I have to talk to you about something, something difficult, that has been affecting our relationship for years, maybe even over a decade. Please don’t take this the wrong way, although there is no kind way to say this, know that I want to mitigate any confusion and future misunderstandings by being completely honest.
I don’t love you.
I can’t tell you when it happened. I cannot pinpoint when my love for you faded away and died. I am sure that I must have loved you at some point, but definitely by sixth grade I didn’t anymore. I don’t think I even liked you in sixth grade. I know for a fact that I hated you in high school. I can remember standing in that stupid circle and being told that the ice breaker was to say one thing I liked about Myself. I completely blanked. I couldn’t think about one piece of you I liked. My mind was a stark white canvas with “I hate Myself” painted in crisp, black letters.
So I lied to them and I lied to you. I came up with things about you that I knew other people liked and repeated them to whoever asked what I liked about Myself. I wrote dark, mean notes to you in notebooks that I hid in stacks of other papers and books, and I waited for other people to find them so I could finally confess this awful, horrible secret. But no one found them.
Freshman year of college it got really bad. Crying-on-the-phone-to-my-sister bad, and she told me I needed to see a therapist because I had self-esteem issues. My first therapist helped me with my anxiety, but she felt like a disapproving parent and I didn’t safe talking about all the parts of my relationship with you to her.
I know you remember when I got my first boyfriend because that was when we stopped talking for a while – about one and a half years. I hid you from him and made sure I was everything he wanted and needed because I knew he wouldn’t like you. I hated you, so there was no reason to believe he could ever like you. But that was one of the reasons I ultimately broke up with him. Because of you. Because as much as I didn’t like a lot of you, I can’t live without you.
I think that was when I started to come to terms with our relationship and let go of the last vestiges of my high school hatred. I spent the next year taking care of you and me, but then I got into another relationship. Instead of hiding you, I initially kept you out in the open and he seemed okay with that, but six months later I had to start shoving you back into the closet because he didn’t like you, and five months after that I broke up with him. Opening the door to let you back out was hard because he had reinforced my belief that I shouldn’t like you.
It has been over two years since I let you back into my life, and I want you to know that while I don’t love you, I am beginning to like you and I think I could someday come to love you. I am learning to be kinder to you and more understanding of your faults and shortcomings like I am with other people. I am trying to stop holding you up to unrealistic expectations, but it is hard for me. I am striving every day to celebrate the pieces of you that are wonderful and awesome and beautiful, but I can easily be overwhelmed by how fallible you are, how vulnerable and prone to mistakes you can be.
But I am trying. Will you be patient with me a little bit longer and work with me to make this a long-lasting, positive and fulfilling relationship?
Hopefully and dedicatedly yours,
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Of course, she will be patient while you find yourself and start loving her again. As you noted, there are many wonderful pieces and parts of her that many people love…you just need to look at them and embrace them as we do…hugs…
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Thank you Peppy : )
I think it says something even just that you wrote that. I don’t think it’s easy to ever truly love one’s self and I think learning how to like one’s self is pretty much a constant and never ending process. I am glad to hear that it sounds like your process is moving to a good level.
As has been said, there is definitely a lot to like about yourself (you are a very creative and driven person, I am jealous sometimes. : ) ) but it is understandable that sometimes it doesn’t help that much just to hear what other people like about you. You have to find what you like about you. Maybe it’s the same as what other people like about you or maybe it isn’t but it has to be yours.
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*hugs back* Thank you Mike.
You hit on a lot of important points in your comment. I am generally a very likable person, but that doesn’t make it any easier for me to like me. My current therapist has helped me come so far on this, and I have been going to meditation 1-2 times a week. Finding that space between the world and your reaction to the world, where you can sit and just be has been very helpful.
We forget that we are constantly changing and adapting creatures, who we were 5 seconds ago is not the same person we are right now and it will not be the same person we are 10 seconds from now. Something can happen in a second that will completely revolutionize how we understand ourselves and our relationship to ourselves. We exist in relation to what is around us, so who I am at work is different than who I am at home alone who is different than who I am running around the city with friends. We are not static.
I think I will end this with an affirmation.
I like that I have created a space where we can talk about this issue because I think it is something very important. We are told we have to like ourselves, but we are never shown how or told that it is a day to day process. Let’s keep this space open and continue to talk about it with others.
Thanks again for reading!
I really liked that piece. It was real. It was honest and something that anyone who has any degree of self awareness might relate to. Sometimes it takes us a whole lifetime to like ourselves. But that’s okay because it shows we haven’t given up on self improvement. People who are perfect are boring. You will never be boring. I think there is a huge audience of young adults who would love the way you were able to convey what so many struggle with day to day. Writing about yourself is your best writing!!!
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Thank you : )
As a fiction writer it can be so very refreshing to sit down and really just write about myself. I have always struggled with journal writing, but when something particularly poignant comes to me, I have to write and you’re right – it usually ends up being my most striking and heartfelt writing.
Perfection is boring and normal is a social construct that was, if I remember correctly, brought into our society by mathematics – statistics, averages, etc. We are made beautiful by our quirks and oddities.
We did a meditation on Tuesday about suffering, and towards the end of the meditation the guide told us to imagine a world without suffering, and the terrifying thought that came to my mind was: well, that would be a boring world. That worried me, so I told the guide about this thought, couching it with “Well, I’m a writer and we draw so much inspiration from pain, suffering, sadness, etc.” and he said to me “Isn’t happiness a kind of suffering?” This is something I will have to meditate (literally and figuratively) for a while. My initial instinct is that he said this because we cling to and crave happiness which causes anxiety and suffering over our fear of losing that happiness. : ) Lots going on in this brain of mine!
Speaking of young adult audiences, I would love for them to read this, but it also reminded me of “Chicken Soup for Teen’s Soul” series which really helped me when I was an adolescent.
Thanks again for reading!