I need to start this by saying thanks. I have recently realized just how many good friends I have who genuinely care about my well-being. More importantly, Who have been supportive without judging me or any of my actions. Thank you all.
Now, I had tried writing down things before but I wrote when I was having a bad day and I wrote things that I disliked about myself or mistakes I had made, then I hid them in a file on my computer and forgot about them. When I was feeling particularly blue and self-deprecating (not in the jovial "let's laugh at our own faults" way) I would add to the end of what I had written before. And not too long ago I decided to make that little list public. Thank heaven it was taken down quickly.
How many times have you heard that it's important to get your thoughts out and not bottle them up? I know I have heard that counsel from many sources, many times. I told myself that I was doing just that.
I was lying to myself and I knew it.
Deep down I was doing just the opposite, I was saving these thoughts for myself only. I was keeping a list of all my faults, like gathering evidence. I hadn't really planned on what crime I thought I was gathering evidence for or what punishment that crime would deserve. But if you look for enough evidence, you'll find a crime to fit them to and you'll certainly begin punishing yourself. I was doing this I gathered the evidence and then as many of my friends saw showed it to the world and like many of you guessed I sentenced myself and began to carry out that sentence.
We don't need to go into what I thought I was guilty of, or what I decided was to be my punishment, suffice it to say, I was wrong.
My friends knew it, my family knew it, my wife knew it, and deep down I think I knew it. But here was the evidence I had collected.
I was wrong and I thank many people for helping me see it. And if I want to stop the pattern, I need to also give myself credit for coming to the conclusion on my own and deciding to get someone to help me fix it.
Now since I was wrong I promised to speak up whenever I was struggling. On Monday my wife wasn't around and I wasn't very happy so I threw up a status update on social media to say how I was feeling and to make sure I couldn't hide it away somewhere. I hope it didn't cause too much alarm. It was me trying to turn it around.
A couple of things I realized recently:
1. When my wife and I discussed and decided that, in order to fulfill the promise we made to each other (as we were driving home from our honeymoon so many years before) that we wouldn't pay someone else to raise our kids, it would be best for us if I were to set aside some things to become a full-time caregiver, a Mr. Mom. I had the typical male revulsion and even tried to work part-time for awhile just to satisfy my male ego.
I eventually put that aside and really truly glorified in what I got to do. I got to spend all my time, holding babies and playing with toddlers and coloring and all those wonderful things about growing up that make it magical. I reveled in the fact that I was doing a good work, I was doing my best and while not perfect I was even doing a good job. However, like many who have done this work before me it's easy for that to get twisted by some things that are not so healthy.
In my case, even though I think it's okay to define yourself as a Mom or Dad who takes care of the kids and tries their best, it's not okay to define your self-worth on the part of it that you can't control which is the choices of your children. I don't know when I started doing it and as long as my kids were making good choices it wasn't so harmful, but if that's what you are doing, having a teenager is likely to blow it out of the water.
It's gonna take me some time to figure out how to let "that one" (and the ones who follow him) make choices and experience the disappointment without letting it get to me but I realize it now and know in which direction to head.
2. I don't give myself credit when I do something right for myself. I noticed this today when I got an email from LinkedIn and decided to log in. It's not something I really use. My brother invited me a while back and I half-heartedly made an account.
Looking at the nearly empty page and the alerts begging me to improve my profile, I saw a number of endorsements from the few friends I have linked to on that site but almost nothing from myself. Even though I don't think it's a tool or site I intend to really utilize in the near future, I decided to use it as a tool today for something I needed. That was, to sit down and look at some of the things I've done and even some of the gaps I might wish were more full, I even gave myself credit for being full-time dad on there. I didn't write down everything I've ever done certainly but when I was finished I looked back on it and decided I hadn't wasted everyday of my adult life.
Once again, this isn't a call for anyone to run out and add me on LinkedIn or an endorsement of the site. I'm still not exactly sure what it's for. But today it was a tool for me.
Okay, this post has likely been long-winded enough. I know I'm not breaking any new ground as far as blogs go or about how to like yourself. Too many people have said the same things more eloquently than I. More personally, many of you have said these things to me and about me before. Still, maybe someone else will read this and realize that they haven't been so kind to themselves either. More importantly, I just wanted people to know I was doing okay.