It's a vicious, vicious cycle.
Turns out the self-loathing is even worse on your birthday -- the day that is meant to make us feel special, unique, valued and, most of all, remembered. The day the world says, "We're celebrating you because we're happy you're here!" Believe me, you long for that external validation even more when it's a big birthday. But when you don't love yourself, external validation will never, ever be enough. It will always, always fall short, no matter what you plan, what you get or how many people remember.
And I say this from experience. I'm embarrassed to admit it, and I'm certainly not proud of it, but the truth of the matter is that I was quite the selfish and childish 30-year-old woman last night. It took me 36 hours after turning 30 to melt down, but melt down I did. And it wasn't pretty. I screamed at the top of my lungs every single disappointment of the week. Never mind that finding reasons to take stock and give thanks is supposed to be my thing; I was coming up with every single thing that happened this week that hadn't lived up to my standards.
I don't want to be that person. I want to be full of self love, viewing everything as a gift, finding more in less. But I have failed miserably. It's a good thing, then, that Sugar has been tackling the issue of self hatred and instructing us on the importance of self love over the last two weeks.
My favorite lines from this week's column, "You Have Arrived At the Fire" (emphasis mine):
-- "It’s time for you to do the work you need to do to become the person you must be. That means tossing something out—the ugly and false notions you have about your stutter—and taking something in—the fact that you have the power to redirect the blow-torch of your self-hatred and turn it into love." (#426)
-- "We have the power to heal what needs to be healed. We get to give ourselves that." (#427)
And from last week's column, "The Dark Coccoon", which includes a story of hers that you absolutely must read (emphases mine):
-- "I used to see a butterfly in my mind’s eye every time I heard the word transformation, but life has schooled me. Transformation isn’t a butterfly. It’s the thing before you get to be a pretty bug flying away. It’s huddling in the dark cocoon and then pushing your way out... It’s the messy work you have ahead of you...of making sense of your fortunes and misfortunes, desires and doubts, hangups and sorrows, actions and accidents, mistakes and successes, so you can go on and become the person you must next become. The one who doesn’t wallow in her own despair."
So, you see, I have some messy work ahead of me -- of accepting the parts of me that are flawed but viewing them not from a critical point of view but through a hopeful, accepting and loving lens. That's what gives each of us the courage to change, step by step -- not because something is wrong with us, but because we want to feel better about ourselves.