Sometimes I can't see that approval and love is what I am truly seeking. Often, in fact. Usually the situation goes something like this: I do something big, something I've worked my butt off for. The acknowledgment is not enough and sometimes not even there. I cry uncontrollably, a cry fueled by anger, frustration, and a nagging feeling like, "I did something wrong. There is something wrong with me."
The part that makes this all a little sadder is that I do get affirmation from friends and loved ones. But it's the people that I don't get it from that I have this extreme need to get it from. The ones I deem challenges. The ones whose love I have to work for, because anything worth having is worth working for, right?
Too long have I put my self-worth in the hands of others, giving too much weight and value to people that I think are better than me. I am a people-pleaser, and that's really getting old.
Because when you think about it, does it ever end? Isn't there always something "you could be doing better"? Something others with their objectivity and hindsight tell you you should be doing because it would get you closer to perfection? The thing about perfection is it does not exist, so the more you strive for it, the more it's like jumping to reach a basketball* net when you are only 5'2". Sure, sometimes you'll jump a little higher because if you do it everyday, practice will kick in. But some days you'll be tired or sick and you just won't be able to jump as high. Why do we put the value in those days? Why do others put your value in those days too? The answer to both those questions is probably the same:
It's very hard to accept ourselves just as we are, imperfections and all, even if some of those "imperfections" are what make us human.
In saying all this, I don't mean to imply that we should just kick back, sit on the couch, and smoke weed all day under the guise of saying, "I am enough just this way." In fact, doing that, you are probably still saying you're not enough: not worthy enough to get up off the couch and do things for your life and yourself.
But I also don't fully understand all this self-improvement stuff. There's a whole section on it in every bookstore**. The implication in the idea that our selves need improvement is that we are broken, fundamentally, and in need of fixing.
I have had that belief for a long time. I spent years wondering what the hell is wrong with me and then years trying to fix those things. I could never quite get it right and all I did was beat myself up for it, thinking "Why if I can see it, can't I just change it?"
It taken me a while, and even still I think I intellectually understand it but have not completely brought it into an emotional level of understanding, to realize that:
There is nothing wrong with me.
That doesn't make me unaccountable for my actions or my words. I can't just do whatever the fuck I want, saying, "Yo. Ain't nothin' wrong with me***". But beating myself up for my imperfections is a waste of time. I am human. I make mistakes. Doing so doesn't mean there is something wrong with every fiber of my being. I can forgive myself and move on.
Coming to terms with that means that I can love myself. It doesn't matter if you do or if you don't tell me you do. I do not have to work for approval or love or anything. Because when I truly love myself for who I am, I invite others to do so. And those people are the ones who are really my friends. Those are the ones I want to hang around. They tell me they love me without even having to ask. They are pretty damn cool.
*I have never played basketball.
**Who am I kidding with this "every" bookstore? Isn't Barnes and Noble the only one left?
*** I don't know why I wrote it that way.