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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Manda's Musings-How to REALLY Learn to Love Yourself.

The other day, another one of my very closest friends moved away to Washington DC. He was terrified because he knew no one there and had no idea what to expect. We were terrified because, like always when people move, we wondered what the future would hold for our friendship. Will we change? Definitely, change is inevitable. Will we change so much that we are no longer friends? That is up for the universe to decide. I happen to be of the belief that our bond is stronger and will be able to sustain throughout.

As you know I never thought this would happen to me. I thought I would be the one moving and my friends would be the ones adjusting to their lives without me. I had it all figured out so that the Universe could laugh at the plans I had made (I have a tendency to do that). Currently all of the people I have considered BEST Friends do not live anywhere near me anymore. The one who is closest is about an hour and a half away, so not too bad. The furthest is now in Washington DC. Part of having such a big heart is making friends across the country, which I have done, and across the world. I also have to accept that my friends will change, and so will I, but we may be able to keep what we have if we both want it.

When talking to this friend, I am not sure he feels comfortable having his name posted which is why I haven't, I told him that he has to be comfortable with himself, so that people can really get to know him there. His response is that he doesn't know if he want's people to know and like him there, so when he leaves it will be easier. This definitely reflects the opinions and feelings I have had the past decade in Sioux Falls. He told me he loved me and I told him I love him too. We talked about that a lot, and how many people a person can love. I think the number is infinite.

Why do we need to love each other? Why do we need other people's love to feel comfort and acceptance? Haven't we been told that to be loved by others we must truly love ourselves?

I think that is wrong. I think to be loved by others we must be honest with ourselves, and others, about who we are. However, to love ourselves, we must witness the love of others. I think we have it a bit backwards, and here is why.

I have known myself longer than anyone else. For the 9 months I was in the womb, my mom, dad and brother thought I could be an Amanda or I could be a Nicolas. I already knew I was a Manda and I was growing and developing and getting to know myself, and my family, before the day I would arrive and change their lives forever (For the better of course). With knowing myself comes lying to myself. Giving myself filters aka survival skills/defects, to protect myself from the things that may hurt me in the coming years. As I grew the filters changed, but I never could see myself 100% without them.

Now, this is where others come in. When I was true with myself, and others, of who I was. I felt comfortable in my skin. I could make friends/love people who loved me for who I was and brought out the best qualities in me. They kind of were like the maintenance on the filters. Helped me clear away the grime, and see things for what they were. Without them, I only saw myself through dirt that had accrued throughout the years and felt normal and comforting.

Now, when I was in an uncomfortable place with myself the people I met did nothing for me. They added filters and grime to my current set up, they pointed out things about me that were ugly and awful, and helped me to hate myself, and in the end I had to do a lot of work to go back through and figure out which grime and muck was my own, and which was added for me by the people I was surrounding myself with. I had to start being honest with myself, again about who I was and what I felt. Then I could be honest with others, and they could get to know me again and adjust and help me clean up the distorted views I had of myself.

How can I truly love myself, if I don't know what about me is loveable? If you asked me what I loved about myself it would probably be different from the things that people love about me, probably more conservative. The things other people love about me are so much deeper. Assets and personality traits I never knew I even had. Thank god my friends and family have been there to clear away the muck.

Now, what you love most about my blog may or may not be the fact that I have no proof for anything. My blog is not one of those "Here are the facts of why Paleo is good for you and here is what I think about it." Kind of blogs. My blog is "This is my experience, and my life, put out there for you to read. I hope you learn something."

Without any proof-or motivation even-the point of this post is simple. You can not truly love yourself without the love of others. HOWEVER, the love of others may be skewed and placed inappropriately if you are not honest about who you are with yourself and the universe. If you are unsure of who you are, take a self inventory. Take a look at yourself and the life you live and start getting honest. One of my very best friends told me when I left my ex-husband that her way of learning to tell the truth was to say "That was a lie" after every lie. I tell you what, it works! Every time I said something that made me feel bad, or that was not a truth, I followed it up with, "That was a lie" and the edited true statement. It really helped me become comfortable with disappointing people. (The main reason I lied so much in my life was fear of disappointment.) It also really helped people get to know the real me, and hey, they seem to love me.

So thank you, thank each and every one of you, for showing me what about me is truly loveable. Without you I would think the best quality I have is that I hold the door for people and I say "bless you" when anyone sneezes. My values of myself are superficial due to the many years of filters I have created to protect myself from being hurt. Thank you for pulling out the magic cleaning detergent to make those filters sparkle, so I can truly see myself for who I am. This love has to continue, we can't stop telling each other what we love or why we love each other, because then our filters will start to build grime and self-hate again.

An update on my friend status. Through a lot of self love and self expression I have 2 very close friends here again. One even came with a husband who likes Ben! :) I am so grateful to have another best friend close. The other is my future sister-in-law, who I am so grateful I love. I was terrified when I first met her that she and I would never get along and always be at odds. Turns out she is a lot like my best friend Tove, which makes it very very easy to love her.

Then there are all of you, some of you love me out loud, and others quietly from a distance. I hope you know that I love you, as much of you as you have let me know. The point of being honest is that people can love you for who you are, but we can't love something if we don't know anything about it. I know it is scary, but be honest, and I promise people will love you. I already do.

SO MUCH LOVE to all of you!


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