32. Love Thy Self
I went to a dinner party last night. 10 of us, 4 couples and 2 single women. We had one friend in common, the host. And I knew one other woman. We ate well, chatted, had fun, laughed… and as I drove away I cried.
Part loneliness, part awareness of my awkward moments? I was feeling tired and sad perhaps I shouldn’t have gone but I’d said yes so I did. I often found myself tongue-tied and when I did speak my timing was off and my voice disappeared under other people. You know, those moments when one person looks over in recognition, they heard you, smile and acknowledge what you’ve said but it just isn’t right for you to repeat it; even then it may not be heard and the moment has passed. The other aspect of the evening was the realisation that the other friend, who I like and respect, doesn’t want to spend as much time with me as she once did. She has a boyfriend now plus couples just don’t invite single women in their 30s over. But there is also a new distance between us, I can’t quite explain it but I recognise it in her. And in me too if I’m honest. It made me sad.
So I wept, gently, not huge sobs… sadness for that friendship, and other friendships.
It’s something I’ve seen in a few of my friends. I’ve had a rough time, haven’t we all. My sense of self worth and self esteem is low and my need for external validation (something I’ve always suffered with anyway) has been more potent than ever. It’s been 4 years since my break up and yet each time I’ve shaken the loneliness off (sadness, depression or whatever it is) the high has been brief and the sadness has seeped right back in.
I know I know, it’s a gradual climb to achieve that consistent good feeling. But 4 years?!! Longer really.
This morning I came across a JLo interview on Ellen’s show, via another site somehow, who knows, anyway that led to a Huff Post interview in which JLo and her sister talk about her book True Love; intended as a record of her first world tour it became a record /expression of her healing from her divorce. I haven’t read the book.
In the interviews JLo speaks of low self esteem, and how it can be masked by success and confidence in how your image and your accomplishments. She speaks about giving unconditional love to yourself, like you would to your kids. I’ve said it to friends before myself… it’s just like on an aeroplane. You HAVE to put your oxygen mask on yourself first, if you can’t function i.e. breathe, you will be unable to help anyone else.
Simple, the fact is you need to sleep (7-9hrs a night), eat (well), exercise (regularly). Maslow’s heirarchy of needs sums it up in one image. Meeting our basic physiological needs (for survival) is the foundation for our achievements and motivations.
JLo talks about us as Works In Progress, WIPs. And she mentions Louise Hay as an inspiration. As you know I am not a huge fan of self discovery in the whole commercialised self-help book way. I believe in being active, my own version of help self rather than self help. In the loving being single – a list of why vein.
But there is something in it isn’t there? The taking care of self thing makes sense. JLo summed it up in simple example; when she was pregnant with her twins she moved away from a man smoking a cigarette. Of course she did. She wanted to protect and care for her unborn babies. So why had she never protected herself in the same way before? Now she tries to.
* Photo from interview with Ryan Seacrest.
**See also my book list on the subject of feminine insight in my last post