1042 Words On Learning To Love Myself

In every single therapy session I’ve had (and trust me, I’ve had well over my share + your share more than likely), every episode of whatever teenage or twenty something coming-of-age network TV show I’m obsessed with at the moment, in every book (or blog post!) I’ve ever read by any author that I admire, they all say the same thing when it comes to being in relationships with others and yourself. It’s always something like:

“If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect someone else to love you?”

I can remember witnessing plenty of other people having a major “a-ha!” moment when hearing this piece of advice. “THIS IS IT!” people would say. “How CAN I expect [him/her/anyone] to love me if I don’t love myself?!”

As much as I’ve seen it make a big difference in people’s lives, I can’t say the same for me. “Loving” myself as a means of entering a happy, healthy relationship never seemed like a feasible solution.

Something else I’ve heard a lot, particularly of growing up is to  “Treat others how you wish to be treated.” 

That’s another one that never really worked for me. I was super nice to a group of girls in middle school but they constantly left me out of their weekend trips to the mall to buy BFF necklaces, and often didn’t save me a seat at the cafeteria lunch table.

It doesn’t work for me in my twenties, especially when you’re living in South-Central Philadelphia and commute to work along with thousands of other miserable people. Smiling at someone rarely gets you a smile back. In my experience, it gets me an Elvis-style snarled lip, an eye-roll, and if I’m lucky, it gets me an intentional elbow in the side on the bus. Also, I don’t know that spooning some attractive looking guy in a suit smelling like Armani Cologne on the 42 Bus in the morning will get the same response from him. Unless I spooned the Homeless guy who is always touching himself. I’m sure he’d cop a quick feel and probably give me scabies.

I’ve been majorly in my head recently. Me and my feelings, the good ones, the sad ones, the depressed ones, the over-ecstatic ones, and the indifferent ones have been having internal discussions quite often. I think about where my life is, how thankful I am to be where I am, and  wonder where I want to go in the future. This will come as a huge surprise to any of you who know me, but I’ve even been thinking about what my next romantic relationship will bring. I’m tired of dating my career. I’m tired of putting people off because I’m “too busy”. I’m tired of dancing around the idea of going back to college. I’m tired of secretly hoping that one person is going to return my occasional e-mails and my telepathic messages to him saying “Hey, I’m ready now. I want to try this again, now.”

I know. Even Katie get’s a little coo-coo sometimes.

Anywhoodle, as I sort through my feelings and start my journey to figure out all of the things, I keep getting plagued by these “Love yourself and others will love you” and “Treat others how you want to be treated” sayings. There’s gotta be a reason that they’re looming around in my noggin.

I HAVE found that I have a newfound desire to take care of myself. Not that I don’t take care of myself already. I have my own biz that pays my bills and all of that hazz. I don’t sit in the same dirty clothes every day, or forget to brush my teeth (okay, it happens sometimes), but I do let things that make me feel good to do fall by the wayside. I walk out of the house in the first thing that I grab because I have no one to impress.  My job is to take care of people – to make their lives easier, to take on their personal problems, to organize their lives so that they don’t have to. Working 15 hours a day leaves very little time for myself.

If I were dating myself right now, I’d be telling my girlfriends that I feel ignored, unloved, under-appreciated, and like I’m not a priority. 

Loving myself, or learning to, has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to learn. Mostly because I’m not sure what loving myself looks like. For a while, I thought getting out of bed, dragging myself to work, spending time with friends, and watching Dexter was being happy. I blamed feeling underwhelmed on my occasional depression and just settled for it.

As I write this blog post, I’ve just cleaned up after a dinner that I cooked for myself, spent the day spring cleaning and organizing my house, watched some Sex and the City and swooned over Aidan Shaw being the perfect boyfriend to one of my best girlfriends, just showered, and am about to settle in on freshly washed bed linens.

I have a lot on my mind daily, from finances to what I want to do with my life, to my Grandmother’s ever unknown future with her health, but right now, I’m kind of happy… albeit a different kind of happy – not over the moon, jumping for joy, or over-the-moon ecstatic about something. But I’m content. I’m happy with myself.

I kind of love me right now.

Maybe that’s what the whole “Loving yourself if you want to be loved back” thing is. Maybe it’s the act of doing the things that help prove that you love yourself that make you more vibrant. Claiming to love yourself doesn’t do shit for you. Acting as if you do, however, does give you that certain glow. And maybe learning to love yourself and putting it into practice will also allow you to let others in who want to love you, too.

And the whole idea of “Treating others how you want to be treated” — maybe “others” can simply mean “yourself.”

I’m on a total “Me” kick right now, and after 27 years of putting others first, it’s kind of nice to treat myself life the amazing woman that I am.

I kick ass, yo.

 

 

 

Transition Time + A Glimpse Into My Ever Evolving OCD

Just when I think my OCD is under control, it gets more complicated.

In my mind, I have this incredible ability to transition from job to job seamlessly. One moment, I’m a kick ass personal assistant who handles all of the bookkeeping for a property developer in Philadelphia.

In the next second, I switch gears smoothly into my Community Manager role at Stratejoy.

At the drop of a dime, I’m scouring the internet for bloggers who need some extra love in the form of blog comments and fielding the hundreds of e-mails that come in for Love Bomb.

Then, SNAP, I’m suddenly in my Social Media and Digital Marketing role with an online dealer services provider. Of course, in between, I’m my own accountant, marketer, boss, etc. for my little biz.

Each job/position requires me to be a different person with different roles. I need to be serious, down to business, and professional one moment then perky, witty, and happy go lucky the next. I can totally see how people go crazy with personality disorders. 

What I’ve come to realize is that I don’t transition that easily. I can’t go from role A to role B with a snap of the fingers. If I’m given more than one task at a time, I start getting nervous. I need transition time. Once I realized this, I turned to the most logical place to get answers; the internet.

Google, which has a habit of telling me that my coughing and stomach aching is some kind of rare disease that is going to get worse until I start bleeding out of my eyes assured me that what I have is a form of general anxiety. No fancy name. No awesome diagnosis. Just plain old anxiety. And the anxiety part is just what I feel — the fact that I can’t transition is completely normal.

Hell, I never thought I’d be lumped in with normal people. How… boring.

I guess it really isn’t THAT big of a deal that I can’t make the switch between personas as quickly as some other people. In a generation filled with people who have multiple jobs and a few side hustle’s, many people have to switch from job to job, task to task, role to role while changing the hat that they’re wearing. I just have a hard time changing between hats and back again quickly. I feel disorganized. And when I feel disorganized, I spend a very long time wondering how I can get reorganized. Before I know it, it’s 1AM and I’m no more organized than I was at 1PM.

The solution that I’m trying is scheduling “transition time“. Just as some people need to commute from one job to the next, so do I, only it’s a mental commute. I need time to get out of marketing and bookeeping mode into community management and social media mode. Taking a good 20 minutes to clear my mind of the clutter from one job and making a smooth transition to the other seems like it could be the answer here.

I’ve also been relying a whole lot more on my Erin Condren planner. I’ve talked about this wonderful, God-sent thing before, but I’ve finally surrendered to the idea that without a strict to-do list, knowing what I need to do next, how long I have until the next thing is due, and when I need to stop and take a break, I end up not doing it, and falling apart. I guess after cleaning up after a life that was a total wreck, structure makes me feel more at ease. Even a lapse in structure makes me uneasy. If the lapse goes more than a day, then I end up letting everything go, and feeling like I’ve messed shit up. Then, instead of fixing things, I end up searching the internet for “that song about Drive Bys that I’m obsessed with“, “My Drunk Kitchen Episodes“, and “How to paint the nails on my right hand with my left hand without looking like I have tribal paint up my arms”. No, I haven’t found a solution to the painting of the nails. Yet.

Plenty of therapists have said they could fix me. Same said for self-help books.

I’m not convinced I need to be fixed. It’s more like accepting that I have a need to be organized and have a strict schedule or else I crumble into a ball of lacking productivity. Some people need Ritalin to stay focused. I need Erin Condren and her planner and penciled in transition time. And maybe a solution to my nail-painting conundrum.

Everything Isn’t Okay – And That’s Okay

I have these days where everything is on par. I get up early, have a cup of coffee, rock some pinterest action. I go to work, put in 8-10 hours of quality time where I accomplish a ton of stuff. I go home, eat a healthy dinner, am happy to see a client paid me, I do some freelance work and go to sleep after watching some Dexter reruns.

And then there are days like today. The sun is shining brightly into my office. I have a delicious Lean Cuisine waiting for me in the freezer. I’m not even close to being rich, but I have some money in my bank account. It’s a good hair day today. On the outside looking in, I have it made. It should be a good day. I should be an effing ray of sunshine.

But it’s not. I’m not.

I could blame it all on the toothache I’ve been suffering from. But I don’t think that’s it. At least not all of it.

I feel like I’m in a funk. Just a really weird funk.

I’m looking at a pile of paperwork that needs to be filed. It’s easy enough; take each piece of paper, put it into a pre-existing folder or create a new one for it. Repeat. Repeat again. Repeat again and again until all paper is filed. How is it that I know what I need to do, but I don’t know how to do it?

I’m much more aware of my feelings these days. I don’t just sit with negative feelings. I don’t over-analyze them either. Right now, though, I’m lacking the inspiration needed to get up and going.

When I get in these moods, I have a list of things I can do in order to get back on track — it’s one of the great tools I’ve learned in my most recent stint with therapy. One of these tools is browsing the internet for inspirational quotes. I’ve done that for the last 20 minutes. Nothing.

Another is sending an e-mail to a friend. I thought about doing that. I just did that and basically just asked if the cosmic stars were off or something. They stated that it was probably just me. ….. Super.

Also on my list is enjoying a soda (even though I gave it up for the New Year). I already did that an hour ago. Still feeling shitty.

Farther down on my list of things to do to kick a bad mood are things I tend to avoid because they require me to get up and actively do something… Like taking a walk, going to the rooftop deck and taking a breath of fresh air, or getting a spur of the moment manicure. That’s one of the perks of working in the city, bad moods shouldn’t exist because there’s so much awesome everywhere. But alas, here I sit, at my cluttered desk in one of the worst moods ever.

This is the point where I historically beat the hell out of myself for being in a yucktastic mood when I should be happier. I have it better than many other people, and I know that. There are a million reasons that I should be happy right now, but I’m just not.

And you know what? Instead of beating myself up about it, I’m just going to say it: I’m in a bad mood. I’m not in the mood for anything except for my bed and maybe a movie. Definitely a pint of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch B&J’s, some fuzzy socks and a stuffed animal. Probably wine, too, but I’m standing firm on my “no alcohol pledge” until April.

So, I’m closing up shop and heading home right now. But not before stopping at the corner store for Ben and Jerry’s. I owe it to myself. Everything isn’t okay right now, and that’s okay. 

Everything will be okay again.

 

The Focus Game – And all the Work Things

 

Day Two of vacation is quickly coming on me. I spent my first day at the doctor’s office getting a medicine change, which has been increased. This will be complete sanity, or complete zombie-ism. I slept a lot of today, but I’m working through it.

You know how I’m all “oh, I only blog like 3 times a month!” – I actually do have a legit reason(s) of why this doesn’t happen.

1. I work like a crazy woman. I’m at a point where I LOVE everything that I do, but it still requires a lot of work, and a lot of long hours. I’m talking 6 AM through 9PM. Ugh-face.

2. My newest, most lovely gig is writing for Twenties Hacker, an online mag for twenty somethings. I’m excited to share my thoughts on life, and also a weekly column on careers. I’m amongst some of the best and most inspirational writers on the net so it’s a great opportunity.

3. Drop a Love Bomb: Did you guys know I lead that organization? Well, I do. So go sign up. Each week, we bomb one person in the form of comments on their blog post who are having a tough time with like right now. That was the #LoveforKate project from a few weeks ago…remember? Total success. It feel amazing to help people out and to give them hope where there are none.

4. Stratejoy – If you haven;t heard, I’m the first paid employee of Stratejoy. Molly’s Joy Eauation – a 30 Day Guide to Living Your Life on Purpose and Joy Juice;have been amazing resources for me, The Joy Equation helped me locate my core values, and helped me learn the steps needed to live a life that I wanted. Joy Juice is a year’s worth of journal prompts that get me digging deeper. Plus with the amazing QLC Season 5 Bloggers, I’m totally in love.

5. TWO e-books One of them I’m writing solely – and the others I’m doing a Collab with the the beautiful @doniree. Get ready for those pieces of awesome.

6.  Work. All. Day. At a 9-5 where I’m learning a ton of stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore the guy I work with, and although we’ve had a few spats; who doesn’t? I do get alone in my state-of-the-art office. Maybe for Christmas, I’ll ask for an assistant. Or an iPad 2. You know, something proper. Or maybe he’ll finally let me open my new iMac!

7.  Keeping up with my girlfriends. Some of them are easy because they have lives going on and I’m not a part of it. However, my good friends, I NEED to have in my life or I’ll go nuts.

How do I manage all of this?

Very. Carefully.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I am an instant gratification needer– so any long term projects end up being hard for me. I want to see them completed instantly. I’d much rather do a lot of things in one day, rather than one or two things that took forever. I’m learning to realize, though, that I can only do what I can in an given amount of time. If I don’t finish something, it’s because it wasn’t able to be completed. Of course I take a little bit of self-beating from it, but at the end of the day, I talk myself down.

Something else I’ve been working on is an extension of “One Day At a Time” – only it’s “one e-mail/project” as a time. Mutlitasking is bullshit. You can only do one thing at it’s full capactiy at one time. Because of this,  I focus on being completely dedicated to whatever project I’m working on.

Some people have a gift for focus. I say kudos to you. I have an easy time getting distracted.

Any of you have some staying focused tips? Would love to hear them! With all of the distracting things online, how do you keep your mind on the task(s) at hand?

Love For Kate


“I feel so unhappy all of the time. I feel that no one understands why I’m unhappy, and the more I explain why, the more hugs I get. I don’t want hugs, damnit. I want to feel better. I’m getting to the point where I feel so alone, and there’s only one way out. While I think people will miss me at first, just with any broken relationship, the wounds will heal. And I’ll be forgotten. They’ll stop hurting and so will I”My journal, August 2009

Dear Kate,

That’s what my journal read in 2009. I’m going to come clean with you right now and tell you that although I celebrate my “Life-a-versary” every year, you know, another year alive since I planned on ending it all, I still have those days.

Those days where even though the sun is shining, my world feels dark. The days where the alarm goes off and I want to call out of work, pop some peach pills and sleep all day. Those days when all phone calls, even those from my best friends get ignored because I just don’t have the energy.

I still have those days.

It’s hard to admit that, you know? Especially when you’re a twenty-something career girl who has aspirations to be a Life Coach/Psychologist. I’d also like to get married someday, and I certainly don’t want my future husband to Google me and be all “Oh, this girl has a screw loose”.

But you know what, Kate? Fuck them.

Those are some harsh words, and I know it. But Fuck the people who think people “like us” aren’t as capable as others. Fuck the people who think our sadness is just an act, that it’s all in our control 100% of the time.

I will say that I have learned that some of my happiness is in my control. Some of it? Some of it just isn’t. It’s a result of what life throws at us.

I know things are hard right now. You’re juggling a whole hell of a lot of stuff. But you know, I’ve never met you and I already know you’re awesome. Because you’ve made it this far. Baby, rock bottom is when you want to end it all, and there is no hope. You woke up today. That’s hope.

The whole “One day at a time” thing? WORKS. But only sometimes. Sometimes “One day at a time” is too much. Sometimes it has to be one moment at a time.

Never Never Never Give Up.

You might not believe it, but I love you. Your perseverance. Your courage to tell your friends how you’re feeling. Your will to survive.

You. Are. Amazing.  And I’m proud to even know you in this distant way.

You’re an inspiration.

Love, Love, and more Love,

Katie

This post is part of a Love Bomb Mission to send love to Kate, who is suffering from depression. Remind Kate that she is loved and join the mission: (http://dropalovebomb.com/love-for-kate-mission