There’s moments of reflection that are inevitable at the points in your life where you decide on your course for the future.
I had one of them only this week.
An epiphany, one might say.
I strongly feel that understanding the patterns and decisions that lead up to these moments are the only true way forward.
George Santayana said it beautifully:
‘Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.‘
The thing is – I often go full Alice (in Wonderland) in these moments. There’s a song in the Disney movie that I’ve always related to. A lot.
I give myself very good advice. But I very seldom follow it.
When I look back at my past (relationships) and try to determine the fatalistic patterns that inevitably lead to the crash-and-burn that follows – there’s always two common denominators that (for me) create a destructive vicious cycle that I have yet to successfully beat.
Selfworth. And choice.
It’s a pattern that I’ve come to recognize only recently – but that can be traced back to…well….always. One that’s ruled my life, left it’s clawmarks and has thus far proved unwilling to budge.
But who knows – writing it down might bring to light some new determination to fix this mess and discard these unhealthy patterns once and for all.
Pattern 1: The quest to be worthy.
It often feels like I’ve spent a lifetime trying to be enough. Enough for myself. My family. The people around me and the partners I’ve been with. A constant battle to be everything that is needed, wanted and expected.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with that need, mind you. Wanting to be all you can be for someone is an admirable ambition, if you ask me.
When you venture out into the world with the solid belief that you weren’t, aren’t, can’t be and never will be enough…even though that’s all you want to be – that’s where it gets tricky.
So because I uphold this belief of not being enough – my actions, interpretations and in turn…choices – will be clouded by me trying to confirm this for myself. Trying to prove to myself that I am indeed never enough – by finding undeniable evidence for that in the world around me.
Pattern 2: Oh, how Choice can wreak havoc.
Pattern 1 makes sure that everything I do can be constantly tainted by that insecurity of not being enough. That my days are built up around the impending doom of possibly failing (someone, or at something). That I do everything in my power to be enough while stubbornly seeing only the proof that I am not. Sounds healthy eh? No. It’s not.
But to make matters worse – pattern 2 locks into this deficiency with a vengeance. Because in my muddled brain, there would be an easy way to prove that I AM enough. That I AM worthy.
It might be the Disney overdose or the shitload of romcoms and gushy books I’ve read – but the concept of someone falling for you head over heels, undeniably and unconditionally…would be the ultimate way of discarding all of those self-worth issues once and for all. They choose you. All of you. For always. And POOF. Gone be the self-doubt. You suddenly are enough. Right? Wrong.
The thing is – when you add the confirmation bias to a broken person with a shitty sense of self-worth….all that means is (or well…all that it’s meant for me so far, speaking from personal experience) that you start making crappy choices in hopes of reaching that ultimate goal of being chosen for all that you are.
Because when you start out this search feeling like you don’t deserve to be chosen?
Let me tell you:
You’re not going to be picking anyone that is in any way capable of actually doing so. That would not fit your bias. You don’t deserve to actually be chosen so you’re sure as hell won’t puck someone who would.
Which means that these two patterns combined have, up till now – always only lead me to choices (for men) that could never lead to me being chosen (by them). Going for ‘unavailable’ is a talent I have honed to perfection.
Choosing unavailable men – be it emotionally, physically, mentally or whatever-ly – is, after all, the only proper choice when you’re set out to confirm that you’re not going to be enough for them to ever pick you.
Date the dude half way across the world?
No way that he’ll leave house and hearth for you.
Date the man with a wife and kids?
No way that he’ll ever put you first.
Date the guy who can’t make it through a single sentence without a lie in their own benefit?
No way that they’ll pick you over themselves.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And yet every time I reach that moment…. Every time I come to that point where the choice is meant to be made…..
Every time I get to where they’re supposed to pick me – choose me – want me….I still end up fucking surprised and broken when that OBVIOUSLY doesn’t happen.
You’d think at some point I might have learned to know better eh?
But I’ve already caught myself repeating EXACTLY the same pattern again. Regardless of my newfound wisdom.
Already seen myself falling for that same trap.
Regardless of my towering ambitions.
But by writing this I’m definitely trying to tell myself to be better. Do better. Make better choices.
The thing is – there’s going to be more to it than just recognising (and avoiding) those two patterns. Because they’re not the root cause – just the manifestation of the consequences. Because in order to FIX these patterns instead of circumventing them – it’s back to the cliches:
“You have to learn to love yourself before you can love someone else. Because it’s only when we love ourselves that we feel worthy of someone else’s love.”
I’ll have to figure out how to turn around that confirmation bias from disproving my worth to proving it. How to choose myself instead of waiting to be chosen. Can’t be that hard, eh? –sigh–
Anyone have a manual for that?
Self-love for Dummies maybe?