When I was younger, I felt like I had huge gaping hole inside my chest. It wasn’t something physical that I could pinpoint, like chest pains, it was emotional, like there was something missing in my life.
At first I tried to fill it with my Academic pursuits. All I did was study. I didn’t have a particular love for knowledge, although I liked knowing stuff that other people didn’t. What I wanted, craved for, was approval. I wanted the acceptance of my friends but mostly I wanted to be adored by my parents. All I wanted was their love and attention and I had the belief that it could be received by earning it.
I was child then and obviously didn’t know any better. The more I achieved at school, the more my parents praised me. When I reached High School though, the competition became tougher and I had to work twice as hard, but by then my hormones kicked in. Academics filled the hole like a flimsy plaster on a bloody wound. I needed stronger medicine. BOYS!
And so my stint as a serial monogamist began. Whenever someone showed me the slightest form of affection, I would pursue them and then we’d engage in a long term relationship. It never filled the hole though and when we broke up, I’d blame them for not loving or caring enough. They had their faults too but they were not responsible for the feelings that I had, which I wasn’t aware of, so the blame was always theirs.
I craved answers. I wanted more for myself. No matter what I bought or who I had in my life, I still felt empty. And so my spiritual journey began. I stopped holding other people responsible for my experiences. I took accountability of my life and myself. I learnt to value myself despite failing time and time again. I took the element of shame and guilt away. Whenever I feel as though I’ve moved forward, I’d slide back, now I know that it’s a constant process. I’m still learning to love myself even with my flaws.
So what did I do to support this process?
1. I practiced and still practice a form of meditation to support me in feeling at ‘Ease and Peace’ whenever I am affected by a situation - Practicing ease in a very stressful situation is my way of taking back control of my projections. Usually, what I think is happening and what is actually happening are two different things. I don’t have to rely on stress eating or not eating to make me feel as though I am in control. I am the boss of my emotions, not the other way around.
2. I recognized that I was loved and am still loved by the Universe even though I messed up – I am human and sometimes it’s easy to forget this, especially since as a society we are pressurized into being ‘perfect’ all of the time. Knowing that I am loved no matter what I do, takes the pressure off from trying to earn it from other people or by possessing things that I think will make other people like me.
3. I recognized my innate value and worth - I remind myself constantly, that I am valuable and I am worthy of great things. I am worthy of respect. I am worthy of my OWN self-respect, especially when I feel low.
4. I recognize my own individual talents - Everyone has a gift. They may not know what it is, but it exists. I recognize my uniqueness. I know that I have so much to contribute to the world in my own way. Everybody does.
5. I was and am still committed to feeling good within despite whatever may be going on in my reality - Even when things are really tough I work on feeling good. I am committed to feeling good. This means that I will no longer complain about how bad things are and instead focus on what is great in my life. I practice Gratitude and appreciation for everything that I have and will have in the future.
I haven’t been in a long term relationship for a while now. I have learnt to be alone and be happy. When you accept yourself (the good and bad traits), you will no longer require validation from another human again. You won’t ever have to earn someone else’s love. You won’t ever care what other people think. The one person that will never leave you, is you. No matter how far you run away, you’re always there. So you may as well enjoy your own company.
Working on yourself is easier said than done but the payoff is worth it.