We spend so much time analyzing things. Some of us are up all night running the entire day through our head; from the tiniest responses to strangers, to a choice we made years ago. And when we find someone who seems to understand us, whose opinion doesn’t keep us up at night, that’s who we hang on to. We’ve finally found someone who “gets” us. Someone who vibes with us, whose energy matches our own.
I talk about self love a lot. I gave birth to a child when I was just a teenager, so after spending over half of my life pouring every ounce of my love into someone else, I can begin to appreciate how important it is to love oneself, and how incredibly easy it is to forget. When we aren’t confident, we second guess everything we say. We wonder if someone is mad at us about something, if something we said was taken the wrong way. We “I’m sorry” and “lol” to soften our tone. Those thoughts racing through our head keep us up all night, and we struggle to relax. It’s a lack of love for ourself, a confidence that what we said was good enough, that makes us feel this way.
I have noticed that opposites often attract. Outgoing people with a ton to say will gravitate toward a quiet partner who is content in their world how it is, and don’t have a lot of words to add to it. It could be that the people with a lot to say end up having a lot more to think about, or maybe all of that talking is like feelers reaching into the world, seeking validation, so they’re up all night because they still haven’t found it. Whatever it is, it’s clear that the confident, quiet types are our match because they don’t need the floor, and we feel comfortable enough to be our authentic selves. We can go on and on, and it’s not an imposition on their time. We say they “get” us because they don’t make us question ourselves. We can be how we are because we aren’t rubbing elbows with someone who is trying to be the same way.
In college, I was voted “most like a professor.” She was a wildly intelligent, wildly chaotic woman who was involved in everything from the medical board to practicing, to teaching, and she always seemed to be picking things up that she dropped (she literally dropped things all the time). She came to class with perfectly curled hair, except she missed one piece. She sometimes skipped a button, so her professional work dress was lopsided, and also, she talked a lot. She once told me “you need to marry an engineer. They’re so preoccupied in their own mind that they don’t even notice how insane you seem.” I didn’t marry an engineer, but my husband definitely fits that description. He has a one track brain and my constant chatter appears to be enjoyable background noise to him. Like an easy to follow sitcom that you can turn on while you’re making dinner and laugh with whenever a joke catches your attention.
I think this is a beautiful thing, in a way. For the sake of a lasting love, I think it is beautiful. But also, it is an unfortunate thing. If we begin with self love, we won’t be searching for someone who gets us; in fact I’m sure there are plenty of people who have never even considered that to be a priority at all. We aren’t broken, so we don’t need someone to understand the unwritten manual. When we understand that we are perfect as we are, we don’t need a pass on everything we have said and deemed stupid. We are capable of being so kind to other people, so accepting of differences and quirks, but we dwell on our own.
I am working on self love. I have created intimate little spaces throughout my life that are only mine. Physical spaces and mental spaces. I meditate, I journal, I stretch, I light candles and just sit. The time I spend there is for me alone, and it’s often focused on forgiving myself. I repeat a mantra “I did the best I could with what I had.” The things I said and did at 21 were based on what little wisdom I had at the time, what level of emotional development I was working with. I was scared/upset/sad/so happy I couldn’t contain it, so I did what I did because it felt right. And I have been mindful to forgive myself immediately when I second guess something I said to someone else. My mantra usually sounds something like “I cannot control what emotion they attached to what I said, I didn’t have any bad intent.” And honestly, I don’t. I don’t try to hurt feelings, and I’m sure I rarely do. It’s called overthinking because we think about it so much that we misconstrue every detail. The situation that we built into a mountain is less than an anthill most of the time. So in the wise words of Elsa, we need to let it go. Forgive ourselves and let it go.
Since I am currently raising a daughter, I hope to instill the importance of self love into her at an early age, so she doesn’t have the piles of forgiveness-worthy events that I am sorting though. I want her to choose a partner because they have the same goals and direction. I want her to be so full of love for herself that she doesn’t need someone to “understand” her. She doesn’t need to be understood because she will have nothing she feels she needs to explain.
I am interested to read the perspective of both the quiet types and those who are more like me and never stop talking. I would also love to read similar articles that discuss this topic in greater depth. Comment your thoughts and recommendations for continued reading.