I took nearly two hours to get ready for a fun night with my single girlfriends. My Michael Kors outfit was fab, my makeup was spotless, and the compliments were overflowing from my girlfriends.
We were going to paint the town red, or at least that was the plan. But on that particular night I felt empty and more so than usual. I was looking for acceptance, validation, and recognition, but not from my girlfriends.
I was hoping that my Prince Charming would magically appear and whisk me away into the sunset. HE never showed up! My expectations weren’t much after all; I was only asking for a half decent looking guy with a pulse.
Was that too much to ask for? Years later, I realized it was too little to ask for.
Hindsight is 20/20. I wish I had the self-love, self-worth, and self-confidence that I do today. Why isn’t this a high school graduation requirement? Why aren’t children taught the meaning of self-respect and self-love before they are taught Algebra I (which most won’t use anyway)?
The truth is I can’t go back in time and whisper to myself, “love yourself Joann, you are good enough.” I struggled and felt empty. But what was I truly missing if love wasn’t the answer?
1. I was missing a positive inner voice.
I was too busy focusing on what others said, waiting for them to affirm what I should have already known. I was good enough, worthy enough, and beautiful enough that night and every other night for that matter.
The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report, commissioned by Dove, found that 80% of women agree that every female has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty. I was part of that 80% and I was hoping someone would or could prove it to me.
2. I was missing self-confidence.
I had little to none actually, but I didn’t realize it. I thought by wearing the nicest outfit, accompanied by wearing a pound of make-up, I would attract the right guy. I was lying to myself and I was masking some real issues.
The Confidence Coalition states that 90% of all women want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance. Not only was I a part of that 90%, if given the opportunity, I would have liked to have changed about 90% of my appearance too.
3. I was missing insight.
I had no clue what I was doing, right or wrong. I wasn’t making intentional decisions or being mindful of what my actions were really saying. I desperately needed to be recognized and accepted.
This goes back to the importance of learning self-respect and self-love at a very young age. I don’t blame anyone for what I was or wasn’t taught but I do recognize that I internalized a deep connection of acceptance with successes and failures.
What I did for others or whom I was as a student, friend, or daughter contributed to or took away from my value. I made that connection all by myself.
My external locus of control, which should have begun to evolve into more of an internal locus of control roughly at around the age of 14, wasn’t quite on track.
Psych Central defines an internal locus of control as the belief that events in one’s life, whether good or bad, are caused by controllable factors such as one’s attitude, preparation, and effort. You see, we need the voices of others (parents, teachers, siblings, friends, etc.) usually before puberty to be our voice and teach us our self-worth.
It is nurture taking place at its best. While nature is already taking its course, formulating our IQ’s and social learning, it is nurture that evolves and enables our internal locus of control to dictate our value, importance, and personal responsibility.
When we don’t quite learn that growing up, we can educate ourselves as adults through much self-work, mindfulness, and counseling.
A positive internal voice, self-confidence, and insight could have avoided me much pain and suffering that I endured during my single days. My “aha” moment came much later in my life, but I am grateful for every single hurt, trauma, and failure that took place.
When you give your pain purpose, how then could it have been in vain? If we did not learn from our failures, how could we realize a new course was to take place? These are the brilliant moments in our lives that shape us, mold us, and develop us into amazingly loving, patient, and empathic human beings.
Orlando, Maitland, UCF, Lake Mary, Winter Park: Singles Counseling & Therapy. Learn to self-love, self-validation, & find self-worth! Call 407-622-1770.
Author: Joann Venant