Barney has adopted a new habit, when we travel or spend extended periods of time alone, in a car, or something, that he asks me what can only be described as probing questions to learn more about me and my past. The reality is, we have been together for 11 year, so one would think that there was NOTHING that we didn't know about each other that was relevant, but the reality is, these questions have made me examine things in a different way. I know that he asks these questions to enlighten himself, but this last weekend, I have awakened to a new reality for myself.
I have always had a very negative image of myself, both physically and emotionally. I never knew WHY I felt these negative things, but they just seemed to be my truth. I was fat, I was ugly, and I was unworthy. I was unworthy of love, positive attention, positive feedback, and anything positive in general.
So in all of these questions, Barney basically called BS on me the other day for my negative feelings about myself. He pointed out that in High School, there was no shortage of boys that were interested in being my boyfriend. In college, I had a few boyfriends. I've been married before, and dated a guy between my ex-husband and Barney for about 6 months. Clearly, there was something about me that had attracted quite a few gentlemen over the years. So it made me wonder, was he right? Has everything I've ever believed about myself been totally off base? Have a been wrong about who and what I was in the eyes of others for 30+ years? More importantly, how does one discern this about themselves? If I think I have figured this out, how do I test my hypothesis? Well, the answer is, you ask questions.
So, last night, when I signed into Facebook, I saw that a friend of mine from high school, who at one point had expressed a possible interest in me, was signed in. because this brief interest was something we had discussed completely for informational purposes in the past, I didn't feel like it would be out of line to ask him about it. So I first explained that I had no expectations, that I didn't want anything sugar-coated, and asked some of the questions that I was curious to know the answers to.
Without going into details, we will just say that my hypothesis was proven to an extent. So, here's the reality of what I have put together that has helped me to put the puzzle pieces together. So here goes my understanding.....
My parents did so many things over the years, and during my childhood, to encourage me, and teach me, and show their love for me. So, the idea that my negative feelings would be attributed to my parents hurts me. The reality is, some of the things that they did with the best of intentions caused negative outcomes that they never intended. I love them dearly, and they are amazing parents, but some things just affected me in a way that was never the way they intended. Let me also say, that I don't "blame" them for ANYTHING, because blame implies intent, which they never had.
My mom was never, and still isn't an overly confident woman. She has always questioned her validity, and been disappointed in her appearance. She has struggled with her weight my entire life, and as a result, has had very low self-esteem and self-worth. These were all of her own insecurities and struggles, but as a child, I heard, and continue to hear, how I am just like my mother. But if she doesn't think SHE'S worth anything, and I'm just like her, how could I be worth anything?
As I got older, in an effort for my parents not to be REALLY young grandparents, my dad spent a lot of time explaining the male psyche and the motivations of a teenage boy, which as most of us adults know, revolve primarily around their groin.
Add together the idea that I'm not worthy, I'm fat and I'm ugly to the idea that boys are interested in one thing, and you are left with a young woman who thinks that the only reason any man would express an interest in her is for their own physical needs, because clearly, why else would they be interested in me? It didn't make sense.
Suffice it to say, thanks to the probing questions of my amazing and loving husband, his willingness to call BS on my negative self-image, and the willingness of an old friend to answer questions that may have been a bit of a blind-side with some self-serving questions when I'm certain that he has bigger fish to fry.
So--I have to say that I feel like I am starting to see myself in a whole new way. I am starting to accept the things that others have said about me over the years. I'm going to start to accept the positive things that I hear and believe my husband from now on when he calls me on my BS. I have the best, most understanding husband EVER!!!