I am in Sydney at the moment for some intensive psychology training. New experiences, new people. Away from most of my usual and familiar comforts, and mostly really enjoyable!
As the time has gone on, however, I find myself feeling things that remind me of when I was a teenager. In particular, the feeling that who I am is not ok, that I somehow have to be more extroverted, more exuberant, more animated, more witty, less intelligent, less gentle, more sociable, louder.. and the list goes on.
Memories of people saying things like, “You know, you’d be really pretty if you smiled,” or “when I first met you, I didn’t like you,” or “you’re smart but your ugly,” are resurfacing as I put myself into a situation I haven’t really been for a while. (Probably deliberately because of how bad I had felt in the past!) To add to that, I am also noticing how uncomfortable I am eating with people I don’t know well, and to be honest, I didn’t realise I was still feeling this so strongly!
I know these feelings are all remnants of my younger years, the eating disorders I’ve had, the social anxiety I have felt, the depression.. and yet, they still evoke reactions now. As I notice them arise (and they must if they are going to move on), I have gently reminded myself that this is old stuff, that I am different now, and that I am me and that is all I ever need to be.
Still feeling a little shaky, I sent Ben a message saying, “How can I feel happy knowing that I am likable today?”
His response: “Let others see that you love who you are, and at the very least they will like you.”
I felt so moved by this as I know it to be true. Self-love is all we ever need to focus on. When we love ourselves, we will love others, and others will love us.
It may not always look and feel the way we think it should, but it will always be true. Love attracts love.
Let’s make today and day for loving us.