self-worth, I proceeded to follow those I envied as I ignored my essence and my preferences for the sake of likes – them being real or born from an empty click.

It’s no secret that a consequence would arise from that joke. Envy is like bindweed, snatch it out at once and watch it grow all over again, yet dig out dozens of feet and you may solve the problem. I try to carry the constant reminder that while some people shine out the door, others stay in and shine anyway, all they should do is keep the window ajar.

Some factors hinder the process of self knowledge to a great extent, specially during childhood years. Whether we weren’t as good in math or as pretty as so-and-so, or have siblings everybody else seems to like better than us, what coiled up inside us and refused to leave is the false notion that we must be followers in order to somehow reach success. We feel unfit and lonely because our twisted ideas assure us those people are perfect and immune to problems. But let me break the news for you: whoever triggers within you that feeling of worthlessness is nothing but rough vocals. Within them, they bear a whole VIP orchestra. And you’re not VIP. Remember that.

If It Gets Unbearable, There’s Something More To It

I am not writing this as a person who has been “cured” from my lack of self-love. My confidence oscillates daily, as does everyone else’s. I’ve dealt with my downs long enough to get to the core of them and inspect the issue closely. I’m well aware of what sparks it and work hard to make it vanish. Think of situations as heart rate monitors: if they’re stagnant, we die.

However, there are cases when one’s sense of worth drops to such a low point that the agent ceases to be trauma alone. When it comes to the many branches of anxiety and depression, brain chemistry can also be to blame. Unnoticed by lots of non-sufferers, these disorders can be disabling and contribute to misinterpretation of the way worldly situations really are. It is important to seek help, although reluctantly at times, because I’ve seen through those distorted lenses myself and only recently I’ve been able to regain my point of view.

Whatever section you find yourself in, I hope this helps: we are born different for a reason. Whatever the gender, the job, the color, each of us has something to do here. Don’t know what it is? Relax, neither do I. Until we figure it out, let’s try and get a hold of ourselves. The person we love is tucked into the innermost part of our being, but it’s such a scaredy-cat, it’s terrified of comparison and hate. Therefore, be gentle with it. Shut down the noises. Feed it daily and it’ll be pleased to be with you for as long as you live.

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