Last weekend I saw Facebook pictures from one of my best friend’s from Secondary School’s weddings.
I hadn’t gone to the wedding; I hadn’t been invited.
Despite him being one of the kindest, most thoughtful and positive people I’ve ever known (he felt like another brother!) I sacrificed our friendship in favour of protecting my insecurities. Socialising has always been difficult and as soon as school finished we all went our own ways at Uni. Not only was this a time when my insecurities increased but being further away meant there were more excuses I could find not to meet up. I worried that my school friends would now look at me differently, or that I’d have changed into someone they didn’t like. I worried that they would invite me along to things because they felt they had to, out of sympathy. Once my food problems kicked in I also was scared they’d think I was fat. The feelings of anxiety and disconnection were too overwhelming and it was so much easier to avoid these situations. This was nothing to do with them at all – they were amazing but I chose to listen to my own negative thoughts rather than look at the evidence about how amazing these people were.
As a result I lost one of the people closest to me. I missed being around for him graduating from his degree and gaining a PhD, proposing to his girlfriend, getting married…all these huge missed moments. I subtracted from my own life because of my insecurities.
When I saw the photos I felt various things:
– regret that I didn’t have him in my life anymore
– guilt that I’d been such a poor friend
– shame for letting my anxieties affect something important
– realisation that my decisions and all my insecurities had affected my life negatively
But in every low point in life there’s a life lesson. It really gave me a kick up the butt to realise that feeding our insecurities aren’t ever going to help us. We don’t get back time. Whatever time we spend letting our negative feelings about our bodies or feelings of lack of worth rule how we act will not be lived to the full. We’re going to push people away, miss opportunities and exist rather than live. We downgrade our lives.
If there were ever a reason to want to love yourself better, I think that’s it.