I was on holiday last week and when on holiday I got a chance to read, which doesn't happen very often.
My book of choice, picked up in the buy one get one half price section of WH Smiths was this.
Now whether you like Mr Brand or not doesn't really matter because I want to talk about addiction, and more accurately what a revelation reading this book was for me.
I have decided or concluded that I am an addict.
And like Robert Palmer I am addicted to love.
I feel a bit of a prat saying this, but there are worse things to be addicted to, but being addicted to anything is not good. Just ask Mr Creosote about his Wafer Thin Mint habit....
Russell has struggled with a variety of addictions, many of which it seems from his musings have their roots in low self esteem and using something (sex, drugs, overuse of long words) to distract himself from how he actually feels.
This was a good book. Did I mention that? It's based on the 12 steps that Alcoholics Anonymous use but can be used for any addiction.
I did some googling to understand more about love addiction and this is what it told me.
Well I don't have all of those, but a good few of them ring true. But I'm not a stalker.
I wondered why I have this and did some more googling.
So what to do I thought.
Well after quickly discounting the £5000 option of a week in the Priory I decided that I've probably done the most important thing in recognising what anxiety and low self esteem does, or did to me. Recognition and acceptance that you either have flaws or had them is important. It helps rationalise why you were how you were or why you are how you are. And also recognise that everyone has their challenges and you're not actually that bad.
At the core of this is me needing validation from others, and it's not just in relationships, it's in general life. If I send you a birthday card or gift I struggle to be content that what I've done is ok or good and can easily take offence if the recipient doesn't notice. It's daft really. I know I'm generally a good guy so why do I need others to tell me that I am, why can't I just know that and have that inner strength and confidence within me.
I've given social media a holiday recently because I was becoming more aware how much I checked each hilarious thing I shared to see who liked it, or if certain people liked it. And if I thought it was hilarious, isn't that enough? Do I really need others to validate me?
People pleasing is the other manifestation of the need to feel validated. It can be hard to know who you are, what you like or even what you think if you are always trying to think about the other person's opinions or feelings. It's exhausting too, because every time you feel like you've upset someone or you have even disagreed with them you can have a massive feeling of guilt and shame and fear of rejection or abandonment (but I've already blogged about my Catholic upbringing).
I will be seeking less validation and will empathise with myself more. I will be not 'having' to tell people how i'm hurt, what i've achieved or how i've helped them. What I feel is what I feel. But I do need to feel more of the positivity about what I do and give myself a break, give myself some credit and accept and realise that just because someone hasn't told me they love me for a long time doesn't mean I am unloved or unlovable.
Others don't define me.
"I am who I am.
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook or the ovation"
Mr Paul Wyse