Maybe you woke up today and avoided looking at yourself in the mirror as you used the restroom, keeping your head turned down towards the drain of the sink as the water disappeared into it when washing your hands. Maybe you drank three cups of coffee on an empty stomach, and also didn’t drink any water to match them. Maybe you just threw your hair up in a bun because it looks decent but was effortless, and allowed you to spend more time just sitting on your bed with your eyes closed before you had to go out into the world.
I just crawled back out of a spell of sadness, one that seemed to last much longer than the others. Then again, they always feel that way, because I lose all track of time when they occur. I’ll smoke far too many cigarettes and not run enough. I can and have done both, but they never seem to be in balance. Some things can’t be balanced, because they don’t even go together. Smoking is a habit I should quit, and running is a habit I should carry my whole life. So why do I continue to smoke, and let it get worse when I get depressed?
It’s because when I get that far down it’s like I fall out of love with myself.
So, if you ever feel that way, know I can sympathize with you, but, let me be the first to say that maybe we don’t need sympathy. Empathy yes, but sympathy not so much. For the times where you don’t love yourself, do not pity yourself. This is the biggest lesson I have learned in the last year. I know that sounds really cruel, and sort of difficult to comprehend, but there is a difference between being gentle with yourself and making excuses for yourself.
If I am depressed I will smoke more cigarettes, but I still have to run. I do it even if it makes my lungs hurt, and I hold no sympathy for myself because I choose to smoke when I am down. There are other options to soothe myself, but I picked up the cigarette, and I can’t feel sorry for myself when I choose to light up a stick of chemicals between my lips and inhale. That is at the fault of no one else but me.
My point is, even if you are in a time where you don’t love yourself, and you aren’t treating yourself very well, don’t blame others. Don’t go casting angry words off your tongue, ruining the friendships and relationships you have. If you don’t love yourself at least make sure you don’t chase off the people who do love you. Not everything bad that happens to you is your fault, but the way you let those bad things take hold of your emotions is your own responsibility. If you have tears to cry, at least use them to water your roots. You can’t grow and get better if you don’t want to use you negative experiences to create positive outcomes.
I’m not perfect. I’d say my habit of smoking is a pretty clear indicator that I’ve got some internal shit to handle. However, I can say that one area I’ve really advanced my abilities in the last year is following my own advice. Want to know what I do on the days I don’t love myself? I get up, go for a run, then come home and have coffee and two cigarettes. In the midst of my turmoil I still keep doing the things I know are good for me.
Being gentle with myself is knowing I still do things I shouldn’t, but applauding myself for the things I do right.
If you don’t learn to accept your faults but love your strengths, you’re going to find that loving yourself is a lot harder than it ought to be.
There will never be a time in your life where you are perfect. If there were, life would be incredibly boring and you’d never have anything to strive for. Failure and loss are driving forces. Remember that.