It took realizing I’m royally messed up for me to learn to truly love myself.

It took realizing I'm royally messed up to learn to love myself.

Try it. You just might learn to love yourself too and gain self confidence.

You might be royally messed up too, I’m not sure. If you are, welcome to my world. You are not alone. You can gain self confidence by realizing that you aren’t perfect. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Here’s my story and how it can help you.

The truth is, I really am messed up. Down to the core. I have so many of the check boxes of those quizzes, that I already know if there is a ‘Signs you are a….’ that I will meet the criteria for whatever disorder or diagnosis the internet quizzes have for me. I’ve stopped looking them up, because it’s depressing.

Why am I messed up, you ask?

You name the substance or thing you can be addicted to, and I can get addicted to it. It’s not even the old saying, I could be addicted faster than you can say ‘addicted’. I could be addicted faster than you could say add……

It’s one of the roots of my problems, really. I don’t know all the science behind addiction, but I do believe that it’s innate in me. Whether it was born or bred, I have the propensity for it, and I’ll always be that way.

That’s one reason why I’m so messed up, it’s not the only one, but it’s the main one. It’s screwed with my life in so many different ways. It’s messed me up royally. I’m messed up for other reasons too, but that’s the main one.

I know I said I stopped doing quizzes, but maybe I’m addicted to them too, it wouldn’t surprise me. Here’s a quiz, if you have any of these items, you are messed up: Traumatic Childhood, Prone to Addiction, Messed Up Emotional Life, = yep, I’ve got them all.

If you know me in real life, I already know what you’re thinking, ‘Leslie, stop. You have a great life, you’re such a kind and good person! You’re being too hard on yourself.’ You’ll probably text me later and tell me this, just to remind me. I know this, because I have amazing friends and family who encourage me, always. I’m so grateful for that. I couldn’t do it alone, I really would just fail. I’ve been blessed.

My loved ones are not wrong. I do have a great life. I have a beautiful and talented family, and I’m living in a way that honors who I am in my soul. I am also really messed up. They aren’t mutually exclusive after all.

I stopped drinking as a teen after my mom committed suicide because I didn’t want to end up dead like her. I read self-help books as a teen because I just knew that something didn’t add up. Looking back, I applaud myself for having that insight. I couldn’t explain how I knew, I just knew I was different than other people.

I *heart* therapy.

I also started going to therapy early on in my adulthood because of addiction and other issues, a.k.a. when your mom commits suicide, it messes you up. Get me a bumper sticker for my car that says ‘I heart therapy,’ because I’m a huge fan. I’ve continued to go to therapy off and on throughout my adulthood and unlocking keys to my brain. For the longest time I thought I was broken because of trauma and I thought I was weird. It made me sad that I didn’t drink socially like ‘normal’ people do and that I had a messed up childhood.

From the world’s standards, some people judge you if you don’t drink, because they assume you are being holier than thou, or they assume that you are an addict, and that therefore you are broken. And by people, I mean the general public, usually strangers.

It’s fine, it’s just because they don’t have insight in to someone’s personal battles, and they aren’t trying to be mean. They are just living, and there are lots of people who can drink socially. I just happen not to be one of them. Do your thing, have fun, and enjoy! I will be doing the same, sober. It doesn’t make me any less because I don’t know what the drinks are, or go to bars.

It’s easy to take on negative energy or assumption on as truth, but I’ve stopped playing that game with myself, especially when it’s strangers who have their opinions.

I have a rich and full life without substances. Otherwise, I’d be dead. I’m sure of it and that’s not hyperbolic. I’d be D-E-A-D. My issues with addiction, generally speaking, are serious, and I have no moderation switch. It’s either on or off. And by ‘on’ I mean, messing up the life that honors my soul. I still eat my fair share of candy though. That is a current addiction I’m not willing to sacrifice. That helps me live the life that honors my soul.

The road to self-acceptance is not an easy one, but it can be done.

Just because I’ve figured these things out about myself doesn’t mean I’ve been unscathed though. and it’s taken me a long time to accept who I am, not as a character flaw, but just as how I roll. I’ve learned to live by the 12 steps – and that they aren’t exclusive for the traditional addictions.

I’m a personal fan of Celebrate Recovery, but 12 step life, generally, speaks to me, and I wholeheartedly support any group that promotes recovery. Recovery groups are the most confidential rooms you’ll ever find. I believe they are even more sacred than the therapy chair, because you’re connecting with others who are battling too.

If you ever need to unload your darkest secret, a 12 step group is the place to do it. I have friends who know my darkest of dark, and they are recovery people so I know they will take it to their grave. It’s not blackmail, it’s mutually understanding and unconditional love that drives it. They’ve walked these same roads, and they, too, realize that you can still be worthwhile human, and have a weakness for addiction.

I believe recovery is applicable and helpful for every single person, whether you battle a traditional addiction or not. The 12 steps are a path to living a serene life. Couldn’t we all use that? Pick me, pick me!

As my life has progressed, I have come to realize that these failures, weaknesses, or mess ups have actually been my saving grace. Every time I hit the wall, I realize that I need to surrender my self will and live for something greater. I’ve also come to realize that I will continue to mess up.

As much as I want to be good, I can’t. I won’t. Life isn’t about being good anyway, it’s about being real, authentic, and living for the soul. I’ve missed the mark so many times I don’t even know where it is anymore. I’ve tried all the ways to be good, do right, and meet expectations. I can’t do that either.

I’ve come to have a deep love and understanding of who I am and to embrace all of me. Even those parts that I would like to disown because they are confusing and/or dangerous. It feels good to do that. The ask is love yourself, even if. To love yourself, even though. Most importantly to love yourself, no matter what.

I have spent a lot of time in my life processing who I am, and I read countless materials in the past that told me to accept myself. I still didn’t. The messages I sent to myself were wrapped in the idea that I could learn from others, but nobody really understood just how bad I was, so I shoved off all that learning because I was convinced that it couldn’t help me.

All the self-help and therapy in the world couldn’t untangle me, until I made that decision to accept myself for who I am.

This helped me stop trying to be good, for good’s sake. Loving myself made me understand that I am ok, underneath all the struggles and confusion. You are too. If you struggle and fret and worry that you are not enough or that you are just way too broken, it’s not true. Those are the messages that keep you stuck. It’s ok if you don’t believe that.

It took me a long time (many many many years) to really absorb that truth and let it sink in. Keep at trying though, it’s worth it, and accept yourself for that struggle too. It’s helped me gain self confidence to realize that I am not perfect, but I am acceptable just the way I am. I don’t have to try as hard anymore.

You can gain self-confidence too. Let yourself off the hook.

Once I let myself off the hook and offered true forgiveness to myself and others, it unlocked a different plane of my spirit. You can do it too. But you can’t do it alone, I hate to tell you. You can push that bottle, person, or whatever you are addicted to as far away as you want to, and cry, ‘NEVER AGAIN’ but until you engage with other people to help support you, it won’t work. You’ll pick it up again and then two weeks later, wonder why you picked it up again and why you can’t live without it. I speak from experience here.

So, yes, I am a royal f*ck up and I love myself anyway. You can too. Try it.

Love, Leslie

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