Billy's Thoughts

Sabbatical Notes #5: Self-Love

Posted on Jan 12, 2024 — 3 mins read

Covers Nov 2023 to Jan 2024.

After the dust settled in October, my experiences and my new mindset coalesced into these two goals:

  1. Continue to do the creative work that I love, and do whatever I need to in order to sustain this; while in the background:

  2. Rewire myself away from grasping for external validation of my work as a necessary component of my worth, and toward cultivating an internal wellspring of self-worth

With (2), I realize now, truly realize, that a big part of me doesn’t like myself.

The writing was on the wall, though, for a long time. The negative self-talk (“I’m an idiot!” or “Tsk, that was dumb”). That little trail of darkness that led toward the root of my desire to do better, that I turned my eyes away from and didn’t want to follow. The desire to Be Better. And the harshness which I employed to try to fulfill that desire, that would sometimes leak out into my interactions with other people.

(Side thought I had recently: is there this bit of darkness inside all those who tend J on the MBTI?)

There’s this feeling of confused shame that arises when I admit to myself that I don’t really like me. How can I not like myself? The only existence I’ve got is this one, my own! Also, there’s so much to like! Also, only people with issues don’t like themselves, and I couldn’t be one of those people. And yet, it rings True.

Accepting this feels a bit icky to me still in some unclear way, but it’s also freeing. It makes sense! I’m starting to notice more when I’m making certain decisions where I want to be seen as good, and noticing that I want to be liked (by myself or someone else).

Though it could also just be this:

So what now?

Well, I want to start liking myself. I want to have a healthy, internalized sense of self-worth. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say I want Self-Love.

As for actual actions, from what I’ve read plus talking with my therapist, this all takes a rewiring of the neurons in the brain. Negative self-talk must become positive self-talk, and this must become unconscious.

This kind of rewiring takes many months, and looks something like:

Be aware of the negative thoughts, or grasping at external validation -> when the thoughts arise, be curious, examine and investigate them -> propose and reinforce some new, more positive thoughts that you believe. Meanwhile, just keep living your life.

Other things I’ll be looking into:

I’ll see how things are going at the end of Q1 2024 or so. But I’m excited and optimistic :)

(Interestingly, it feels like NOW I’m in a state where I’m able to really fully enjoy my sabbatical. Like, what I’m feeling and doing now are what I think people expect when I say I’m on sabbatical, except it took me a whole Act I to get here πŸ˜‚)