This is going to be a tough one. I can already tell. It’s hard to admit. It’s easy to look at other people and their faults and their unhealthy behaviors but looking at yourself and acknowledging your own unhealthy behaviors and faults, not so easy. It knocks that ego way down. But I’m happy about that. My ego has controlled me for way too long. I’ve had this deep belief that I need approval/validation from men in order to feel worthy for a long time. Something I became aware of when I was with my ex. Honestly, I became aware of a lot of my unhealthy behaviors when we were together. Needing validation from men was one of them.
Everyone wants love. Whether we want to admit or not. I want to be loved. Even though I try as hard as I can to be “tough” and act like I don’t want it, I do. That guard, that wall, protects me from getting hurt. I have what they call “daddy” issues. I didn’t even realize it until I wrote the post about my spiritual journey story. I had a lack of love from males growing up. I came to believe that in order to function, I had to have validation from men. Not true. Myself and God is enough, but myself and God were not my source of love throughout most of my life. Men were. They were God to me. They were what kept me functioning and alive. My ex leaving (a blessing in disguise now looking back) is what forced me to turn inward to myself and toward God for love and validation.
No one else mattered except men and their approval of me. It makes me sad, honestly. I know what it feels like to feel unimportant and like you don’t matter, and to think that the women in my life, family and friends, probably felt that way because I so desperately needed male validation, that I probably made them feel like their love meant nothing to me, that makes me cry. The females in my life are the ones who helped me heal the most and I don’t know where I’d be without their love. They helped me see that being a female does not mean being “weak”. They are the strongest people I know. They taught me I can be strong on my own. I can live on my own. It’s nice to have a partner, a best friend, to live life with, but I don’t need one. There was so much love around me that I ignored. But I needed his love. My dad’s love. My ex’s love. That’s all that mattered.
I’m aware of it now though. And when you’re aware of it, that’s when you can change. I couldn’t understand for the life of me why I couldn’t let my ex go. Why did I need him to stay if he didn’t want to be here? Because without him, I felt unworthy. But I WAS worthy. I AM worthy. Just the way I am. It has taken me a long time to believe that. It’s been a huge part of my healing journey. Letting those negative beliefs go. Letting that guard down that protected me. Forgiving myself. I wasn’t aware. I had no idea that I was CRAVING approval from others. That I needed love from others. That I could give that love to myself. I just knew there was this empty feeling, this void inside and I didn’t want to feel it. But then you start taking attention from anyone. Even if it’s not healthy. Even if it hurts you. To me, that was love. Love hurts. It wasn’t until I turned to God and to myself that I realized what true love was. When God could still love me knowing all my faults and my “dark” side, when I could still love me knowing the same, I realized I didn’t need their approval or validation anymore. That’s when I could let go. I didn’t have to chase men anymore. I could give myself that love.
-Sonja Jackson, OpenHeartTin