The Lost Art of Loving Yourself

When I was a little kid I used to play a game in the bath.

(Get your minds out of the gutter — ya dirtbags.)

I would do this thing where I would position myself so that when I would turn on the water I would block it from getting to the rest of the tub.

I’d stack my arms up to try and restrict the torrents of tap water from reaching their destination.

It was a silly game, and in the end a losing battle.

Water finds a way to get where it wants.

I was reflecting the other day about my childhood, and my path through life, in general.

It struck me, that I’ve had countless people over the years tell me, “you have to love yourself more”.

As if, that’s something I can just do.

Break open a bottle of wine, light some candles, put on some Barry White and really just get my love on. Make a commitment to me. Make an honest man out of me. Put a ring on it.

But, for people like me, it isn’t that easy.

I’ve written about this before, and I don’t think I was fully on the level. Because, for years I have just not been into me.

In fact, I’d venture to say that I fucking hated me. So much so that I’d force myself to binge eat food, gamble, take drugs, self-sabotage loving and supportive connections with people — anything and everything I could do to punish myself, I did it.

And, I mean, why not?

For years I was told that I was stupid, lazy, useless, fat, ugly, worthless, a loser. That was the image that was drawn for me. I had no escape from that. Those words and ideas were pushed were into me at every conceivable angle, without a safe space to get away from it all.

And so I began to feed that definition of myself.

A couple of weeks ago I had a huge epiphany, one that really shook me and made me question this image of me.

I was sitting in a friends kitchen, and she commented on how judgmental I was being about some guy that I had hired to do some work for me. She didn’t mean anything by it. But, it was in that moment of defensiveness that I realized something massive.

I’m a good person.

For as long as I can remember I have been telling people that I used to be an asshole. That, I’d been a real prick to be around, and that I was hurtful to people.

In that moment, inside of a kitchen on Southside Road, I realized something.

I’m not an asshole.

So powerful was the hatred I had of myself that I actually concocted a myth. A messed up fable about how I was a bad person, and that I’ve done horrible things to people

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve fucked up. I’ve said stupid shit, I’ve hurt people’s feelings, and I’ve broken hearts.

But, everyone has done that.

Whether intentionally or otherwise. It’s just a reality of life.

I’m not a unique snowflake, by any means.

The realization that this what I had done; that, like a playwright, I had created a character — a narrative that simply wasn’t true.

That’s how powerful self-loathing is.

It can hurt you, it can make you believe the lies you tell to yourself, it can ruin your life.

If, and this is a big fucking “if”.

If you let it.

One of the things that I like most about going to see my trainer Mike O’Neil (Energy Company), and not just Mike, but everyone in there that I’ve dealt with makes you feel like a person. And as you succeed they support it. Even if it’s just a small comment, it means the world to somebody like me. They’re helping in my personal renovations, offering support at times when I need it the most.

Through the diet and circuit training program that I’m on I’ve begun to not only see physical changes, but emotional differences as well.

I’ve realized that I am worth loving.

For real this time. No fakin’.

Now when I have those thoughts of self-loathing, I remember that it’s all in my head. That I’m a good man, and that is worth something.

It’s worth a lot.

As am I.

I attempt to remember that as often as I can.

And these days, I try and let the water through.

A tub needs to be filled just as a heart needs to be loved.

Fill her up.

9 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Loving Yourself

  1. Woo hoo, Dave! Fill ‘er up, indeed! Happy to hear of this Epiphany. Self-love is a long and lifetime journey. Once you get started down the road, you won’t want to stop!

    All the best.

  2. Glad you finally realized what was already obvious to everyone else 🙂 old patterns can dig their ways into our brains and it’s a powerful moment when you lift that needle and put it into a different groove- keep up the good work, you are worth it

  3. This is huge, Dave. What a relief to know you don’t have to carry that around with you anymore! This is a powerful post and it sounds like a powerful moment in your life. We’ve only corresponded online but I can tell you’re a good person. Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll get to who and where you want to be.

  4. Dave, from the start of your blog entries many, many months ago your words reflected strongly, in my humble view point, that you were “a good guy”.

    One of the “good guys” that our world needs so very much. Your sharing bonds you with others that live vast distances apart. Your words have given strength to your readers.

    I personnally thank you for doing that for me.

  5. “Personal renovations” – lovely; with your permission, Dave, I’ll borrow that. That sweet, sweet euphoria of joy (yes, dammit, joy) we seek as desperately as any other to fill the void. When in the pit (and we all know the “pit”) it’s the kindness (respect, love, compassion) to self (and others) that becomes our own lifeline. It’s kooky – but it seems to work. “Personal renovations” are hard work and living the myth is just sometimes easier. But there really is no substitute for the feeling of feeling like a good person. Question: can we fake it ’til we make it (for the good of ourselves and others)?

    1. I think faking it until you make it is valuable. It’s like breaking a habit. If you quit smoking, and then blow it the next day. At least you have the experience of breaking a pattern. Even if you’ve not fully succeeded in the end goal, you’ve experienced a taste of success — however brief.

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