I am making an exception and diverting from the blog’s traditional travel-oriented content to share something I was inspired to write today after a particularly open-hearted conversation with my brother. I apologise in advance for those not expecting this from mycarryonlife.
I decided to write this today because now more than ever we live in a world where “feeling” has become a dirty word. Where admitting to be broken, hurt, happy, in love or simply empty, is taboo. Those times where we do let our guard down and let these feelings show, it leaves us feeling vulnerable and ashamed. I see so many people who are so terrified of being hurt, rejected or simply to show their true colors that they put on a mask and shut out every opportunity to be happy. It pains me to think that maybe one day I could also become like that. I found myself resenting this state of affairs more and more over the last year. There is this constant itch inside me, this understanding that , as blessed as I am to have a great family and a few good friends around me, I am mostly going to meet superficial people who are so fucking afraid to open up that the chances of ever building something real are slim, at best.
If this resonates with you, please keep reading.
Getting your heart broken sucks. Most of us have been there, and I can guarantee you reading this that it will probably happen again. Each time it will hurt like a motherfucker, because we’re human, and we have feelings (duh…). And guess what, a lover is not the only person likely to stump on your heart and leave you picking up the pieces. Friends can let you down too, sometimes in even harder ways… The sooner you deal with this reality, the better.
God knows I’ve had my fair share of this the last couple of years.
I have spent countless night crying myself to sleep. Other nights drinking myself under the table with my friends, feeling like a million bucks and ready to move on. I have slept with people I did not really like just to try and forget someone I truly loved and I have found that it is never the answer. I’ve refused to accept people’s will to leave me by asking them and myself a million time the same question: “Why?”. The proverbial WHY has been dominating my conscious and subconscious for such a long time, the quest for an answer a burning need I have yet to satisfy. OF COURSE the only logical answer I could find to date is that it is my fault. That I am not good enough, not pretty enough, not interesting enough…. I have spent the last few years punishing myself, bending my will to accommodate someone else’s life and changing who I am to better suit someone else’s distorted image of me. And I GOT IT WRONG.
This sort of thinking has such a long list of negative consequences that I could probably write a book about it, but I will try to summarise here those three that have mostly affected me, in my specific circumstances.
It has made me insecure. When you have a little voice in your head blaming you for every emotional failure in your life it does not take long for that voice to throw every single success and accomplishment into question. The last two years have been a battle between me, myself and the people who really love me to try and remind me of what I can do and what I have to offer. I seem to have slipped into a temporary selective amnesia in which I forgot all the time I worked hard to achieve my goals at university, at work and in life. It has blinded me to see all those time when friends and loved ones have felt better because of me and what I did for them and it has tainted too many good memories. It has prevented me from grabbing certain opportunities or from standing my ground in situations where I really should have been my biggest fan. I think about this as having an inner child who needs support, love and encouragement. Being insecure is a result of us abusing our inner child with guilt. I have been my own “mean mummy” for too long, and I am stopping this now.
It has made me co-dependent: When you don’t think you deserve love and affection, you tent to settle for whoever or whatever gives you even the smallest trace of it. I have spent way too much time and invested emotions into people that deserved none of it. I have moulded myself around them, denying my own needs, silencing that gut feeling telling me that they were the wrong ones. Having someone’s attention has been enough to make me jump up and down like a show dog, willing to throw everything I am and need down the drain to make the other person feel as happy and loved as I so desperately wished to feel.
This toxic behaviour not only has the potential to land you in terrible relationships, but it can also act as a self sabotaging mechanisms for those relationship that could actually grow into something real. When you are co-dependent you place your happiness and self worth in someone else’ s hands so much that you become incredibly vulnerable to the other person’s whims. If they love you, you are happy, if they don’t or simply fail to show you they way you are expecting it to look like, you are completely devastated. You are putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. You place so much responsibility in the other person’s hands that, at best, they will leave cause they cannot handle the pressure, or at worst they will leave you cause they feel sorry for you and cannot recognize who you are anymore.
I have been there and I have seen that look on his face. That look that is just so painful because you know they do not understand you, they pity you and you are so far away from being in love that it is just not worth the fight. It is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. It is that look that has convinced me that the only person responsible for my happiness and self worth is Me. It is extremely unfair to deny yourself the opportunity to define yourself as an individual, to choose who you want to be and to have control over your emotions. I am slowly moving to that point in my life where I will be able to look at myself in the mirror and be happy with what I see and who I am. This does not mean that no one around me can add to that happiness and make my life better, but rather than making them the main dish, I will give them the opportunity to be the icing on the cake.
It has made me question who I am, and who I should be. I have caught myself wishing to be a different person so many times recently that I don’t even get surprised anymore. I am a lover and I am full of emotions. When I love you, I am going to put a 150% into it, because I do not know how to do it otherwise. I am the kind of person who would learn how to snowboard even though I hate the snow just cause I know it will make you happy, or the friend who would pick up a present just because it reminded me so much of you and I wanted you to know you were on my mind. I will stay awake all night to speak to you or jump on a plane if you need me and I will cry and show you how I feel loud and clear if you ever hurt me. This is Me. It makes me vulnerable to being hurt and abused and it gives some people the licence to step all over me if they feel so inclined. It has landed me a broken heart so many times that I almost stopped putting it back together cause it is just not worth the effort. I have hated this for so long but you know what? This is also what has given me the chance to meet all the incredible people I have in my life, to build those memories that still make me smile every time they pop into my head. I might get it wrong 9 times out of 10, but when I do get it right I get so much satisfaction and fulfilment out of it that I just can’t help but feel that I’d rather be this unstable and vulnerable bag of emotions than an unbreakable robot.
As I work to solve these three key issues and re-discover the person I think I want to be, I learn something new about myself pretty much every day. I have learned that I will feel extremely insecure from time to time, but every time I catch myself blaming that inner child for any perceived personal “failure” I stop and immediately think of one or two things that make me awesome (for example, My blog, or that I am great at picking birthday cards and I am a seriously good cuddle). I have learned to acknowledge sadness, pain and shame when they do come by, and rather than escaping the emotions or trying to suppress them, I embrace them and let them pass. I have learned that I am who I am, and I kind of like it. I have learned that I deserve exactly the kind of love and commitment I am ready to give to another person, but that not everyone I meet is ready or willing to receive it a. I have learned to not make the mistake of placing my expectations on others. I have learned that I don’t need to accept ambiguity and disrespect from a man just because I am afraid of being alone or I think I should be glad someone is paying attention to me. I have learned to be grateful for all the wonderful people I have in my life and appreciate someone’s signs of love and affection, even when they look different from mine.
Most important of all, I am trying to learn to love myself, fully and unconditionally. I want to be madly in love with my flaws, my strengths, my passions, my dreams and everything else in between. My plea to everyone out there is to do just the same and stop being so fucking scared of your emotions. Please.