Florence Given's Women Don't Owe You Pretty stopped me in my tracks many times. Chapter 15 had me staring out my window.
The 2-page chapter of the book addressed how we avoid ourselves by paying more attention to others. Most specifically, our "[unwillingness] to acknowledge and nurture our own talents to avoid the uncomfortable truth that we don't actually know ourselves or what we want from life" (Given 165). Triggered? Same.
Given continues, "If we don't feel that we are capable of growing, becoming successful or honing our own skills, the next best thing is to cling to a person who is."
How many times have we clung to a person, place, or thing that distracted us from the self-work we needed to do? Sometimes it doesn't even have to be a person. That crutch could be a show we're binge watching, doom-scrolling all day, or wasting too much time overthinking. It's anything that we use as a way to run from ourselves.
When it comes to people- how many minutes have you spent worrying about what someone else is doing rather than what your next step is? For example, in the context of when someone does us filthy...what's next? Are you taking action and contemplating, or just the latter? Why are we putting all these things that externally affect us on a pedestal?
Underneath it all, we are avoiding ourselves.
When I first learned about attachment styles, I knew that there were a few different types. Anxious, avoidant, and anxious-avoidant. A few people I know have an avoidant attachment style (which has been the most hurtful to me). I've been able to remember that one clearly. I always saw it as a self-issue they had involving a fear of intimacy because they were never shown proper love in their lives, especially during their childhood. I thought that my issues were "better" than their issues, because it just had to do with my anxiety about being abandoned or losing them. I thought, pretty reasonable, right? Not necessarily. What broke me down was learning that both anxious and avoidant attachment styles have the same root- avoidance.
We (anxious-attached folks) get anxious because we're more afraid of losing a person, thing, or habit than losing ourselves. We pedestalize (coining that) the very person or thing so much that it causes us even more overthinking, pain, and overall harm than the situation could do itself. By doing this, we avoid the very much-needed self-work required for us to love ourselves completely. This means being okay to cut that thing off when needed- not when you feel comfortable or "ready" to do it.
Triggered? Still same. I'm actually still processing how that chapter applies to me as I write this. What I don't need to spend anymore time processing, though, is that in 2024 and beyond, I'm definitely prioritizing the self-work that I need to do. So, now that I brought you along with me to do the same, I leave you with the opening quote of the chapter that Florence blessed us with:
"A pedestal is as much a prison as any confined space" -Gloria Steinem
If you're gonna put anything on a pedestal, it better be your highest self.