Why do we tie our worth to our romantic relationships?
We feel on top of the world when we're with someone... like all of our insecurities slowly melt away. The person we love more than anyone else in the world, thinks our imperfections make us perfect for them.
And so, when they leave... especially when they leave for someone else, we begin questioning our worth.
The absurdity of it is so easy to see from the outside, and yet, even I am only just emerging from the fog of lies that fills your head and heart space when a breakup puts your emotions on life support.
The irony is that the person you fall in love with is seeing what your family and your friends have all been seeing. This is old news to everyone else. So, maybe it's that we have someone hold up a mirror and point out all of the beautiful things about us (inside and out) and they celebrate those things out of an adoration. Maybe they're incredibly good at doing this... or maybe you've had the situation where your partner takes that mirror and uses it as a manipulation tool and they only remind you of the truth about yourself when they want something. Maybe the person you loved turned out to be someone else entirely, and so you assume they were lying about your worth, as well. Maybe no one has ever held up this proverbial mirror, and when it happens, it's as though you're seeing yourself through the eyes of love for the first time. If they leave, it so often feels like they obliterate the mirror and confirm all of our fears about our inadequacy and leave us wondering if our magnificence ever existed in the first place.
I remember, not so long ago, walking into the bathroom each morning, looking at myself in the mirror...day after day... searching for a moment, finding myself still looking back... and I was so ashamed of the flaws screaming at me that I would burst into tears.
I found myself wishing my hair wasn't curly anymore...
wishing I'd color it...
wishing I was skinny...
wishing I was shorter...
wishing I had an entirely different bone structure...
wishing my skin was pale...
and that I had a penchant for covering myself in tattoos...
essentially I was wishing I was some sort of suicide girl pinup.
I wished I was a bit more feisty and mouthy and a bit more liberal and maybe had some relaxed morals... on and on the ridiculous but very real rabbit trail went, until I realized, I was wishing to disappear. I wished I wasn't myself. I wanted so badly to be perfect for the person that I still loved, that I would make myself disappear, if it would make him love me.
[ n e w - k i n d - o f - l o w ]
What is actually happening is a bit more like this:
It's a Night at the Museum, and Leonardo Da Vinci's "Head of a Young Woman" comes to life like an animated pixar character. She looks up and begins weeping and thrashing about, spitting on the mirror hanging opposite her because she's disgusted with her image. She begins shouting abuse at herself and telling her masterful creator (who's statue is also alive in this moment) that his work is sub par and that he has definitely made many terrible mistakes which she painstakingly lists in alphabetical order.
Finally, she explains that she should look more like Mona Lisa.
And as absurd as it sounds, it happens so often.
I don't know the answer.
I just wish we knew our worth, and didn't forget it so easily.
I wish we loved ourselves better.
I wish we loved each other better.
I wish we were more purposeful about how we navigate relationships.
I wish I had an answer.
But, if you are in that place... stop. Don't wait until you feel like it, just stop wailing on yourself. Stop abusing yourself. Stop repeating these negative things over and over. Get reacquainted with you. Whatever that looks like. Start writing down things you love and things that make you smile. Spend time with people who will remind you of who you are. Put on music that YOU found that reminds you of whatever it is you're passionate about or your favorite place in the world. Watch a film that always makes you smile, and ask why. Read a book that you loved as a child. Remember what makes your heart beat... your dreams... your goals.
Take off your masks and armor and get to know yourself again. Then revel in who that person is. Not in a weird narcissistic way, but "treat yoself!"
That person is pretty wonderful, to say the least. It may not happen overnight. It most probably won't. But get to know yourself again, and realize it's a really complex individual but it's a masterpiece.
And it will get better.