The Battle of (self) Love and Hate

I’ve been trying to write this blog now for almost two weeks. I’ve struggled a lot with getting my thoughts in order because there is so many things I want to talk about at once that mostly go hand in hand, but realistically they cannot fit into one blog post. So I’m going to try to narrow it down into what I feel is most important in my head these days.

As I previously wrote before, taking care of yourself is so important. And while in my very strong attempts to succeed at that, there are many days that I fall behind. While attempting so hard to take care of myself, and make sure that all of my ducks are in a row, there are times that I’ve failed myself as well. Or I have felt like I have. And unfortunately, feeling like I’ve failed has sometimes become my default at the end of the day or waking up in the morning. I struggled a lot in my transition from full time student to full time intern, while working a second job, and figuring out how to put myself first. Sometimes convincing myself to get out of the bed in the morning to take on yet another twelve-hour day seemed nearly impossible.

As some of you know, I am currently on a music therapy internship, and I am also teaching music lessons. I began struggling to balance the concept of exerting all of myself all day long for the health, happiness, and education of others. I began worrying about if I was providing enough, or if I was adequate enough as a person to even help them. The anxiety of those thoughts became so heavy on my mind. I couldn’t let myself understand at the time that in order to help my clients and students, I need to be at my best self, and I couldn’t be at my best self if I was letting feelings of failure and overbearing anxiety take over. Waking up every morning, self-doubt was my default setting.

I recently read an entry from the To Write Love on Her Arms blog entitled, “When Hating Yourself is the Default.” (Which is also why I’m using the word default so much). Unfortunately, it resonated too much with me. I highly recommend the read, but I’ll talk about it a little right now. The author talks about how in her classroom she has a policy against self-belittling. They are to “never apologize for [their] art or [their] human.” Wow. Can we reflect on that for a second? Never apologize for your human. Meaning yourself. Never apologize for being yourself. Never apologize for your human. Especially to yourself. How often do we remind ourselves that?

I resonated most with the paragraph that reads

“See, it’s not that I don’t understand my student on Twitter. I do – Too much in fact. My own history is riddled with self-abuse, whether manifested through self-harm, unhealthy relationships, or self-loathing brought on by bouts of deep depressions. For years, hating myself was the default. I did well and easily at that.”

Again, wow. I’m not the most proud to say, but equally not ashamed either, that my own history is as well riddled with some of these things. Riddled with these and sprinkled with a few others as well.. Low self esteem, anxiety, constantly seeking for validation that I am in fact “enough.” But the more I settle into those things, the more I am allowing my self-hate and self-doubt to become my default setting in the way I go about life. The more I have allowed myself to settle into bitterly unhealthy relationships, self-loathing, constant belittling of myself and the allowance of others to do the same, and not being confident in the fact that as a person I am in fact, fully and wholly enough regardless of what anyone tells me… The more I settled into those things, I began putting hate first and love in a very far away second.

However, in this new push to take care of myself, I’ve realized one very large and hugely important thing. It is time to let the love in. It is time to embrace all of the cracks I have in my foundation and realize that instead of thinking that they make me weaker, they actually make me stronger. A house with creaks and cracks is still a house. It still provides a shelter, a warm and inviting place to be. It may have a few dings, but it does not make it any less of a house. Maybe it just adds a little more character. It adds some stories behind why the fourth floorboard creaks, or why the stone at the bottom of the stairs is broken. Our soul is our house. It is the home of our innermost desires, goals, dreams, being, and self. We will doubt, and we will sway. Our soul will bend, and it will most definitely break. But it is time to let the light within us shine through those cracks, rather than try to cover them with bandages and tape and belittle ourselves about it the next day.

We are so truly blessed to be alive and to be given the chance to turn our page into tomorrow and begin to write a new page on love, not on hate. You can grow flowers from where dirt used to be, and every day can be a new beginning. We will change with the seasons and our gardens will run dry again some day. But we need to realize that we have so very much to offer to this world, and we need to embrace that daily. We need to stop living in fear and shadows of anxiety, self-doubt, and sadness. “Never apologize for your art; never apologize for your human.” Embrace your being. Let the love in.

Find the things that are best for you. Find the people that are best for you. I’ve mentioned it in the past two, and I will say it yet again. People need other people. Embrace that as well. Do not be ashamed of what you have been through to get to where you are now. Your story is important.

So I don’t know, maybe you disagree, maybe it doesn’t make sense to you at all.  I may even be wrong about all of it, but it’s just my view on it.

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While I was sitting in the park writing this piece, I looked to the right of me on the bench I was sitting on and this was stuck there. Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe not. Happy Thursday!
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