Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Learn to Live With What You Are

When Ben Folds wrote the song, "Learn to Live With What You Are," he was singing to me. Or I'm just exactly like a lot of other people. (Neither one of those scenarios explains why he dresses up as a pirate in the video, so I'm just going to go with it.) In any case I love it, especially the chorus: "There's never going to be a moment of truth for you while the world is watching. All you need is the thing you've forgotten, and that's to learn to live with what you are."
I spend a lot of time trying to figure myself out, which somehow doesn't seem right. If I don't know myself, who will, ever? I've generally come to the conclusion that I like me, but that doesn't seem to mean I know why. I'm finding that that's becoming harder for me as I get older and have more to figure out and then love, but I'm also finding that my love/hate relationship with my quirks and stupid habits leans more toward love these days, and I think that's a start.
The thing about not being sure of yourself is that it makes it harder for you to present yourself to other people. If you can't quite get the feeling of your own skin, it's hard to feel comfortable taking that skin for a walk and introducing it to someone who clearly has a firmer grasp on herself. See what I did there? I made the default gender female, even though I would normally go with a more inclusive "his or herself." That was a demonstration of a point, because generally, women make me feel far more uncomfortable about what I'm wearing and what I'm saying around women that I do around men (with the exception of those men I want to date, and then it's a whole different story - but that's for another post). I always perceive other women as more confident and more put together than I am, except when they aren't, and then I think about how I'm more put together than they are. This all comes down to the title of my post here.
It's not about being better or worse than anyone else. It just isn't. It's about living with what you are until you can love who you are - and then loving other people for who they are. (That's advanced stuff. Start with living with yourself. The rest comes easier when you've got the first bit down.)
Final thought from my buddy Ben: "Sometimes, everything you've ever wanted floats above, sticking out its tongue and laughing, while everything anyone could ever need is down below - waiting for you to notice." Indeed. Play on, Pirate Ben.

4 comments:

Julie said...

Isn't self-improvement part of loving yourself? You can love yourself and still see things in yourself that need to change. I think a huge part of loving yourself and feeling your own self worth is trying to improve and be better than you are now.

Meg said...

You're so right. But I think there are certain things about ourselves that we learn to accept or embrace, like my general nerdiness and awkwardness - I've just learned to make it work for myself because I'd rather be a pirate than a model. Self improvement is huge, but loving yourself while you're getting there is also big for me. I know I'm not perfect now, but I can live with the fact that perfection isn't going to happen all at once.
It's learning to go after the essential instead of the non-essentials too - seeing what you need around you instead of always going after what you want but will just drive yourself crazy with not getting - embracing and improving your talents but realizing (in my case) that you aren't going to be Van Gogh or Ginger Rogers - you'll be someone else and that person will also be amazing.

Julie said...

I totally get what you are saying. I get insecure around other women who are dressed the way I want to be... the list goes on. Men, we are not competing with them, it is a different dynamic.

Miri said...

I think the thing with self improvement is that you have to be able to do it without beating yourself up for not having done it yet. (Does that make sense?) Self improvement is great, but when you want to improve yourself because you think you're not good enough the way you are, that's when there's a problem. You have to love and accept yourself the way you are first, and then self improvement can happen without being damaging.