I’ve written posts about how to cope with being heartbroken on Valentine’s Day. This year, I wanted to focus on self-love because it’s the one thing that I have struggled with the most in my life.
If you lack self-love, you will always feel this undercurrent of insecurity, anxiety, doom, a lack of control and no matter what… You will never feel like you’re able to call your own shots. Life just kind of happens to you as you watch everyone else make sh*t happen. This was an undercurrent that for a really long time, I felt like the only way to conquer was through superficial gains – following the follower, wearing clothes I couldn’t afford, dating powerful men, having celebrity friends, etc. Basically, anything I could piggyback on so that I could feel significant by association.
I ended up becoming a professional hype beast for the delusional band-aides I had put over the cancer that was my lack of self-love. Everyone had a cheerleader in me but me.
All I had was a box of what I convinced myself, were cancer-curing band-aides.
It doesn’t matter if you’re single, in a relationship, a friendship, an almost relationship or if you’re with your soul mate. If you lack self-love, you will always lack fulfillment because no matter how much you claim to want it, you will always have a hard time being attracted to what’s good for you instead of what triggers you.
And contrary to what we see at the movies, hear on the radio, and watch on tv… because no one can do these things for you or ever make you feel “special enough” to do these things for yourself, you will always be chasing your own emotional tail – entertained to an extent, but never fulfilled.
If you’re lucky, you may be able to attract true love. But you won’t be able to maintain it because you can never keep a fire burning that you can’t ignite within.
You’ll also lack the ability to do the one thing that separates the Emotional Jedi Masters from the Emotional Bed Sh*tters: Allow others to own their own behavior, decisions, lies, inconsistencies, and empathetic bankruptcy – independent of your value.
If you don’t believe that you have any value, you will always be so hungry for a buyer that you’ll become blind to the discount you consistently agree to.
Your gut will always know though. And it will eat away at the core of your being until you meet the universe halfway.
Decide to set your standard/price this Valentine’s Day and beyond. Stop asking f*cktard people to set it for you by deeming you “special enough” for them to transform into someone that they’re not even capable of being.
If you had 10 million in the bank, would you really care if someone didn’t believe you or didn’t “see it?” No.
Because you know what’s in your bank and that’s all that matters.
Know what’s in your relational bank. You’ve got zillions.
Holidays are tough because they trigger assessment – we get forced into having to assess and then cover up/compensate for/eat/lie/drink away the why’s of our relational, physical, financial, and emotional failures.
Valentine’s Day is especially painful because not only does it trigger assessment, it triggers feelings of inadequacy.
No matter what relational situation you’re in or not in, there are all these expectations around Valentine’s day. It never plays out exactly the way we hope and we’re left feeling inadequate all around.
The only inadequacy repellant that will ever work is not validation seeking, drunk dialing, f*ck buddy-ing, one more chance-ing, red flag ignoring, or being everyone’s bff. It’s self-love.
Self-love is to inadequacy as boiling water is to an ice cube.
Self-love the only murderer of the ultimate murderer.
Here are 5 ways to love yourself now – no matter what – this Valentine’s Day and beyond.
SELF LOVE: Rule #1: Differentiate.
The ability to differentiate has saved me so much time, heartbreak, drama, misery, self-hatred, and energy. I owe my life to differentiation. It’s not just the ability to differentiate between reality and your fears, it’s the ability to differentiate between your triggers and your truth. And once you are able to differentiate, you are then able to disable the mechanism that we ALL have – automatically pedestalling whatever/whoever has triggered us.
A few years ago, around this time, an ex of mine reached out to me. He wrote one of those texts that are so long, it’s just a blurb until you click on it and it becomes a dissertation. We had dated years ago. He wasn’t a bad person, but he was one of the most emotionally cold, void, and unavailable people I had ever met. Anyway, his text said everything that I never thought I’d hear (including an apology and not glossing over anything that he had never taken accountability for or even acknowledged). The cat was officially barking. I was really taken back.
It took about 15 minutes of social media staking to debunk most of what he said in his text. I found out that his fiancé had dumped him the week prior for many of the same reasons that our relationship had ended. So WHY was it still bothering me? I was in a great place in my life – I felt fulfilled, my business was growing, and the relationships in my life negated everything that my ex embodied. I kept reading and re-reading his text – at the mall, before I went to bed, at a red light, on the toilet while playing a depressing song on Pandora… everywhere. I got a high from reading it and because I read it so many times, I started to sensationalize, romanticize, obsess, and wonder if maybe… I should respond. Maybe he HAD changed. Maybe this breakup of his exorcized all of his psychological demons and he was no longer emotionally inept.
I never ended up responding, calling him or obsessing over it any longer than a few days. Why? Differentiation.
If I didn’t have the ability to differentiate, I would have viewed my ex’s text as a possible sign that something must be off in my current life (which I had worked so hard to build), and that I must act on and investigate immediately. I would get curious and respond if it wasn’t for differentiation because I would have inflated the f*ck out of that text. Is it because I’m dumb? No. It’s because that text was the most devastating kind of trigger for me personally.
Instead of acting on emotional impulse and responding right away, I was able to differentiate by taking a step back and realizing that it wasn’t this all-powerful, fantastic text from this emotionally born-again guy I had received. It was a text from a man who was just as emotionally and empathetically impaired as a very close family member of mine, yet he was telling me everything that this family member never had. Differentiation allowed me to realize that just because I got a crumb of a cookie that was my emotional birthright, it didn’t mean that the maker of that crumb was someone I needed to mess up my current life for.
Latest example – I get people asking me all the time what it’s like to never be triggered, insecure, or depressed. I’m human – I get triggered, insecure, depressed, angry, rejected, etc., ALL the time. The only difference is, I no longer reside there and try to turn experiences into a definition or an identity just because it caters to my fears. I’m able to DIFFERENTIATE.
Last year at this time, Lorelle wrote a phenomenal guest post. I would be lying right now if I didn’t say that for a little while after it was published, I wasn’t worried that her post was better than anything I had ever written or that you guys would now not want to read any more of my posts. It was a fear, it was insecurity, and it was real.
Because I didn’t judge myself for anything I was feeling, I was able to realize what I needed to:
The only reasons why I was feeling this way were: 1) Because I’m human (not superhuman). 2) Because this blog is my baby and I felt like for the first time, I was giving my baby away. There couldn’t be a better person besides my Mom to give the blog to for a guest post.
Lorelle handled PMS with care and in every one of her beautiful replies, she reiterated her love for and support of my work because that’s the kind of person she is. She’s incredible and has since written many more guest posts. My gut lead me to Lorelle. Why let my fears delusionally lead me OUT of what I set out to do each and every day ?? – help people out of suffering, make them feel less alone and provide real answers.
Because I was able to differentiate, I was able to ultimately feel really good about putting my baby in someone else’s arms. Love is love and who am I to deny love for the one thing I put all of mine into?
Bottom line: Differentiation is the ultimate tool for self-soothing.
SELF LOVE: Rule #2: Change the tune/station. Literally.
Be very aware of the songs, movies, shows, characters, stories, books, etc., that you relate to and gravitate toward the most. Ask yourself why you connect to these the way you do. If that connection is contributing at all to emotional cutting, change the station.
You will always gravitate toward, connect with and relate the most to stories, people, songs, and characters that mirror your emotional patterns, tendencies, pain, and dis-ease. It’s a powerful way to get to know yourself better and change the tune of your luck, reverse narcissism, and life.
SELF LOVE: Rule #3: Build confidence.
I love what James Altucher says about how he built confidence and self-esteem:
“I didn’t have confidence back then. This was my great skill: I’d figure out someone else’s agenda for me and then I would play that role. I’d play that agenda. I had a hard time being myself. I didn’t even know what that meant. What does “being yourself” mean? People say that but I don’t think I had ever been myself. And in my attempts to play the roles others cast for me I was so offbeat that people thought I was unique when, in fact, I was just lost and confused.
I had a certain tone deafness to the needs of others simply because I was so desperate to satisfy those needs. I’d give them the keys to my kingdom but I’d forget to furnish the kingdom.
I was sure nobody would like me unless: I had money. I had looks. I had accomplishments under my belt. I had a “comma”. What’s a “comma”? It’s like: “James Altucher, writer”. Or “James Altucher, billionaire”. Or “James Altucher, international spy”.
I am maybe a 6 now on a scale of 0–10 of self-confidence and self-esteem. I was probably about a 1 then.
What made the difference?
Before self-esteem and self-awareness come “self-less”.
Meaning – I had to stop thinking so much about my “self”.
I am a spark of soul, floating around in a bag of skin held together by bones and blood.
And so are you and the rest of us. We’re in it together. Trying to survive the demands of our DNA, of a harsh and unforgiving world, of a society held together by ancient fears of war and starvation and reproductive prowess.
Everyone I see around me is trapped in the agendas of a billion other people but I can be free of it. I can create my own agenda. And it will only be filled with the things I love. The people I love. The people I treat right. The people who treat me right.”
SELF LOVE: Rule #4: The BIG G.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again and again… When you are at your most lonely, triggered, insecure and scared, be grateful for what you do not have. This isn’t about silver-lining a storm cloud. It’s about embracing the reality of your true “lack,” in an empowering and REAL way so that the law of attraction can work in your favor for once.
If you’re alone this Valentine’s Day…
- Be grateful that you don’t have someone you have to “figure out.”
- Even if you don’t have any true friendships, be grateful that you no longer have any more friendsh*ts. You’ve decided to flush the toilet instead of wasting your time spraying air freshener that never lasts over the crap that is a fake friend. Also, be grateful that you actually have the ability to flush and are no longer a slave to your disease to please.
- Be grateful that you were his karma and he was your northern star – pointing you on your way, not back into bed.
- Be grateful that you don’t have anyone cheating on you, lying to you, pulling the wool over your eyes, mind f*cking you, mixed-signaling you, drunk/high texting you, dating you while on 2618276 dating apps or deflecting blame.
- Be grateful for the fact that you now allow people to own their own behavior, words, and actions independent of your perceived lack of value. Thinking that it has something to do with you is not only reverse narcissistic, but it also negates reality – a reality that you no longer choose to argue with.
SELF LOVE: Rule #5: Executive decisions.
If it costs you your peace, self-esteem, sanity, and happiness, it’s okay to make the executive decision to put your middle finger up to emotional political correctness.
Become the adult you needed when you were younger and choose not to reply, react or respond to anyone who, in any way, at ANY point, ever made you question your worth.
Just like there’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness, there is a fine line between judgment and instinct. We often judge so that we can conveniently paralyze our innate ability to do the scariest thing: ACT in accordance with our instinct.
My circle is microscopically small, but I always make sure to be around people who value and support me as much as I do them.
The only way to be truly lovable is to be vulnerable, honest, and able to differentiate between what matters and what triggers.
Do something for yourself this Valentine’s Day and also make sure to tell the ones you love how much they mean to you – starting with a photo of your younger self.
Thank you all for being the best sisters, brothers, family, and friends I never had. Happy Valentine’s Day.
+ If you need further and more personalized help, please look into working with me here.