tl;dr: Realized I was stuck in the anger phase where I doubted everything, mostly myself. Causing me to lose positive energy. Found positive energy again.
Body of text: This is a follow-up to recent motivational posts like "Frame, dissonance, and the siren's song" and "Stress is Greatness"
Today I started my second big tattoo project. Getting this tattoo was very important to me, due to its personal meaning. I know TRP and society is divided on this subject. For me personally it holds value.
After a long session I finished up the first part, it looked great. During my drive home I felt a creeping sense of anxiety. The feeling I've had to bear ever since I broke frame and got oneitis for my ex. We broke up some time later. I discovered TRP and made great changes, but I never felt 'whole' like I did before my LTR.
I felt anything but whole in fact. I felt anxious, ashamed, angry, fearful, inadequate and bitter. Very few things filled my heart with joy and if it did it wasn't for long. I was very motivated but my efforts to improve were a struggle. I had come to doubt everything I had in my life. Family and friends weren't valued like in my pre-LTR days. My ex had criticized everything about and around me and I began to believe it.
When I arrived home I looked nervously at my tattoo in the mirror. "Will they like it?" was my first thought. I decided to show it to my parents to get some insight. They told me it was nicely done but that it wasn't their style. I felt mortified. “This will haunt me for the rest of my life, no one will like it” I had completely forgotten about the personal message this tattoo was supposed to convey.
I started to browse through all the pictures I had gathered for inspiration. It was easy to tell who had a 'good' tattoo and who had a 'bad' one. Yet when I contemplated what made a tattoo good or bad I found no answer. But then it hit me. It wasn't the tattoo, it was the person who had it.
Every single tattoo that looked good was due to the positive attitude of the person in the picture - EVEN WHEN IT WAS SHIT ATR. They weren't bad boys nor good guys. The piece was positive/neutral. But most of all, they didn't give a fuck. Their tattoo was for themselves, they liked it. They liked everything about themselves.
That's when I finally started to understand some TRP lessons that apparently had not sunk in yet. No one is going to give you validation for your choices and you shouldn't seek it from others. It should come from within. You should validate your own life. Your parent's won’t validate you and you definitely can't expect your girlfriend or wife to. If you think you suck, then guess what, people will think that you suck. It's not about what you can take from a person (validation) it's about what you can give to someone (positive energy) and when and to whom you decide to give it.
When I realized this I suddenly thought back pre-LTR. At this time I had just met my ex and some other plates. I remembered telling them about my life with pride. There was nothing grand about the way I lived, but I believed it to be. In MY eyes I had the best life and the best friends. AND that made them believe in it to. Later on when I got Oneitis every decision or aspect of my life was a minefield.
"Perhaps I was wrong about my life" "Compared to these other guys my life isn’t that great” “She probably thinks my life is lame”
Now I remember. I love my life because I had the privilege to experience it up till now. This journey has been unique and personal to me, that's why it has worth. I have some amazing friends and family members and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. Let no one ever convince you differently.
I'm going to continue with my tattoo and the personal message I worked on for so long. One about my friendships, family, life and finding the best in people and yourself. And I'm never going to doubt or feel ashamed about this ever again.
Lessons learned - Don’t look for validation of your choices. Validate your own choices. - Don't let others shit test you out of your frame. - Never let your ex or any other girl convince you that you are inadequate. - Follow your heart, not toward women but toward your passions in life. - Value your family and close friends. They give meaning to your life. - Enjoy every moment to the fullest before it’s over. - Be the best that you can be. - Do your own thing and stay positive.