Insecurity

Self Love

If you are someone who has read my blog from the beginning you know a few undeniable facts about me: (1) I am notorious for writing something and then making the post private a few days later, that (2) I am the most hopeless of all romantics, and that (3) I battled insecurity when I was younger.

Let’s focus on the third.

Where this insecurity stemmed from could/will be a post of its own, but at a high-level I didn’t value myself and I would seek validation from the people I dated (you can read more about this here).

Why is this important? Well, let’s think of dating as growing trees (it’s weird, I know, just trust me).

Your love for yourself is your own full-grown, adult tree. When a person with no Self Love dates, they uproot their tree and hand it to the other person like an offering. But, after some time, what happens to an uprooted tree? It dies. You have to start over, and it often takes a long time to simply find some new seeds to plant. When you have Self Love, instead of offering your whole tree, you take one of the seeds from your tree and plant them together with the other person, and you watch a new kind of tree grow. Now, this doesn’t guarantee the newer baby tree will ever live to adulthood, or that some “natural disaster” won’t come and rip it from the ground. But, at least when you walk away from that situation/person, you still have a full-grown tree/Self Love of your own to sustain you.

So, why is this my on my mind today? I’m glad I can count on you all to ask.

On Tuesday our pastor made a couple of points that brought me to tears. They reminded me how desperately I prayed for just the seeds to grow a tree, and it made me realize that without the Self Love I have now what kind of place I would be in mentally and emotionally. The message was simple, that we were created in His image and that no matter what is going on in my life that God wants me, but those were the exact words that were said to me ~4 years ago when I started going to church regularly as an adult. Those were the words that helped me out of my own insecurity. I would repeat a silent prayer of God, You love me, I am created in YOUR image and therefore I AM beautiful, You gave me a divine purpose, my life has more meaning than the value others see in me. Plant these words in my heart… And, here we are.

The life between my 25th birthday and my 26th birthday tested me in so many ways that I am confident “Insecure Me” would not have made it through. From a couple of weeks before my 25th birthday thinking I had love to being told they decided to try out a relationship with someone else, to being reduced to a rebound, to being stood up while traveling out-of-state, and to unknowingly participating in a 6 month situationship (…is anyone else singing Bounce Back in their head… no… just me, ok)… Even if she did survive it, “Insecure Me” would never think of these as lessons learned, but rather reasons why she wasn’t valuable. And, she definitely wouldn’t have ever admitted any of these embarrassing stories to the world.

Good thing she’s no longer with us.

I go into year 26 still learning. I’m learning that some people will suck (that’s just one of those many unavoidable truths of life that sits on the list with the fact that people will always judge you for what you wear no matter how you’re dressed…), but that shouldn’t change how good of a person I am. That not everyone can return what you are looking for, but that doesn’t have an impact just how deeply I love myself. That everything has it’s own time/season. And, that none of the situations I previously mentioned determine my worth.

Ima just sit in the shade of this tree waiting on the day that someone is out here looking for a PYT who loves Hot Cheetos and the Lord, is trying to find more time to cook, thinks unexpected adventures are often the best dates, and loves to cuddle and watch movies (and will let you know she figured out the ending, therefore spoiling the movie 30 mins in)…

Insecure: Part 1

Walking around the streets of Toronto in a bikini isn’t something I ever thought I would do (I didn’t even like going to the pool in a bikini). But, that’s exactly what I did this past weekend. Actually, when I think about it, there are quite a few things I never thought I would do and plenty of experiences I would frequently hold myself back from due to twenty-something years of being ridiculously insecure.

Insecurity is an interesting thing in the sense that it can take on completely different extremes from person to person. Even the most confident people are insecure about something, and sometimes it’s hard to identify the most insecure people of those among us. I know I definitely faked it. So, when I tell people just how bad I felt for years, they think I’m exaggerating. But, it’s true. What was going on in my head wasn’t anywhere close to the girl I was portraying every day, and if insecurity was indeed measurable, my readings would have been off the charts. I’m talking major records broken here people! In fact, thinking back (I cannot believe that I am writing this and putting it on the internet), I can’t think of a single thing I liked about myself. Not one. I won’t go into detail at this moment (which is why I will go ahead and determine this to be Part 1 of quite a few posts), but being uncomfortable with my body type quickly grew into a mindset I just couldn’t shake. 

Now, before you read anymore, you have to understand a few points, that (1) insecurity isn’t necessarily logical, (2) when it’s allowed to grow unchecked it will consume every aspect of your life, and (3) when you can’t find the validation you’re looking for in yourself, you will go somewhere else to get it. The third point is why you’re reading this today.

I don’t look much different than I did a couple of years ago (the change was completely in my mindset), but back then I hated what I saw in the mirror. Just the thought of showing off my legs/chest was still very stressful for me. In fact, I would often tell myself no guy would pick me if they ever had a choice. However, despite how unattractive I felt, I found my validation in “situationships” (I use this word because I’ve only had one actual boyfriend in my 25 years of life). That makes no sense at all, right? Well, refer to my first point in the paragraph above. 

In these “situationships”, I often found myself tolerating all kinds of lies and disrespect from guys I shouldn’t have been dealing with in the first place, but out of fear of the inability to find something better, I was left trying to fix things that weren’t worth my time. Even when I encountered a good guy, my own jealousy, doubts, and anxiety would tear the situation apart from the start (yes, women can hurt men… we can talk about this later, Part 1 remember?). Either way, as someone who didn’t love herself, I had no business trying to create love with someone else. It was selfish. There’s really no other word for it… How else would you describe an empty vessel hoping to get full from someone else’s supply?

I write all of this to say that I think this is the freedom I enjoy most now that the weight of all of the insecurity is off of me. Actually, I know it is. The freedom from validation. Sure, it’s nice to love my body, talents, and super-weird-introverted-nerd personality, but it’s even nicer not having to go to someone else to help me do that. For the first time I’m truly “single”, and I don’t feel empty or lost. For the first time I’m not franticly trying to fill a void with anyone who gives me attention. For the first time I’m not pretending to be someone that I’m not.

It’s hard to describe and may even sound dumb to you, but I wake up and the sun shines brighter than I’ve ever seen it. I’m happy. I look in the mirror, still happy. I pick up my (dry) phone, still happy… 

-Loni