Just reading the title that I came up with for this post makes me want to throw up a little bit, or at the very least turn away in disgust. The author isn’t a person I would want to associate with. Someone who loves herself? I don’t think so. But in an effort to overcome my issues with post natal anxiety, I’m going through some therapy sessions to get rid of the limiting belief that I am not good enough. To believe in the ‘magnificence of me’.
It’s important because my anxiety at not being able to ‘parent’ well, my belief that I am not good enough to do this job, means that I am thrown into a panic every time I am faced with having to look after my children by myself. And that panic means that I often have to pretend to be jolly, patient, and loving (or enlist the help of ‘real’ jolly, patient and loving people). I have to pretend to be what I perceive as a good parent. It undermines my quest to be honest and authentic and creates a sort of duplicity in my character.
It also has more overtly destructive repercussions; sometimes the true panicked self bursts out uncontrolled and a demonic voice shouts at my kids–There is no mummy, only Zuul–before I burst into tears and so do they.
In order to exorcise the panic monster, I have to truly believe that I am good enough. Or in therapeutic terms …love myself.
‘It all boils down to this.’ said the therapist. ‘You were born magnificent and nothing you have said or done in your life can change this. But events in our lives can block your belief of this.’
I know we are born magnificent. After all, don’t I have two amazing children who are living proof? They are magnificent (and quite a lot of the time, snotty). Nothing they could say or do could change it (apart from a tissue). But somewhere along the way, my mind learned and clung to the fact that I was NOT amazing, in order to survive rejection from others. And in doing do, cut off my ‘higher’ ‘amazing’ authentic self.
I cannot admit I am magnificent in public, or even in private, because doing so would turn me into a person I myself dislike. Someone big headed and cocky. Someone society would hate.
That means rejection, abandonment and loneliness from my magnificent self. I would sacrifice my-true-self for the sake of liking my-false-self. The problem is that try as I might, I can’t live up to being the lovable false self – the humble, self-sacrificing, maternal figure. It’s not me.
I am selfish, highly creative, passionate …and a riddle. That unlovable person, that’s me. (I almost cried by the way, when I admitted this. I don’t want to be her).
‘Are you unloved?’ said my therapist.
‘No.’ I replied. ‘There are some who love me just as I am. I don’t know why though. I used to think that it was because they thought I was that other person. But I’ve been myself in front of them and they’re still here.’
‘That’s because you don’t love people for what they do. You love people for who they are.’ she said.
But who am I? Everything in my life has been a reaction to external forces. I have been shaped by the world around me. Nurture, not nature.
‘It doesn’t matter.’ said the therapist. ‘By your reactions you can also get to know your true self. You’re extremely maternal for instance.’
‘I was just thinking today that I should never have had children. Nobody wants to foist issues like these on children?’ I replied.
‘Doesn’t that in itself prove how caring you are? Do you know how many people don’t care?’
This response drives some understanding. Because I know deep down that I’m a person who tackles the challenge head on. I care about people. I’m brave. I’m attracted to the extraordinary – and can create it. I express myself through writing. I can be magnificent, but I can also be a vile little shit. I am magnificently human. That I can admit to… but until now, only in private. Because I also care what everyone else thinks.
Michelangelo said “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
How well we do this is our measurement.
But it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing with their block of stone. The statue that they are liberating is one of their own intentions. But how well we are doing with our own block of stone is our business.
‘It’s not your business what others think of you.’ said my therapist (goddamnit she’s wise). ‘That’s their journey. Be concerned with your own journey.’
So how have things changed for me? A year ago, I had not yet started this blog. I had not yet published my book. I was not nearly as honest as I have become. Or as brave. Or as good at writing.
I like all of that. In fact… I love those things about myself. The other stuff? Well I’m still working on it.