I have a document in Google that reads “The Not So Good Sides of Me.” I don’t remember when I created it. Nevertheless, it’s a blank page. My intention was to pen a piece on my shadow side as part of my self-love journey. I planned to describe – in detail – the parts of my personality and character that I needed to “fix.” Because I’m a fixer and I thought I needed fixing.
I’ve had a change of heart. I understand now that I am perfect just the way that I am. I still believe in personal growth and personal development; I am a proponent and an active participant of self-examination and exploration. What I’m saying is that I have entered the exciting phase in my self-love journey where I actually love myself. I have ceased picking myself apart, limb from limb and trait by trait, and I am focused on the beautiful aspects of my personality, my heart, and my mind.
For decades, I told myself how wrong I was in both action and thought process. I convinced myself that I had to change the way that I behaved in certain situations. I believed that in order to mature and be the best version of myself that I had to be less reactive and more selfless, less expressive and more “zen,” less energetic and intense and more introverted and elusive. In this head and heart space, I committed to men who didn’t love me unconditionally because I did not see my worth and value just as I am.
I thought the answer to a loving relationship lay in changing myself. So I took in my exes criticisms and tried to talk less, shine less in social settings, and become more “responsible” with finances and my professional choices. During the last few years of our relationship, he discouraged me from pursuing a creative career as it was “not stable” and often asked when I’d “give up” on my creative pursuits. I didn’t have an answer to that and told him so; I cannot give up on my passions.
The Need to Please
Still, I wanted to please him. I wanted him to feel proud of me and that I was indeed enough. So I hid my selfie game and the grand events I hosted for my brand, like Stassi from Vanderpump Rules hid from her then-boyfriend, Patrick. I took odd jobs, even working at Century21 in the mall, so that I could pay my bills and “provide” for my family. I did all of this and more because I did not love myself enough to say no, that’s enough, love me as is or don’t love me at all. I did not love myself enough to realize that I am perfect just the way that I am.
Yet I am grateful for it all. I have my son, Evan, thanks to my former relationship and I found myself through it as well. I learned so many lessons in self-love and, yes, responsibility. Because my ex was my mirror.
I chose a man who didn’t like how much I talked because I felt insecure about how much I talked. I chose a man who thought I lacked a strong work ethic and a sense of responsibility because in the conventional sense, I did, and I felt terrible that I was not indeed conventional. I took his jokes to heart when he poked fun at my style (bright colors and patterns for days) because I desired to be stylish and graceful, like a Libra ruled by Venus, and instead I felt like my style was scattered and rushed, much like Mars, my astrological papi. (Hey Aries!)
Continuing My Self Love Journey
My point is not to hate on my ex. Although I truly could. My goal for penning this piece is to be accountable for the way that I felt about myself due to a lack of self-love. To finally release that version of myself. Because I believed something was wrong with me.To an extent, I was right.
I didn’t have to change myself to be loveable, I had to love myself to be loveable. And that, my friends, is growth.