An interesting thing happened today on my walk.
I had an insight into my psyche, into my beliefs.
But first, this.
You may have noticed that the idea of men and relationships has not been high, or anywhere, on my agenda. In fact, any time anyone mentioned such things, I felt nothing but revulsion and disgust. I had put all men and all relationships in the same “do not go there” basket and put that part of myself far, far away from the light of day.
A few months ago, I said to my sister that I was “prepared to contemplate the notion that there are decent men out there”. We had a conversation about men, she reassuring me that there were in fact decent men out there and me finding fault in everything she said. It’s OK. She knows where I’m coming from and completely understands my mindset. I told her about my fondness for Jethro Gibbs from NCIS, who I consider a good and decent man and we left it at that.
Fast forward to this morning. I woke up with head full of images and feelings from my dream state, images of a man who accepted me who and what I was, in all my different aspects and personas. A man whose only intent was to make me happy and safe.
It seems that my dreams were heavily influenced by me not taking my meds for two days (I ran out), but nevertheless, for the first time in four years I felt ready to truly consider the notion of a man and a relationship. I decided to create this man who I was prepared to let into my life, through a vision board exercise.
As I headed off on my walk, I contemplated the men whose images I wanted to add to my vision board and words that would describe my “ideal man”. I also realised that going for this morning’s walk was heavily motivated by wanting to lose weight, by wanting to look a hundred times better than I do now, because only then, I would be “worthy” of my “ideal man”. Because if I want a man who is good looking and healthy and fit, then obviously I must be the same.
Yes, I have huge worthiness and body image issues. I totally equate worthiness with external looks and nothing else. Looking back at photos of myself in my twenties, when I considered myself “fat” and I was actually a size 10 and skinny compared to now, I shudder at my lack of self-esteem and feelings of worthiness.
This notion was perpetuated by a boyfriend I had in the last two years of uni. He was wont to date models and generally other “stunning” women (his words). I was shocked that he was interested in me at all and through our entire two year relationship I kept waiting for him to get rid of me because I wasn’t “stunning” (I knew I wasn’t because he told me.) Eventually he did, at a time when I was making wedding plans and sent me into an eight year depression.
Then I met my ex-husband and slowly over a course of 18 years put on about 20 kilograms in body weight. Since I wasn’t worthy of my gorgeous ex-boyfriend, or anyone else I had set my sights on during that time, I thought I might as well look the part. Eventually, since my ex was the only man who had stuck around that long, I thought I might as well have children with him and then get married.
Yes, I settled. I didn’t think I had at the time. I merely thought that I was finding love right under my nose, where I wasn’t seeing it before. But in reality, years of emotional and psychological manipulation had done their trick and I was in thrall to my ex. I believed I would never meet anyone as good and caring as him, so I might as well marry him.
Well, look how that turned out. No wonder I couldn’t think “man”, or “relationship” for four years.
Today has been a discovery day. A discovery of my own self-limiting beliefs. I’m not sure how to change them. Maybe just by challenging them whenever I notice them? And by looking at these three gorgeous men every day?
My ideal man will be, in no particular order: