This love yourself business is one of our pop-psychology phenomenon that I just don’t understand. Certainly there must be some people that find it helpful… It’s just never been a relevant question for me. I know what I’m here to do, I’m entirely agnostic to which road I take to get there, and I’ve been through enough that I know my boundaries and limits. There isn’t much that I find unforgivable, and those things that do cross the line tend to happen for idiosyncratic reasons, resulting in a unexpected ejection from my life that happens with a cool vengeance that is as final as it is undramatic. Some examples include:
- The on again / off again who called me a spoiled princess. We’re still friendly, but he’ll never get another opportunity to accuse me of being a spoiled princess. Come to think of it, he’s the second to have made that mistake and suffered a similar fate.
- Bringing an intolerable level of drama into my life. Intolerable is defined by fighting more than we get along and over stupid sh!t.
- Putting me in a box or a pedestal. I burp after breakfast and I promise, I’m not perfect.
- Yell at me for something that you do yourself or otherwise demonstrate a complete lack of self-awareness. Yell at me for extending to someone else the same courtesy that you yourself are the recipient of.
- Failure to demonstrate impulse control that somehow invites drama that involves me.
- Disregard of the norms associated with hospitality. I put thought and effort into making people that enter my space comfortable; I won’t spend time with you if you don’t do the same.
- An pervasive imbalance in invested energy.
I’ve got a pretty long fuse and enough of my own screw-ups behind me to have a lot of room in my life for people who are suffering from temporary idiocies.
Now, normally I don’t get too worked up about other people’s opinions or operating philosophy. However, I’ve come to the realization that I’m going to have to be less open with my friends because the frequent discussion of my romantic misadventures is leading several to diagnose me with a big case of the “don’t love yourself’s.” And I find this irritating. I got a “love yourself” magic 8 ball replacement with affirmations that bubble up whenever you feel the need. Clearly , it was intended as a joke. But equally clearly, the meta messaging is that I just don’t have a strong enough sense of self-worth.
Can I get out The Four Agreements and beat people over the head with it?
- It ain’t about you.
- Don’t assume. This includes assuming that you know everything behind a situation or the reasons and factors that influence it.
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Do the best you can with what you’ve got at any given time.
Frankly, I think this is where we go wrong so often. We’re the star of our own movies so we believe that, when someone tries to pick us up at a bar, it’s about us. It isn’t. In the other person’s head, it’s about them. They think you can do something for them: elevate their status, bring them some pleasure, entertain them, serve them. And so we’re flattered instead of aware. We let down our guard instead of maintaining our neutrality. And then we wonder why, when the guy ends up being a schmuck, we didn’t see it before. Well, you didn’t see it because you were looking at yourself in the reflective surface of his eyes. You’re operating blind if you spend all of your focus on yourself.
If I thought for a minute that any of the things that make these well-meaning people question my regard for myself was actually about me, then yes, I’d have abandoned ship a long time ago. But it isn’t about me.
And if I were really at one with the fab four, then I guess I wouldn’t be so irritated because I’d be applying the “it ain’t about you” principal to my new self-affirmation magic 8 ball.
I hate getting called out by my own damn philosophy.