A Little Self-Love Never Hurt Anyone

Column: Love-Drunk or Hungover
by Mika Doyle

Love-Drunk or Hungover is all about relationships — romantic, friendships, family, you name it, we’re talking about it. What we don’t talk about very often is our relationship with ourselves, which I would argue is the most vital relationship of them all. I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying that you can’t love someone else if you can’t love yourself. Cliche? Yes. But also more true than most will admit.

After I graduated from college and entered the “real” world, I had a massive identity crisis. Nothing in my life was how I had imagined it when I was a kid, and it was difficult for me not to see that as a negative even though that “different” wasn’t necessarily bad. As each year passed, I turned a year older, and each time another birthday celebration came around, I found fewer and fewer reasons to celebrate. All I could see was all of the things I had not yet accomplished, and my relationship with myself became bitter and strained. Birthday party? Can we sing dirges?

On Monday I turn 27. To fend off a weekend of lamenting and self-hatred, I invited over a group of girlfriends who I know will make me laugh. You see, I was prepared this time around. Round 1 in the battle with self: surround yourself with people who like you more than you like yourself. Me: 1. Self: 0.

Professionally, I have always felt less than fulfilled. I was in survival mode for the last four years trying to make enough money to support myself while finding my place in the professional world. Then I found a job that allows for more work/life balance and a less public role, and I realized I needed to seize the opportunity to pursue my passion: writing. Round 2 in battle with self: create a long-term writing plan and don’t give up on it. I launched my online publication The Slasher Chick just this week and have already recruited 2 other writers. There’s only 1 post up as of the writing of this blog post, but I have high hopes for it. Me: 2. Self 0.

And the love life. Oooh, the love life. That’s been a topic of great interest for people who don’t seem to understand that it’s okay to be in your mid-twenties and unmarried. I got into a pretty big tussle with myself at the beginning of the year, struggling over my desire to control every aspect of my life by taking as few chances as possible, and it ended in me punching myself in the face and flipping myself the bird. I’ve been in a relationship for about 7 months now with a guy who says he never wants to get married (you can see why that tussle took place — I’ve always said I want to get married). The future with him is murky, but today is bright and clear. He’s the first guy to ever make me feel like the person I am is great as-is (well, if you talk to him, he’d say he’d prefer me to be much taller). He’s the first guy who makes me feel normal and relaxed and carefree, and to me, that’s worth a murky future. Round 3 in battle with self: let myself live TODAY. Me: 3. Self: 0.

Monday I turn 27. And you know what? I think myself and I are both going to celebrate.

Do you have these battles with yourself? If so and you feel like you’re starting to lose (like I did), don’t just lie down and let it happen. Step up and be a fighter. You are your own worst enemy and strongest adversary, but you also know yourself well enough to figure out how to win this battle of wills. Take control and love the life you’re living right now, no matter how different is is from what you thought it’d be.

Love and a little self-love,

Mika

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~ by Mika Doyle on April 22, 2011.

9 Responses to “A Little Self-Love Never Hurt Anyone”

  1. Mika, how I love this post. I could ramble, but instead I’ll leave it short and sweet: 1. Completely agree with everything said, 2. You are amazing. When you forget, employ my favorite saying, “Fake it til you make it.” Fake your belief in your fabulousity enough, eventually you start to believe it 😉 , and lastly, 3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (And yes, I’m bringing ice cream)

  2. Really like that last bit about becoming a fighter and the battle of wills. Recently becoming un-engaged, this article is significant to my life as well.

    Reminds me of a valuable quote that is one of the hardest to follow, “It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.”

    • Thanks, Rick. I’m sorry to hear about your un-engagement, but I agree that quote is very fitting. Here’s another I like: “It’s not how many times you fall but how many times you get back up.” I think one of the best tactics of a good fighter is to let yourself mourn first, then identify at least 1 way a bad situation is actually something positive, whether it be a learning experience, new opportunity, or whatever. That’s what’s gotten me through some pretty dark patches in my life.

  3. Fantastic post, Mika!! I have these battles all the time… (weekly… monthly… yearly…. heck sometimes daily) Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. What I learned is that the days I lose, I put behind me and try again tomorrow. My life is absolutely fantastic. Is it what I expected it to be? Well, no, not at all. But it’s actually better than I could have imagined in so many ways. Sure, a few parts of my life seems to be lagging a bit, but that’s okay. Since we’re on quotes, here’s the one that gets me through all this: “The best thing about the future is it only comes one day at a time” – Abe Lincoln. So, when I started getting all worked up that I’m not married, am no where close to kids, don’t own a house and owe plenty of people money (thanks Sallie Mae), that tomorrow, it could all change and all I can do is deal with today in the very best way possible.

    I did start panicking the other day on my drive to work when I suddenly realized I was turning 26 this year and 30 is creeping closer and closer but then I decided, eh, what can you do… 30 will probably be fabulous. So, bring on 26! (I still need the 4 years to deal with it…)

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

    • Ages 24, 25, and 26 were hard birthdays for me for exactly that reason — I saw myself drawing nearer and nearer to 30. I think 27, 28, and 29 are years in which you really start to accept that you’re an adult, and you need stop surviving and start living. I feel almost liberated to be 27, like I’ve defied everyone who thought my life should be different (marriage, kids, house) by just being happy with my life at 27. This December, we’ll make sure 26 is so awesome, you won’t care what age you’re turning!

  4. Just what I needed to read on a Monday morning. First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Second, marriage is sometimes overrated. If you found someone who is your best friend and you can’t stop kissing then hold on to them even if you don’t get married. I was married for nine years to someone who was my best friend until I realized we had nothing in common and eventually I didn’t want to kiss him anymore. As sad as that is if you find someone who makes you feel like the best version of yourself then kudos to you girlie!!!

    🙂

    • Thank you so much, Laura! I’m so sorry to hear about what happened with your marriage, but I’m glad the two of you figured it out earlier in your lives rather than later. And honestly, I am starting to see that much of what people expect out of us are not necessarily what’s right for us. All I want to be is happy — in whatever form that takes!

  5. I’m glad he makes you feel great. He made me feel totally the oppossite.

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