Am I a good person? No. But do I try to be better every single day? Also no. I’m not ashamed to say that the person I love the most in the world is myself. Trust me, it sounds even better when said out loud. Some will call me narcissistic, others an egomaniac. I won’t blame them. You see, there’s a thin line between narcissism and self-love and for now, I’m ice-skating around that line like in Ice Princess. I’m going to give you a bit of context to that story of mine, so buckle up baby, because this article is brought to you by RedBull, anti-depressants and approximately zero hours of sleep.
This “eat pray love” type of awakening didn’t come to me because I wasn’t loved growing up, nor because I’ve been rejected time after time. Although, realising I wasn’t Julia Roberts had took its toll on me. I’ve had an amazing, if not crazy childhood and I’ve had my fair share of girlfriends, some crazier than others. However, when the age came for Mother Nature to give boys and girls their respective gifts, she had other plans for me. I didn’t get acne; my voice didn’t break… instead I got depression.
Mother Nature had roasted me like a turkey on Christmas Eve. I won’t bore you with all the disagreements that ensued but it quickly became a vicious circle. In a nutshell, whenever I had my life sorted out and miraculously managed to get a girlfriend, I’d mess it up. I’d be incapable of loving her properly and would reject her love due to my constant mood swings and the wreck that was my mind. I’d end up thinking I wasn’t worthy of her, I would end our relationship and go back to being single. We accept the love we think we deserve. I thought I didn’t deserve any. I thought I wasn’t worth loving. Horrifying, how your own mind can twist your thoughts. One of the many “gifts” that comes with depression is that you’re constantly worrying about your relationships with others. Do they love you? Do they think you’re annoying? You become hypersensitive to a point it becomes exhausting, it prevents me from taking naps, either that or the remorse of not studying for midterms.
Needless to say, it was more Depression & Anxiety than Netflix & Chill for me. Now, what follows isn’t a story about how I got rid of depression. This is how I learnt how to live with it and, tadaa, here I am. Queue fireworks and trumpets. I’m sure we all have that friend that gives great advices about life and relationship but strangely they’re single and not happier than anyone else. When I read that, I couldn’t think of any of my friends doing that and that’s when I had a revelation. If I didn’t have this friend, then I was that friend. The biggest epiphany was that all of it was true. I wasn’t following any of the advice I gave nor the lifestyle I was preaching. The latest advice I’d given to a friend trying to find her Beast in a world full of Gaston’s was, “how do you want to be loved if you don’t even love yourself?”
Loving ourselves is how we teach others to love us. You don’t need to be Missy Elliot to tell you that you’re worth it. You are. I am. At least, that’s what I convinced myself, but it’s enough to get you started. Get to know yourself. Have a Bridget Jones phase and then go on a journey of self-discovery. Get as passionate about yourself as I am. Become your Number One priority. I’ll never say this enough but ‘TREAT YO SELF!’ You thought those flowers on Valentines Day were from a secret admirer? Nope! A dozens roses from me to me. You don’t even need a special occasion; I wanted some Mexican food so I treated myself to a Chipotle burrito (the other love in my life).
But what if you’re getting bored? One word: Spontaneity. Do something spontaneous once a week, once a day. Pay for someone’s coffee, compliment a person on the street, try a new activity. Spice up your life! Find your limits and push past them.
This “Know yourself, Treat Yourself” way of thinking isn’t an end in itself, it didn’t cure my depression but it allowed me to put a leash on it and turn my life around. It helped me understand what I wanted in life, how I wanted to be treated by others and where to set my expectations. I have given myself a better insight into my own life since than that bearded dude upstairs ever did in 20 years of me praying to him. God is definitely that guy in a group chat that sees everything but doesn’t reply. Loving yourself may seem narcissistic but you owe it to yourself for putting up with you. You are your number one fan, you will never quit on yourself, and you have your back until the end. You are smart, you are loyal, and you should appreciate that. Look at me, I liked myself so much I put a ring on it. Loving yourself is becoming independent, realising your happiness doesn’t rely on anybody else but you. Now if you’ll excuse me, all this love is making me sick. Or is it all the alcohol I drank to get this much emotional?
Text by Stan Bertheol
Picture research by Donna Darafshian; featured image taken from Tumblr.