Tag Archives: self love

Out of the shadows and into the light…

What makes you squirm uncomfortably? Often somewhere in our squirming moments we tend to find ourselves.

Personally I have this issue with helplessness and receiving care; usually because I confuse the two.

If people care for me I think they believe I need their care because I have some flaw, something I can’t handle myself, and they pity me and want to help. It’s a most humiliating feeling.

As a kid I thought the only reason most people cared for me was because I’d lost my mom. I was bullied and my step-mom wasn’t particularly nice to me so when people were nice I assumed it was pity, because so many people weren’t nice to me, meaning I must have some fault. Otherwise, why was I constantly rejected?

I even had this idea my mom hadn’t loved me – she refused hugging me the last time I saw her, then she died without leaving behind any letters left saying she loved me. It was not a good 24 hours of my life. And afterwards there was a huge hole inside of me and I didn’t know how to fill it. Being cared for by someone hurt when you could lose them, so my six year old self thought.

What’s more, my dad always encouraged me to better myself, so on another plane, I had this idea love was related to achievement. The only times I felt love was real was when people said “I love you, but…” Because then I could keep the idea of being flawed. If they seemed to just randomly love me, without pitying me (i.e. they actually seemed to care), I thought them stupid, or blind…take your pick.

Together with some early on rejections on the love front (try having your emotions and rejection trumpeted to a whole school when you’re fifteen – I blushed for a week straight), I’m not very good with emotions. I simply don’t want to confess to having them (not even to myself), because I think they cause trouble.

This has manifested in different ways in my life. First I became shy as I figured it was better being rejected for who I was not, than showing my real me. Then I wanted to change that and ended up always trying to prove my own strength. My can-do attitude. My willingness to perfect myself. My fiercely independent spirit. I feel safe when I’m independent. I feel in charge.

As my principal in drama school would have said, I’ve gone from using one cover (shy) to using another (independent). Being the seeker I am (and being as miserable as I was) I’ve always worked on myself though. I wanted to find happiness and happiness has a lot to do with self-love, loving people and letting them love you back. So I’ve worked on it. And recently what made me realize there’s a way to go is the “being cared for” thing.

When people try to care for me beyond my comfort level three things might happen: I feel suffocated (I can’t accept the care), I feel embarrassed (clearly they think I need help), or I think they’re being ridiculous (i.e. still thinking people blind to the real me). In some cases, I might also question if they’re doing it just to later embarrass me by telling me it wasn’t real (it really was very traumatic being fifteen, OK). If I actually want to receive the care I feel completely helpless because I don’t know how to. This leads to me wanting to be alone so I can feel powerful again and I can turn mean in the process of pushing people away.

Due to this I have had a tendency to fall for aloof men – men I connect with intellectually and/or physically. I don’t have to open up emotionally, because they’re like clams (or well, you know, a little bit clammy at least). They’re never completely into me, which means I don’t truly have to ever lose them. They won’t look after me, so I won’t feel stupid.

When I dated caring men in the past, it was always men I didn’t really have a connection with, so they never got close and I remained safe and aloof.

In a nutshell: the guys I liked didn’t care and the guys who liked me I didn’t care about.

Now, I could blame this on fate, or I could look at the common denominator in all this: me. I choose to look at me.

This year I’ve decided to turn everything in my life on its head, including my emotional life. I will do the things I fear the most. Like opening up socially in the place I call home, instead of waiting to go to places where I feel anonymous and safe. I will professionally go where I’m the most scared to go, because I care the most. I will also only date caring men I care about AND have a connection with. It will probably make me wanna puke, run for my life and feel like a claustrophobic person stuck in an elevator, but I’m determined that the only relationships I will have are soulful ones. In fact, I want everything in my life to be soulful – my work, my home, my kids, my friends…

For so long I’ve wanted to be the person who didn’t care, who didn’t feel, who just went on adventures and ran off with the circus. Well, whilst I do like the adventures and I’d happily join a circus for a while, I’d like to explore caring. Right here, right now. I’d also like to explore being with someone. Someone who would go on adventures with me; near and far. Someone I could create a home with, but also have freedom with. I like being independent, but I don’t like being a fool. And I’ve been a fool for long enough.

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Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926716211533/ 

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The withered face of love and addiction…

I had a spectacular experience today. I saw the face of love. It’s the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen.

The year before last two friends of mine relapsed into drugs. One sent me a message, asked for help and went to rehab. One spoke to me at length about being sober and having no problems, didn’t ask for help and didn’t go to rehab. It didn’t matter how we pleaded. Eventually I stopped seeing this person, not because I wanted to, but because I knew I couldn’t see them alone anymore because they couldn’t be trusted alone and because I had so much going on and couldn’t keep putting myself in a position where I had nightmares about other people’s lives. And that’s what I used to do. I’d wake up in a sweat dreaming about overdoses.

There was also a part of me that felt I failed. I failed to get them help. I failed to make them realize they needed help. I failed to get hold of the resources we needed to get them help. I felt I wasn’t good enough. In fact, that year I felt I didn’t bring enough to anyone, because everyone was struggling. I was overwhelmed with disasters in every direction and it was more than I could handle.

I often thought myself unwanted growing up and I tried to compensate by bringing something I knew was wanted. I brought my skills and my talents. So when I can’t bring that I sometimes don’t show up at all. That year when everything fell apart I felt so inadequate, so “not good enough” that all these old wounds started bleeding, without me even realizing it. I just retracted into myself, as I often do.

Today I bumped into my friend when visiting another friend, Tony who has cancer, and we laughed about old times. I also told them I want to see them. I want to speak to them.

As I asked them to have coffee with me old memories of having coffee with them flashed through my mind – one time them telling me their life story which is the most heartbreaking story I ever heard, I almost puked; another time me trying to convince them to see the light and move away from abuse. Mingled with the memories another image popped up; an image of me once again trying to make them see something. To convince them to find happiness.

With that image came fear and despair – fear I’d fail; fear I’d turn into some preacher; fear for them and the path they’re on. And that’s when something hit me; this thought telling me I love them smashed the other images to pieces and my fear melted away. I was reminded that the only thing I owe anyone in any kind of relationship is to love them, not save them. I can’t. It’s not up to me. I can tell stories about other people; about myself and my journey. I can do all of that, but it’s not my job to change them. All I owe the people in my life that I love, is love. And I can give that, even if I can’t give anything else.

Naturally, there are other elements to a relationship and if someone is hurting themselves you are likely to step in and get them help, but you can only do so much. By the end of the day you have to accept them for who they are and where they are at on their journey. You may not even be able to be too close to them if they are acting destructively, but you can love them.

As this came to me there was also a huge sense of acceptance – to love someone regardless of how they choose to live their life. For me that is pretty big as I was once a control freak who believed success and therefore love was granted if you perform well. As mentioned: skills and talents. In fact, one of my biggest fears growing up was drugs. I thought becoming an addict was as low as you could go; totally losing control of yourself. And if you don’t like yourself very much and fail, then you fail again to prove just how shitty you are for having failed in the first place and that means if you were to take drugs, chances are you wouldn’t stop. As I didn’t like myself very much growing up I stayed away from drugs like the plague.

I can’t cure Tony of his cancer either and for a period it really pained me that I didn’t have the funds to do something to change his life, his food (or lack thereof), his worries. It made me sick of myself as I felt someone that ill should be a bigger priority than some of my other projects.

You can help Tony here through Indiegogo/Generosity

I think sometimes my own fear that I can’t do enough and be enough means I avoid something. That feeling of helplessness and an ability to suffer on the behalf of others make me avoid it altogether. I haven’t been to see Tony for a while – I saw him today, because I realized he wants to see me. Even if I can’t bring miracles. Even if I can’t bring skills. Even if I don’t always know what to say.

Sometimes I avoid calling my grandma, because I can’t cure her loneliness and I feel guilty because I don’t live in Sweden. After mom died my grandparents on both sides helped raise us. And I feel I owe it to her to bring her the happiness she brought me. The safety, the stability that I now try to bring to kids here. But whilst I can give her my love, I can’t give her my life.

Today I simply saw love. I saw how you love people even when they don’t love themselves. I saw how you love the imperfect. I saw what it means to people that you love them. I saw how I’ve sometimes avoided giving love as I felt that love alone wasn’t enough. That I had to do and be something more. I saw how I often haven’t loved myself. I saw love for myself.

I saw love in a torn person’s face and that made me see love everywhere.

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Image source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/507780926708002855/ 

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Filed under addiction, drug addiction, Friendship, friendships, Love, relationships, self-worth, Uncategorized

Real women…

Real women aren’t skinny. They don’t have curves. They aren’t athletic and toned. Real women love their body and treat it as their temple. They look after it and feed it well. Real women are more than a body. They are a heart. A soul. They are capable of loving, living and laughing. Real women feel their heart in their body. They feel their sensuality, sexuality and love pumping through them; exploding into the air around them. Real women never have to say they are real women because they have a certain body. Real women know.

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Filed under body ideals, body image, female body image, femininity, Inspiration, Self-confidence, womanhood

Impossible is nothing…

Yes, that’s an adidas slogan, I know. My dad used to tell me that if you really want to you can eat a brick. He also taught me that asking for money from the state, unless you really need to, isn’t a good idea. He said that if you truly want a job, you will get one, so if it’s mopping the floor in your local grocery store. Then he’d proceed to a lecture about the work attitude in Sweden compared to the one in China. In Sweden it’s quite possible to be paid for being unemployed because you can’t find work that you want you get paid for your unemployment (although it’s gotten harder in recent years). In China you don’t get paid to be at home because there is no work that you want, so you just take what’s available. He also taught me that you should go for it – aim for the top of the mountain and that there are no excuses why not to get there. Second place is no place.

Everyone I talked to in London when I got here, pretty much, told me that getting a job now is close to impossible. In less than a week I have been offered two jobs and have interviews for four other today and let me tell you, I didn’t hand out more than 40 odd CVs (that’s resumes for you Americans =). I don’t know if I am being lucky, if I happen to have what they are looking for, or if getting work in London isn’t too hard after all. Not if you go for what you think is available. Have I been paid a lot more before? Yes. Am I going to sulk about it? No. Would I rather make a gazillion dollars from my own biz? Yes. Is that going to happen right this instant? No.

It’s so easy to get stagnant – if I am not going to the top of Everest, I will not move. Well, sometimes we have to walk up Kilimanjaro first. It may not be Everest, but it’s a mountain nonetheless and to have gotten to the top of one mountain is a hell of a lot better than sitting at the bottom of another. Sometimes you may even find that the view from that mountain is preferable. If nothing else, it will prepare you for the climb to the higher mountain.

I, for one, have wanted to get to the top of Everest when it comes to work and I have refused Kilimanjaro. I never learnt how to think small – I get an idea for a company and before counting to ten, I have developed the company, come up with five other great services to offer and turned it into a conglomerate. Great ideas. Absolutely impossible to get to unless you have dough.

I’m a Leo. They say we sneer at things we think are below us, but as a wise man said a couple of thousand of years ago: it’s the server that will enter the Kingdom, not the one asking for services.

Learning to be humble is an art. Learning to learn from whatever is on your plate and not wanting to have the most incredible thing ever to start off with, is an art. Think about it: you sit there praying, meditating and dreaming of the day you will be acting against Leo Di Caprio (mmmmmm). You are offered great parts in smaller movies by friends, but you refuse as you have a good Agent and you want to be available if a Di Caprio movie (or similar) comes along. Who says that the smaller movies wouldn’t have gotten you to the bigger one? Who says you wouldn’t learn what you needed to learn to get the better part? Who says that the little indie can’t become a blockbuster? Who says that meeting a young Director today won’t give you a part in a multi-million dollar production five years from now, when the Director has gotten established? Who says that going for gold won’t bring you diamonds in the end? For sure if you are going for nothing, you are a lot less likely to get diamonds in the end.

Speaking of going for the top of a mountain – isn’t it funny how we live our whole life as a judgment? If you got a step up the mountain today, you feel good. If someone pushed you a step down, or you fell, you feel bad. If you go out with someone you judge how well you did at the date. If you fail in any respect, or things just aren’t going your way it’s bad. It hurts. Because then we feel imperfect, so we feel unworthy of our own love. Only when life happens to take us up Everest do we feel good about ourselves. When we think life is showing us how perfect we are, we feel good. No one is better or worse than you, people have just been raised differently and therefore make different decisions in their lives.

My best friend, not so jokingly said to another friend the other week: “No, she will succeed, because she will kill herself if she doesn’t. So she will succeed alright.” I almost choked on my hot chocolate. Since last fall, when I met someone who wanted to kill themselves unless they succeeded, my grandest work on myself has been to live for what is, not for what I want to be. Apparently I haven’t succeeded all that well (see, I’m failing. Horrors! Bring on the punishment – three days in the torture chamber for dizzy blonde…NOT).

How many football players do you think, during the world cup, were, inside their minds alternating: “I did that well *I’m happy* I screwed that up *I’m bad*” every two or three minutes and had mood swings thereafter? And how many did just have a blast playing a game they love to play? You can still evaluate, but just imagine having fun all the time, how awesome wouldn’t that be?

My best friend may or may not become famous. She may or may not become rich. She may or may not marry her Prince. She may or may not stay beautiful till the day she’s a hundred and two. Will I like her less or more because of this? No. I love her just the way she is. Would I love myself more or less if I achieved the above though? Yeah, probably. Would I be jealous of her if she achieved more than me? Yeah, probably. Not because I wouldn’t want her to have that, but because I’d judge myself in comparison. It’s hard to love others when you aren’t loving yourself. I don’t want that to be the case though, so I’m trying to stop being a judge and start being a lover. I want to enjoy myself every day, I want to enjoy life every day, not waste time feeling miserable and hurt if I’m not on top of everything. Especially as no matter how high I go, I can probably go higher, so I will forever judge myself. Judgment doesn’t stop just because you reach a benchmark – it stays with you for life unless you become a lover.

If I think about one day having a man in my life and kids, I get ashamed, because I know I will treat them as I treat myself to some extent and I wouldn’t want that. I wouldn’t want to be jealous of them if they achieved more than me and I wouldn’t want to judge them and their lives as I judge myself. I want them to be happy. I want them to feel like a million dollars every single day of their lives. So shouldn’t I want that for myself? There’s nothing stopping me really, I can just shove the judge out the door and start loving myself right now. I can make love to life every single second of every single day. It seems tricky, but after all, if there is one thing that I know well, it’s that impossible is nothing.

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Sailing solo…stark naked…

Have you ever felt like you cracked open? Like every event, every emotion, there ever was fell out of your chest and onto the world for full view? Today I felt like that and before my jet-lag dissipates and the fog leaves the hills once more and daylight enters, I will share it with you. Come tomorrow, having a clear head, I will once again want to sweep this story under the carpet. For now though, the hills are covered in fog and I feel safe and secure, sitting half asleep in my bed, writing.

Journeys end in lovers meeting, or so Shakespeare said. Traveling for me has always been a way of life. I have been blessed to see many places, I have had wonderful adventures and I have met some astounding people. Traveling has also always given me perspective – you cannot look at your life from the same point of view when you are looking at it from a different place, under different circumstances. What’s more, my passion for traveling has given me an excuse to always leave people and places before they leave me. I never worry what others think of me, because I don’t live there anyway. I don’t really care, so I feel free, independent and happy, but today I got sick of traveling. I don’t want to need to be constantly running to feel happy. After having my sister calling me yesterday complaining about not having seen me for eight months and a friend crying as I left London town, I just realized it’s about time I face up to it, if I want to end my journey in a loving meeting, rather than as soon as I want to become part of a town, a social circle, or a man, feel like I’m being judged and lose my self-confidence and start running all over again to feel safe, secure and confident.

Today I saw the movie The Time Traveler’s Wife on the plane. It wasn’t a good movie, it was poorly executed, but to me it meant the world to watch it, because suddenly I saw my life in a completely new light. I saw how it would have looked like from a time traveler’s perspective and what it would have been like having myself come back from the future to tell me not to be scared when things were rough.

If you could watch your life, your story, as a movie, what would you think of the protagonist? Would you not see your life in a different light? If you could go back in time and hold your own hand when you were a kid… If you could hug that kid and tell him or her what s/he really needed to know…what would you say?

Man do I wish there had been someone there to hold me when my mom was dying, telling me life is not all that scary. I wish there was someone who would have told me there was nothing wrong with me when the bullies were calling me names, or my step-mom was yelling at me. Lord do I wish there’d been someone to tell me that just because the boys didn’t like me, I wasn’t unlovable. When people asked me if I was anorexic because I was skinny, I wish there’d been someone there to tell me that skinny is pretty too. I wish someone would have just made me understand how gorgeous a person I was. What a beautiful human being I was. How lovable I was.

I really feel for the girl I once was. Watching it from the outside, all the panic, the fear, the sadness, the loneliness she felt and how she blamed herself over and over again for it. It seems absurd now, but she thought she was worthless because it was all her fault. She hated herself for others leaving her, or being mean to her. She kept trying to identify what was wrong with her. Why she was unlovable and how to solve it. There had to be something strange, because she was not mean to people, so why were they mean to her? What was wrong with her?

At the age of seventeen I went to Vancouver. One night, due to a row of events, I had a panic attack, only I didn’t know what it was. As it happened my host mom was angry with me, so she thought I was faking it and left me lying in a heap on the floor – only opening the door to the garden for fresh air. I had to crawl up on my own. I couldn’t call my dad as he was away in travels. It was too late to call someone in Vancouver. So I sat there thinking I might just die. I then swore that if I survived I would open a nursery for street children as no one should have to feel like I did then and there, or for that matter, other times in my childhood too. No one. Yet, I felt no sympathy for the girl who sat there herself. She was just a girl who on a daily basis fought her own insecurities, thinking the world would never love her unless she made herself more outgoing and cool. Unless she succeeded in becoming rich and famous. Her only true friend was her dreams – they didn’t hurt her. They just fueled her. So she set out to achieve them and her whole life changed. So did she, but the thoughts on the inside never completely changed. Not until today. Not until I saw that movie.

Do you know what your eyes look like when you feel loved? Do you know how they sparkle? Do you know how beautiful you are? Look at your hands – do they ever make something for you? Look at your feet – do they ever take you places? Look at your mouth – does it ever make you taste things? Look at you – aren’t you gorgeous? Aren’t you worth all the love in the world? Isn’t that just a beautiful person?

That would be me…hiding in there…almost stark naked…

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