Do you remember playing the game Chutes and Ladders as a child? For those of you with a deprived childhood, Chutes and Ladders is a board game where the objective is to reach the finish line first. The catch is that you can land on special squares that either have ladders, which allow you to skip forward, or chutes, which force you to move back. It is a pretty awesome game, most of the time.
Sometimes when you would play the game, you would be the slow and steady player, which can be quite boring. You just keep jumping a few squares at a time never landing on a ladder or chute, while you watch your friends move up and down the board. Eventually both strategies leave everyone neck and neck around the finish line. You are so close you can taste it. You hold your breath and roll the die and there it is. The longest chute on the board. You just got pushed back to the beginning.
You can feel your face fill with fire. Your cheeks are burning so hot they are red. Your eyes are welling up. And what you would like to do is flip the board over and run out of the room and hide under your covers. But you quietly move your piece to the beginning, hold back your tears and hope that the game ends quickly.
That’s me right now. I am that bratty kid. I don’t want to start at the beginning. I don’t want a rematch. I don’t want to play this game anymore. I want to scream. And throw things. And hide under my covers all day.
And this is frustrating. For so many reasons. I am frustrated that I am frustrated. I have worked so hard to feel better. And with one swift move of an external hand, I am back where I was. Why is this? How can this happen so easily? What am I missing? I am pretty sure the answer is self love.
I’ve written a lot about the importance of connections and friendship and a strong support system, but the truth is, at the end of the day the only person who is with you 100% of the time is yourself. So you have to love yourself. Really love yourself. You have to be your biggest supporter. You have to pick yourself up when you are down. You have to stop the negative thoughts, cut them off before they do any damage. You have to stop picking yourself apart and magnifying your flaws. And you have to do it on your own.
And this is the piece that I haven’t conquered. This is why I am so fragile. I’m going through the motions, but it’s not there yet. I’ve read about it and talked about it, but it cuts deep and wide. And sometimes it is easier just to hide in that dark hole rather than fill it up with self love, kind thoughts and forgiving words.