I can already tell that you guys are rolling your eyes at me. And yet, you clicked on the article, so you’re ready to be convinced. Well, I’m only too happy to oblige in reminding everyone represent that there is a person for everyone out there. Not necessarily a one-size-fits-all soulmate that aligns perfectly with every aspect of your being, you don’t even know yourself yet, how could we expect someone else to?
What I’m saying is, we’ve all been so enduringly taught to subscribe to the need to find flaws in ourselves. Basically, any deviation from what has been established as the norm (straight white, rich male) is painted unalterably as a flaw. Sometimes, the flaw can be fixed; solved with some capitalistic consumption and confidence.
Other times, however, we absorb into our personality a defence mechanism whereby we can protect ourselves with self-deprecating humour and a tendency towards isolating ourselves when things get hard. As a result of all of this, many of us have been conditioned to view our flaws as things people can use against us. Weaknesses that make us unloveable or undesirable, or fundamentally unworthy.
Hang tight, dear readers, because I’m about to go on a deep dive into everyone’s diary entries from 2012 to present…
“I’m not good enough. Attractive enough.
No one will ever know me. No one will ever love me”
Sound familiar? Don’t worry, we all had that grunge emo phase where the world didn’t make sense and we didn’t know who or what we were in relation to the big machine of socio-economic players. To be quite frank, I probably don’t fully know who I am even today. What I do know, is that love is out there, always. It’s not a finite resource, the fact that other people have it with different traits to you doesn’t mean that it’s not there for you too. Like Karl Marx said, ‘seize the means of love’. Well, something like that. I didn’t major in economics, lol. But you get my drift.
I know that I’m not alone here in suffering from anxious moments, but it really can feel alienating, bewildering and frankly out of control to not know what’s happening from one moment to the next.
Sometimes you need to write a letter to toxic people in your life to trick yourself into expressing things that you didn’t realise you were feeling.
Well, this is no different.
I’m hoping that there will be more to this letter than just me complaining. Even if there isn’t, it will still be productive because we all need to get talking about mental health more. It isn’t enough to work to merely de-stigmatise it. We need to normalise it. In fact, more than that, we need to actively engage with it. It’s not enough to just blink and look both ways politely when someone is suffering from an anxiety attack.
But keeping your distance isn’t always the way to go, particularly when a person is spiralling and just needs confirmation that they’re still on this mortal coil. It can seem like your life is drifting out of control or slipping away down a drainpipe. That’s when you need people most, and that’s when they can really let you down by being MIA. Maybe they have their own needs, issues and personal boundaries. That’s okay.
But you do need to be aware of your own needs.
You aren’t a burden, and even if you are asking something of someone, you are within your rights to do so. If you are in a relationship or friendship or they are close family, as long as you are reciprocating prioritising the relationship, you deserve the proper attention. This isn’t something to be meek and mild about, truly. You owe it to yourself to ensure you are surrounded by the right people who are educated and know you well enough to look after you.
I’m not going to pretend that life is always going to be sunshine and daisies, dear readers. The simple fact of the matter is that sometimes life sucks, and it sucks hard. I’m not sure that there is an emotional experience more frustrating, heart-wrenching, guilt-tripping, or generally horrible than unrequited love. If you remember feeling like Rosaline in Romeo and Juliet – the brief object of his whims only to be side-lined for the flashier, younger model – then you’re in the right place. It is so hard to find value and validation in who you are as a person without the reciprocal feedback from another person.
Indeed, if your feelings of worthiness stem from the emotional support of another person, as so often it does, that person is, for better or worse, responsible for your state of mind and sense of self. This isn’t fair on anyone, and don’t we know it as we angst and stress about the lack of emotional reciprocation we’re receiving, all the while lamenting that it’s not necessarily even their fault.
That’s always the kicker.
That the people causing such emotional distress and pain aren’t actually aware they’re doing it. The quest for a satisfying and enduring, comfortable love is a long journey and often one that doesn’t have a specific end point. Certainly, ‘enduring love’ cannot be achieved through sheer force of will. Oh, but haven’t we tried!
But you aren’t alone! I promise you that there are millions of people around the world and close to you that feel exactly the same way; helpless, confused, frustrated, and like you’re ‘lacking’ something fundamental. That feeling doesn’t even necessarily go away when you’re in a relationship, and there’s no two ways about it, love is hard.
But it’s even harder when you don’t feel loved.
So yes, your family might have neglected you when you were younger. That is something not to be dismissed, and it will stay with you in one way or another for a while.
You have to acknowledge how you were treated and recognise that you deserve better.
Then you have to let people treat you right and let your guard down.