Have you ever had a cut and didn’t notice it until someone pointed it out to you?
It is weird how until you look down and see the injury you can walk around exposed and bleeding but yet feel no pain until someone draws it to your attention and then you look down and your brain processes the situation and instantly you feel pain.
Lately, I have been feeling much better about myself and life in general.
My broken heart that seemed as though it would never heal is beating stronger than I recall it beating in years.
I have been building positive healthy relationships and an increased sense of self-esteem that has led me to start making moves to get my professional career back on track.
Things are looking up!
While I could definitely stand to refocus myself on my fitness and nutrition I can assure you that my emotional well being is in a far better place than I recall it being in a long time.
So with that said, imagine my surprise when I realized that a place of pain in my life that I thought was most surely healed is still wounded.
Iyanla Vanzant says, “When you can tell your story and it doesn’t make you cry, that’s when you know you’ve healed”.
I believe that statement to be true.
And with that said, I recently found out an area of my life where I am most certainly not healed.
My wound came to my awareness while I was speaking with a gentleman about male and female interactions and dating. During our conversation the subject turned personal and I explained to him that it is very rare that men ever ask me out and that I can go months or even years without a guy showing interest in me.
All was going well with the conversation until he looked at me and asked, “How does that make you feel?”.
The question took me by surprise.
But what was even more surprising was the emotions that stirred up inside of me upon hearing the question.
I remember I chose not to make eye contact with him out of fear that I would start crying and that I quickly diverted my gaze.
I immediately found something to distract myself so that I could fight back the tears that were forming and then I told him a lie.
I said, “you know it used to bother me and make me feel like I was ugly or that something must be wrong with me but now I know better.”
My lie wasn’t a conscious lie, it was a cover.
The cover was so good I almost believed it until I realized that had it been my truth then I would have cried when I spoke it.
This is because even though my words came out with ease inside I felt unease.
There was a mismatch, therefore it could not have been my truth.
I was hurting inside at the question and yet my response felt smooth, and easy and I most certain it dripped of false confidence.
I wish what I said was my truth but the fact that his question triggered pain let me know that there is still a part of me that isn’t pleased with myself.
It isn’t so much that I believe I am physically ugly.
And it isn’t the great distance of time that lapses before a man expresses interest that I find alarming, because I have had enough of my female friends share with me that it isn’t often that men ask them out either (and I have some stunningly beautiful friends).
No, it is because deep down I think the reason men don’t ask me out that often is because I am overweight.
And sadly, my self-esteem is so low that when someone shows interest in me I am often surprised that they are okay pursuing someone my size.
And yet in a twist the reason my response to him was able to come out with ease is because I have not always been overweight.
So my statement that I used to think it was because I was ugly wad a half truth at best.
There was a time in my life when I would tell myself that the reason men don’t pursue me was because I was ugly.
But I started seeing myself as beautiful and I immediately replaced the reason with it being because I am overweight.
When guys try to talk to me I don’t know how to process it.
Because somewhere in myself I simply refuse to see myself as good enough to be worthy of romantic love.
I have blogged about the subject of my weight and how I want to reach a place where I love myself no matter what I weigh.
Unfortunately, I clearly am not there yet because as much as I try to be okay with things I am still ashamed of my weight.
I have this false belief that my weight defines me.
I look at myself and I think that I am beautiful but I can’t shake the thought that my weight makes me look disgusting.
While I definitely need to eat healthy and exercise I don’t like the fact that I have this false belief that I am disgusting because I am overweight.
I think that my weight is actually a symptom of something deeper than me eating my pain.
I think that I use my weight as an excuse not to open myself up emotionally because I have a fear of getting rejected.
Don’t get me wrong I know there are men who will love a woman who is my size and larger and see her for the greatness that she is.
But I have been living with myself long enough to know that my weight is about so much more than the fact that I love eating simple carbohydrates.
I am using my weight as an excuse.
I don’t really want to get in shape because if I did I would already be in shape.
I am overweight because I have convinced myself that it serves me.
It serves me because I am afraid that if I am in shape and a man still rejects me then what story do I get to tell myself as to why the relationship failed?
What do I get to blame him leaving or not loving me on?
I am afraid that if I look amazing and he still doesn’t choose me then that means that instead of him rejecting my body that he is ultimately rejecting me?
He would be rejecting me the same way my father did, the same way that the other men did.
And I am still making fruitless attempts at gaining my self-worth through the love of a man.
A man who will stay in my life when my father chose not to.
And so being overweight is my twisted way of not allowing the authentic version of myself to show up in a relationship out of fear that yet another person will find my core being unappealing.
I am trying to protect myself from the pain of rejection.
Because, I can change my body but I can’t change my core being.
And there we have a bit of my truth.
My truth that I am afraid to allow a man to see my character flaws and so I hide behind visceral fat.
Sadly, I have done a marvelous job of letting the world convince me that something is wrong with me.
I have gotten so good at seeing myself in a negative light that I even make negative comments and jokes about myself in the hopes that I could beat people to the punch.
I know all too well that people make jokes about themselves due to low self-esteem but it wasn’t until I recently heard Jaime Primak Sullivan explain that when you exhibit a certain type of behavior such as making self-deprecating jokes about yourself that you are teaching the people around you what you are comfortable with. This means my self-deprecating jokes are inviting people to mistreat me by essentially setting the standard for what type of comments I will and will not allow to be spoken about me.
She further cautioned that you should never say anything about yourself that you don’t feel comfortable with other people saying about you because what we speak becomes our reality. In essence my self deprecating jokes were an open invitation for people to speak as negatively about me as I spoke of myself.
Coming to an understanding of this unhealthy behavior I am fully convinced that something is going to have to change in my life because as much as I have grown in the self-love department there is still a gap.
I don’t fully believe that there is someone out there who will love all of me.
Because I don’t love all of me.
I don’t like the me that is blunt,sloppy, forgetful, harsh, irritable and withdrawn.
Those negative aspects of me that I had from my associates and the world out before but the my close friends and family members are all too familiar with.
You know the real me that my children and other loved ones critique me on.
I have convinced myself that a guy will find me too much of something and not enough of something else and I am terrified of not being good enough.
And I have virtually given my power over to this nonexistent guy to deem me as worthy of love.
Along with some childhood demons to include abandonment and daddy issues I am also clinging to society’s false notion that if you are not in a relationship that something is wrong with you.
I know logically that a relationship doesn’t speak to my self-worth but I must say that grasping that mind, body and soul has been a challenge.
I am going to have to refocus on my fitness and nutrition.
Not because it would make me more attractive, but because I need to face my fear.
I need to make myself vulnerable.
I have come to realize that I don’t give anyone a chance to reject me because I reject myself before they ever even get to know me.
I have even been guilty of showing all of my negative traits in the beginning of a relationship out of fear that if the a person was going to reject me that I wanted them to do it sooner rather than later.
I don’t give a guy a chance to know the real me because deep down I don’t really like me and I fear that if I show him myself he won’t like me either.
While I am loving myself more I started from such a deficient that my gains leave me with much room for growth,
But that is okay because I am growing
So no, I don’t truly love myself completely.
Not the way I need to in order to show up fully in a relationship.
I am going to have to keep working to change the way I think, speak and feel about myself.
My decision to make a conscious effort to no longer engage in self-deprecating jokes is because I need to stop believing them and I don’t want to give other people permission to mock my insecurities.
And my realization that my weight is about so much more than me eating my pain but that I use it as a way to protect myself from having men reject my core being means that I am going to have to let the weight go.
While my goal is to be confident in who I am whether I am a size 2 or a size 22, I have to reach a place where I realize I am not my body and that this self-love journey is about so much more than loving my physical appearance.
When I say I want to love myself, I mean I want to love myself character flaws and all.
Is there something you are doing to cause people to reject you before they get the opportunity to know you the real you? If so, I hope you will join me in my journey to doing the work it takes to accept yourself fully.
© Renata Pittman Smith, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content