It’s often said that we’re drawn to people who reflect parts of ourselves that we wish we possessed. Similarly, if ever someone pisses you off, pay close attention because if you’re looking for opportunities for self development, they’re the best display of things you don’t like in yourself. For many people, the first situation can be a dangerous one if you jump into relationships hastily because more often than not, it means that there’s a decent chance you’ll outgrow the other person, having over time worked on the aspects of yourself that you felt you were missing until that person appeared.
My situation is a bit more challenging than that. You see, where others sought somebody to fill a gap or two that they didn’t like about themselves or believed was missing from their lives, it turns out that I was looking for prince charming. Ladies, if this is you, I need you to pause for a minute, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you love you just as you are. I can almost guarantee that you’ll struggle to do this. The reason I say this is because at the core of a desire for prince charming is a desperate need for validation, for proof that somebody is capable of loving you and the more perfect they are, the more likely it is that many others love you too. The irony here is that no matter how many people shower you with love, you’ll never truly believe it authentic or be able to accept it. You see, what you’re actually looking for is somebody to convince you that you are loveable.
Recently, I was lucky to have met ‘the one before’. You know, the guy you meet before you meet the person you’re going to end up with. This was different though because while he may be the one before the man I’ll find and choose to marry, the one before in this context actually refers to the one before the one who truly loves me just as I am – me. You see, this man was for all intents and purposes a mirror image of the true me, the one I keep bottled up and hidden from the world (unless I’ve deemed you one of a select few that I trust). He was fun, playful, child-like, charismatic, warm, intelligent, generous, funny…the list goes on. Deep down, however, I always knew he wasn’t for me. And yet, it took me a very long time to bring myself to let go because every moment I spent with him was a moment where I was learning to love myself.
Which brings me to a recent event. Knowing that I’ll never find the right person for me until I learn to truly love myself, I decided to do an exercise where I wrote down a list with three columns.
- The first column was the things that I love about myself
- The second column was the things that other people seem to love about me
- The third column was a list of the qualities that I didn’t like about myself
This was an exercise I designed to highlight those parts of me that I need to make a bigger part of my life, those parts of me that I need to work on resolving and those parts of me that form the identity of me captured by the mask I wear in everyday life. The most insightful thing that I discovered about myself was the result of comparing columns one and two. Where the first described this fun, carefree, creative person, the second may as well have been the absolute antithesis. The second person was analytical, calculated, in control, highly intelligent and the definition of a problem solver. Looking at the two columns, I may as well have been talking about two completely different people because there was no way that these two could logically get along, let alone co-exist in one person.
And that’s when it hit me, the reason I was yet to met Mr Right, the reason I would choose men who I knew were never right, the reason I was hung up on prince charming and the reason I didn’t believe I was loveable was because I’d spent almost 3 decades creating a monster who was my complete opposite and trying to convince the world that she, rather than the true me is who I should be.
So for now, I’m going to take baby steps to try and introduce the real me to the world. I’ll try and inject a bit more creativity into my very corporate life, let the playful side to me appear more around my friends instead of the counsellor who fixes all their dramas and try to be more carefree and optimistic instead of being anxious and highly-strung. With some luck and a whole lot of practice, I’d like to think that slowly, I’ll learn to embrace the real me to the point where I’m proud to show her off to the world, to the point where I’ll love her more than anyone else in the world possibly could and to the point where I won’t pine for a prince charming anymore because I’ll be too busy falling more in love with me.
So this is the start of a journey to loving myself and I can’t wait to see what I discover over time.
Lots of love,