A lot of us have been there. The person you love turns to you and says; ‘I don’t want to be with you anymore.’ No matter how expected or unexpected this may be, it can feel as though your world is crumbling all whilst someone is sucker-punching you. But what happens if we take out the other person in the scenario? What if the person who doesn’t want to be with you anymore – is you?
Last week was a taxing one for me emotionally and physically as I had a sickness virus at the start of the week. This left me with being alone for two days and by the end of day two, I was done being in my own head. I was low. I was rock bottom low. I was alone and desperate to feel like someone cared. I didn’t want to be with myself anymore. It was an incredibly dark place to be. I needed to talk to someone. One thing I have really gotten into these last few weeks, is talking. I want or more so, need to talk about things now. I just have to get my feelings out. To the extent that whilst I was alone those couple of days, I recorded myself so it felt like I was talking to someone. This was a good back up option, as on play back I could hear the rationale, or lack there-of in some cases.
I am doing well now. I am taking measures to ensure I don’t -ever- get to the stage of telling myself; ‘I don’t want to be with you anymore’ ever again. I am slowly learning to love myself, even after that low.
One thing I have realised recently, however, is that self-esteem issues bring an inherent selfishness along with them. This may sound ridiculous, but not loving myself then projects into my view of how others see me, and I then get self-consumed. I listened to a talk (‘This is Water’) by David Foster Wallace, about leading a conscious, meaningful life and how many of us ‘will die a million deaths before they plant us’. What really hit me was when he said ‘everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute centre of the universe […] we rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness because it’s so socially repulsive.’ This is out of the context within which he was talking, but the concept of us unconsciously choosing to frame life selfishly really affected me. Those two days I was ill, I was consumed by why no-one was there for me, why didn’t anyone care about me, why me, me, me, me. In that mind frame I forget about how others feel, I simply can’t fathom that other maybe hurting or struggling too.
Aside from this I would say I am not a selfish person. I am compassionate, empathetic, caring, loving and if I could, I would give the world to those I love. The only thing I will not give you is my green Jelly Tots, but everyone’s got to draw a line somewhere, haven’t they?! When the self-esteem issue causes the selfishness to come out to play, it makes me feel even worse because I don’t want to be selfish. But, after repeatedly listening to David’s talk, I know I can make a conscious choice to be selfish or I can choose to consider a wider view point and ultimately, feel better within myself.
Last week was my rock bottom. It was the moment I realised I had to turn the light on at the end of the tunnel as no-one else can do it for me. I can actually think of a Dumbledore quote here but I shan’t get my nerd out on this occasion! I’m sure there’s some other clichés I could throw in here as well, but essentially, my happiness has to come from within myself. I can’t get others to fix it for me.
I have no doubt that it’s because I am dredging up past and present to seek the ever-elusive self-esteem I need, that has contributed to the low mood of last week. I also had the unhelpful expectation that people should just know I was feeling bad and come help me. I thought I was being obvious to those I was attempting to reach out to, but I wasn’t. It’s when people don’t ask for help that bad things can happen, but it’s not so easy to ask for help sometimes. If you think someone is struggling, please, please ask them if they are okay, that maybe all they need. It turns out, I actually had a few people message me to make sure I was okay despite me not having said anything to them. Funny how skewed your mind can make things.
Whilst I hit rock bottom last week and it was painful, I am grateful for it. I know I will be okay, great even. I know this because there is a benefit in having hit rock bottom. When you’re at the bottom there is only one way you can go – up – and I’ll be happily taking myself with me as I go.