You’re not a terrible person, you just have really high expectations…
Imagine a bubbling bath overflowing with the aromatic scent of lavender incense, coated with natural avocado oils and illuminated only by little, red floating candles. Now imagine you rush home to treat yourself to this luxury, only to be reminded that you don’t own any of those items, in fact, you bathe with old spice body wash and you misplaced the bathtub stopper ages ago. If this scenario makes you want to have a mini-breakdown and shower yourself only in tears, you have a problem.
When there is a gap between reality and fantasy, you can choose to live in the moment or hold on to your make-believe image of comfort. Fastening yourself to the “dream world” is not the answer. In the dream world, you get everything you want all the time. You control all future outcomes here, however our fantasies are meant to motivate us to accomplish great feats in the real world but not to shelter us from it. Frankly, they simply are not real and when we become so tied to our fantasies that we despise reality, we’ve set ourselves up for a future of disappointment. In other words, it’s one thing to want a relaxing, spa-like bubble bath its another to consider your life a failure because you can’t experience it right now.
In this very moment, I’ve given up working out and eating healthy, stopped hanging with my closest friends, thrown out the idea of ‘love’ and shifted to high gear on personal dissatisfaction because I couldn’t have all the happiness I desired at once. True story. Luckily I’ve found that I don’t remain in the self-loathing phase for too long and I eventually revert back to the “what can I do better phase.” It’s the latter phase that inspires me to write this post. The resulting revelation is as follows: accept reality, expect less, trust more, find role models, forgive yourself, and quit the distractions.
What does your revelation have to do with my self-hate?
We often dislike ourselves the most when things we want to be going right are going wrong. Sometimes the things we want seem reasonable and we are also deserving but no matter how hard we try, we cannot have them. Perhaps, instead of crying because of the absence of something and allowing oneself to be defined by “lack”, we instead decide to trust that it will come and begin to create a life of fulfillment. In my lived experience, these five things help me lower my expectations and start to change my outcomes.
You are ________ age with _____________ assets and live in _____________________. You are making $__________________ per year and wish you could do ___________________.
This is your reality and you should accept it as your starting point. This is by no means your end point. It’s only the landscape from which you will build your next goal. I recently decided to make a big move but I was so busy being sad about my current state of life that I forgot that I could build from here. I actually hated looking at my bank statement because I didn’t want to face the fact that I was overspending and that moving was unrealistic because of it. It only recently occurred to me that I could use my current status to properly budget and set goals that would get me to my dreams. Once you accept reality and stop thinking of yourself as a failure, you can set realistic goals that will help you manifest your wildest fantasies.
When you hate yourself and everyone else, it’s hard to have role models. It’s easier to envy, to avoid, to hate and to stubbornly forge through life yourself if you believe that you have nothing to give people and they have little to offer you. Take it from someone who’s pushed her closest friends away out of some distorted notion that they’d be better off because of it. Truthfully, I was scared that I wouldn’t be accepted or valued and so I pushed anyone who got too close far away from my protected zone.
We need good people and good role models in our lives because we cannot know all the answers to every challenge. There are people who have wisdom to share with us, if we are open to receive it. Once you learn to let people in and refrain from judging them when they are less than perfect you will benefit by tapping into a network of experience and wisdom.
When we hate ourselves its usually because we are holding on to our past mistakes. You have got to let them go. When I was still in grade school, the exterminators came to our co-op to spray the units, we were encouraged to leave the house for a few hours until the concoction had settled. When I returned, I noticed that our cat, Fluffy had been left at home. A few weeks later, Fluffy was crying more than usual. I noticed but I didn’t pay enough attention. He died days afterward. I’d never forgiven myself for not removing him from the home and then not taking him to the vet when I noticed his unusual cries. I was probably 13 years old, but it’s still hard for the 26 year old me to forgive myself for neglecting Fluffy. However, if I never acknowledge my mistake and forgive myself, I’ll never get another pet or another chance to learn from my mistakes. You have to forgive or you will never grow.
If you truly trusted yourself/spirit, you would not consider yourself a failure. You have an infinite amount of potential and there is something uniquely special about you that you are meant to uncover. You have to believe that and trust that your light will shine. Considering yourself doomed to a life of poverty and bad luck means you really don’t believe that you have greatness inside you. Trust that you are great and great things will come.
I discovered that there are a million things I can do to avoid myself, including doing nice deeds for others. I would give and give until I had nothing left, even though it felt more like being robbed than it did helping out. I realize I did this because I didn’t want to have. I didn’t want success. I didn’t want to discover my potential. I would give too much and then complain that no one ever gave back to me. It was my little game of self-sabotage and it worked well. Distractions come in many forms, television, drinking, smoking, partying and even over-giving. Distractions take us away from facing realty and stop us from forgiving, trusting and finding role models. We need to drop the distractions and focus on our goals.
With these 5 focus areas, I hope you can begin to stop self-loathing and start self-loving. Feel free to comment below or contact me directly to chat more about anything I mentioned here.