Hey, I’m Waiting on Your Roses
Question of the day: have you manifested yet? Probably not, so let’s do it right now, together. Repeat after me:
I am happy. I am happy, I am happy, I am happy…
I am fulfilled. I am fulfilled, fulfilled, fulfilled…
And, most importantly,
I do not, do not, do not… absolutely and inevitably hate myself.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s discuss the fact that no matter how many times we pray, manifest, or hope, self-hatred still finds us in the strangest of places. You could be having the time of your life whilst blasting a song with a group of friends. Suddenly, self-hatred will creep up on your shoulders and remind you that you have an awfully annoying singing voice (I don’t think you do, but anyway), causing you to sink in your chair and wonder, “Why am I even here?”
Of course, I could assume that you would not agree with me. I could assume that you’ve never struggled with self-hatred or insecurities – that self-love comes naturally, and that you already know your worth. I do, however, know you’re a human being just like me, and no human knows constant self-love. So here we are, perhaps both struggling in a loop of hatred and criticism, wishing it all to end with love for our own selves — our hearts full of blooming roses.
Personally, a few months ago, that hope was pure fantasy. There had, of course, been times of happiness and love – times when I felt my heart clench because it was full, because at that moment, everything was right. More often than not, however, my momentary happiness came crashing down, perhaps because I didn’t think I deserved that happiness. More often than not, I would take those weak wooden stairs of despair down to ground zero. All I could do was assume that self-love was not something I could ever truly achieve. After all, how can a girl love herself if she doesn’t even know who she is?
Before I go on, know that I’m not here to gain your pity (I have too much pride for that anyway). The reason behind all of these confessions is one, and though it’s quite cliché, I’ll say it nonetheless: I want you to understand that it’s okay. It’s okay to wake up in the morning and not look forward to the day. It’s okay to look at others and silently envy their “care-free” life. It’s completely and utterly okay to cry at night, your heart filled with an ache that screams, “Please, please let things change”.
Before I am falsely accused of promoting negativity and unhealthy mindsets, however, let me clarify this: Saying it’s okay does not mean it’s a good thing to hate yourself; Saying it’s okay means exactly as it sounds — that it’s okay, that you should never, ever condemn yourself for not being happy.
You are not weak. You are not giving up. And, most importantly, you are not behind everybody else. It’s okay to hate yourself because, frankly, everybody hates themselves at some point. You aren’t unsuccessful for hating yourself, and it sure doesn’t mean that you haven’t done enough, or, are a failure.
Self-hatred is a crucial part towards growth, so you know what? It’s more than okay to experience it in your life. What’s not okay, however, is accepting defeat.
It is not okay to say that self-hatred is what you deserve, that love is impossible for you, that the roses will never bloom. It’s not okay because you do not deserve to live in a constant state of self-criticism, no matter how much you may think you do. And, I do apologize for attacking you with my next statement, but dear reader, it must be said:
Just because you think you’ve changed “for the worst” or do not know who you are anymore, does not mean you have earned the right to bully yourself every day. Sorry not sorry, I guess.
Well, Maria, how in the world do I learn to love then? How do I learn to be confident in who I am?
The answer to these questions, my friend, does not come from me, but from my grandmother (she’s a Pisces, so attack that sign all you want, but I love it because of her). Picture this:
Maria Galstyan, a monthly writer for FDZ and a well respected member of various organizations, is crying because people don’t give her the attention and the love she wants. They do not like her. They think she’s annoying. They think that she’s changed and that she’s not enjoyable to talk to (spoiler alert: no one thought that, I just convinced myself they did). Do believe me when I say I had to condemn my grandmother for laughing. In her defense, I did sound like a second grader, complaining about not getting enough attention, and yet I did not understand why this was a laughing matter to her. Perhaps she couldn’t understand.
My grandmother was quite popular throughout her youth. She was never wealthy, but her mother never failed to prepare the most beautiful dresses for her, all coming from my grandmother’s own designs. Her beauty struck men, women, and non-binary folks alike; she was “the girl everyone wanted to be, and be with”. On top of that, my grandmother is one of the kindest people you will ever meet, so how could she understand what I was going through? How could she be familiar with the scent of hatred towards one’s own self?
That night, I interrogated my grandmother better than Derek Morgan ever could. Through glassy eyes I begged her to tell me what her secrets were. How were you so popular? I’d ask. How did everybody love you?
This was the root of my grandmother’s laughter, because she could not believe that her self-reliant granddaughter would ever ask this. Blame it on the teenage hormones, I guess.
But, you know what, I was desperate. I was desperate enough to admit that I wanted people to like me. I wanted people to smile when I walked into the room, to feel saddened when I wasn’t there; I wanted to matter. And when my grandmother finally replied to my prior questions, I received nothing but a
Why. Why did I want their love, their validation? Why did I want to take up space, to matter, in their lives so badly? The secret that my grandma eventually revealed was that there was, in fact, no secret; she revealed to me that she never even wanted to be popular, or rather, she did not care if she was. In her eyes, she had learned to love herself, and that was the only necessity for confidence, and most importantly, happiness.
That was when it truly hit me that the only reason why I wanted any sort of validation from others, was to fill in the holes of my own self-hatred. I lacked the love that I needed for myself, so I begged the world around me to give their remaining rose petals to me. No matter how rotten or dry they could be, I would take them, simply to fill up those holes. I knew this before, of course, but I didn’t really understand.
The problem was never them, nor my looks, nor who I was; it was me, my mindset.
That day I learned two things: self-hatred is a great article topic (wink wink), and that I do not have to care what other people think of me. Why? Because as long as we love ourselves, others’ opinions won’t matter to us. Before you cuss me out for “wasting your time” on reading this article, because, frankly, it does seem like I didn’t offer any new insight (I will in a second, I promise), let me explain an important question you may have. The question, I’m sure, is alright, we get it, self-love is the answer. How does one achieve it, though?
First, understand that self-love doesn’t stem from self-confidence – self-confidence roots from self-love. I know the things we’ve been told. Fake it till you make it. Be confident in who you are and you’ll learn to love yourself. No, not true. What we as a society fail to understand the most is that our problem isn’t within loving ourselves, it’s within understanding what self-love is. We have this idea that self-love is loving the way you look, thinking you’re hot, thinking you’re smart, and funny, and kind. And while that’s great, that’s not true self-love. Of course you’re not going to love the way you look; the marketing world has set us up in a constant loop of striving to look prettier so we buy those new products and serums and glow kits or what-not. That’s not self-love.
When you love another person (yes, my Virgo venuses, that is an actual thing) do you claim to love them just because they’re hot? Is that what love is? No, it’s not. Loving another person means being there for them, caring for them, putting their needs as a priority. When you love someone, do you care what other people think of them? No, you don’t, because you know that you love them, and that’s all that matters.
So, tell me, why would self-love be any different?
My friend, self love isn’t thinking you’re hot, you’re not Regina George claiming her love for her boyfriend (though to be fair, I do have a fat crush on her, but that’s irrelevant right now). Self love is just like loving another person – it’s being there for yourself, nurturing yourself, caring for yourself and your needs, putting yourself as a priority. When you truly love yourself, you do not care what other people think of you, because the only reason you would, would be to gain their validation. As long as you are doing what makes you happy and loving yourself, however, as long as your needs are met, why would you care? Why would you need their validation when validation isn’t something you need in the first place?
Yes, it’s still hard. It’s hard not to care, not to want validation. But I need you to change your mindset and understand that the self-love you want isn’t looking at the mirror and smiling at what you see — it’s smiling to yourself because you are doing what makes you happy. Whether that be wearing the clothes you like, or listening to good music, or reading my articles every month (wink wink), it doesn’t matter. For me, self-love isn’t doing a particular thing, it’s simply not changing the way I dress or act for the approval of others. Do what feels natural. Nurture your roses.
Who cares if Jake Williams thinks you’re cute — you have your own rose garden at home, you do not need to go out of your way to get theirs.