There is nothing magical about January 1st as a time to start over, to begin our lives anew, to make a resolution that we will change. So purely in defiance of this irrational tradition, I am using September 20th as my start-over day. Today. I will start over today. I will make a change today, and I will make it last. Over the last few days, I have been reading a book entitled This Year I Will… that outlines the best way to actually achieve these resolutions and goals that often go down the drain before the 1st of February. One of the things it makes clear is exactly what I said at the beginning here – that there is no best time to start. You just have to throw yourself in despite the other distractions in your life. (This does not, of course, apply to starting exercising when you have the flu or a broken leg.)
Certain goals are easier to achieve than others, regardless of personal fitness/motivation. And I see this distinction between those goals that you can take distinct, clear steps to reach and those that are much more vague. Even some very clearly defined goals have formless steps to reach them. This is where I reach my first obstacle. There are many, many things that I would like to accomplish, things that this book could probably help me to get through if I wanted. But I am not going to read through this book with eating more healthily or exercising or stopping procrastination in mind. For although these are important goals that, if completed, will greatly improve my quality of life, I have something much more crucial in mind. And this is learning to believe in myself and to trust that I can be loved.
Such a goal does not easily lend itself to a 12 (or 6 or 53) step process. Where exactly does one begin? And how do I know when I get there? Surely there will be marked differences in my general lifestyle and conversation; this is what I am expecting. But the specific steps to get there elude me. I have spent several hours thinking on this and trying to figure out just what I can do in my day-to-day life to work towards this goal. Certainly, there are books on improving self-esteem and such, but that isn’t exactly what I’m looking for.
I suppose I didn’t state my goal quite how it sounds in my head. To clarify, I have trouble believing that I can be loved as more than a relative or friend. I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as low self-esteem; I have great confidence in much that I do, particularly my moral views and beliefs. And I trust in my academics and my friendships; these I can believe in. These I do not doubt. But it is romantic love that seems impossible although I clutch it close to myself even at this moment, and I don’t dare let go. It is nearly impossible for me to look in the mirror and believe that I am loved.
So I am still trying to figure out where I ought to begin. One good idea would be not to laugh off, deny, or shift to someone else every compliment I receive. But can I do that while actually believing it? I have spent the last several years learning to disguise my true feelings and to constantly be covered with a mask (see post “Hidden”). With all this engrained in me, how do I say “thank you” and believe it when he says I’m beautiful? How do I trust that his “I love you” is as true as mine? I know it all in my head, but my heart is still partially barricaded.
Despite this, I know that I will not give up on this. Other goals have failed, other resolutions have been thrown away after a month or a week or a day. This one will be harder than the others, but this one will last. I have no doubt. And I will try to take you through this journey with me if you are interested, and perhaps you as well can teach yourself to believe in something so out of reach.
Hoping for the courage to succeed,
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