The result of others words produced a harvest of lack of self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-love. These have been missing for most of my existence. The meaning of my life was based on what others thought of me. I was a marionette with strings attached to the words and opinions of others. My worth was in direct proportion to how successful I was in moving to the strings pulled by the those around me. If someone told me to do something I would do it earn their approval. If someone called me stupid I believed that they were correct. I had no original thoughts, no opinions, no creative spark.
But living this way can become very tiring. So I would withdraw and spend hours apart from others wandering in the woods behind my parents home. It was only there that I was able to be free from the burdening expectations. This was my sanctuary. But I was alone.
As I grew older, time in my forest sanctuary became more limited so I needed to find other ways to hide. I became a master introvert, an expert at building a strong, sturdy facade. I also came to realize that I could use my depression and my moods to elicit concern and compassion from others when I was feeling particularly lonely and then shut the doors of my fortress when I got what I wanted from others empathy.
I could not trust others, for I believed that to reveal the me I thought I was would drive people from me. So I played the game that many of us play and pretended. Pretended everything was ok, pretended I was happy, pretended I had no problems, pretend. pretend. My whole life was a false narrative.
This pretending lead to and in some ways continues to cultivate loneliness in my life. This loneliness feels like falling into a huge black abyss with no bottom, or sides. Blacker than the darkest of nights and so silent that even your breath is absorbed. It can be a terrifying loneliness.
For many years I tried to dispel this loneliness with people. I thought that if I had co-workers, friends, family, and someone to marry that it would go away. The problem with this way of thinking is that it places the responsibility of making me happy on someone else. Something no one else has the ability to do.
My fulfillment, my happiness had to come from within me. And that is where I ran into a problem. I didn’t know me and the me I thought I was, I loathed.