it only feels weird the first few times

a few weeks ago, The Twin (Hot Lunch Part Deux) called me up out of the blue with a strange request. he wanted to be un-tagged from photos of a couple of parties i had uploaded to Facebook. not even wild parties. “i just prefer having control of my image,” he explained.

after looking into it, i sent him a facebook message that it was super easy for him to remove any of his tags himself, and I kindly did not mention the glaring ridiculousness that his IDENTICAL TWIN is clearly tagged and standing next to him in most of the photos. instead, i added a bit of Tink-style preachiness:

one thing I appreciate Facebook for teaching me is that it’s exhausting and futile to try to carefully orchestrate the way the world sees you. all you can do is live the life and be the person that YOU like, trusting that kindred spirits will like you and your life too. if that’s your goal, then a few perfect portraits aren’t near as valuable as tons of snapshots that show you get out and live life with people who care about you enough to take your picture, put it online and put your name to it.

that advice would be even more badass if i actually lived by it. around the same time, i was sniffling over the phone to cupcake that i had thought i’d found a best friend to spend the rest of my life with and now he was gone. she said bluntly, “well, you kind of have to be your own best friend,” a statement that was all the more infuriating for being totally true.

but it’s an idea i’m beginning to enjoy. i like being my own best friend. it comes with some liberating things. like:

placing less importance on what others think. the untemplater has great things to say on that. (thanks Cupcake for the article.)

realizing your value. thanks to my genius counselor Pam, i am constantly reminding myself of where i find my value. if you don’t know where you place value in yourself, it’s time to write the list down and look at it every day. the more you focus on what is valuable about yourself, you’ll realize your value is a constant and doesn’t in fact fluctuate with what people think of you or how you are feeling on a particular day or, say, if someone just dumped you. your value is the same the day after being dumped as it was the day before. believe it, or at least repeat it to yourself, when you don’t feel it.

feeling lovable. i realized that for years i’ve been unable to believe i am lovable unless i’m in a relationship to prove it to myself. now i realize that that’s a pile of shit. the more i remind myself of things i value in myself, the more relieved i am to be me and not someone else, the more grateful i feel to myself for being me, and the more i love myself. just me. by myself. it’s a totally counterintuitive life truth: you need to be fine on your own before you’re ready to be with someone else.

finally finding love that’s never going to go anywhere. you will be with yourself forever, so it’s time to stop fighting yourself or overlooking yourself and instead build a relationship that you can rely on and enjoy forever, a solid rock of mutual self-respect and self-sufficiency, a creamy filling of love at the center of your life, a model for how you expect others to treat you.

being an overachiever, i have a plan to not only be my own best friend, but to fall in love with myself. i will treat myself the way i would like (and deserve)  for a lover to treat me. in short:

i’m in love with me, so i…
buy myself flowers
tell myself nice things
make myself feel pretty/beautiful
listen to all my thoughts
call myself on my bullshit
do something special for myself on special days
watch my favorite movies/shows
have dates just with me, to go to dinner, a movie or just read a book at Borders
encourage myself to follow my passions
don’t dredge up the past or harp on things that make me feel bad
tell myself “I love you” and/or “you are lovable”

telling yourself “i love you” really does only feel weird the first few times. after that it starts to feel really surprisingly good. try it when no one is looking. or when everyone is looking. or when you don’t care who’s looking.

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