He’ll flirt with you and tell you of all the things he wants to do once he gets his hands on your body. Makes you feel desired and empowered. Until you ask him what exactly attracts him about you, to which he responds, “your personality, because you know honestly, I’ve never gone for the thicker type”. And just like that, your mood plummets and sink back in those feelings of never being enough. What do you even say to that? How do you avoid letting his words sink into your veins like a poison? After all the effort you made to feel worthy, how do he do that? How does he so easily shatter your fortress of self-worth?
I’m not going to tell you that you need to love yourself. Because that’s bullshit. He said you’re not his type and that hurts so we’re not going to pretend otherwise. I want you to make room for your feelings. Don’t rush to brush them off, allow yourself to feel all your feelings; open your heart and let them pass through you however long it takes (and trust me it goes faster if you welcome them with kindness). While that is happening, practice honesty and compassion. Go ahead and say “this sucks, and it hurts me that he said it. It hurts me and right now I don’t feel like loving myself. But what I will do is I will choose me. That is, to not let him or his statement be the determinant factor on how my story continues”. Of course it’s hard, of course it’s much easier to agree with him that you’re not worthy of love. Isn’t that what you’ve been saying to yourself for the longest time anyway? It’s alright. Hear those thoughts. Let them exist, but have compassion. You don’t feel like loving yourself right this minute, so just have some compassion for your lack of compassion. You’re absolutely allowed. A pity party might just be what’s needed at that moment, just don’t let dwell too long.
Tend to yourself and your feelings and take your time in being kind to yourself. What would you tell a friend if this were her going through this very experience? Repeat that yourself until it eases the ache in your chest. Don’t hesitate to call a friend and ask that they help remind you of the good things they love about you. Someone genuine who can give you specific things about you that they just adore. Do not be ashamed in needing validation. we all need to be seen. We all need affirmations. Let your best friend nurse your bruised self-esteem. You deserve tenderness, both from others and from yourself.
Then once the feeling has left or at least subsided, begin to pour back some love into yourself. Let yourself deserve it, because you do. Choose you. Love you. And when another man comes along, let yourself be loved. Teach him how to love you. how to be gentle and tender with your wounds. Tell him where it hurts so he knows where to be gentle.
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.