Happy Birthday To Me: 35 Thoughts On Relationships, Self-esteem and Life
Posted Jul 28 2012 11:42am
I’m 35 today and as you can see from the photo, I’m still hanging with my bro in Amsterdam who is reminding me of one of my personal commandments to laugh a lot. Thanks for all of the birthday wishes here and on and here are just 35 of my many thoughts on life which I hope will help to give some perspective if you’re struggling with an issue.
1. You could blame yourself or try to get someone to change when you realise that your relationship isn’t how you’d like it to be or that they’re not who you thought you were, or you could leave. Someone else’s inadequacies have absolutely nothing to do with you and certainly don’t equate to you having inadequacies that are ‘provoking’ their inadequacies.
2. Life is one big learning experience and the same lessons will keep coming back at you like Michael Myers in Halloween until you learn the lessons. If you keep experiencing the same or similar, or how you feel about you is the same or even worse over time, whatever you think you’ve learned or you ‘know’ is not the right takeaway message.
3. You can tell a lot about how someone feels about themselves by their choices. Do your choices say “I love and trust me a lot” or “I’m living in fear, I don’t like or love me a lot” or even “I love you more than I love myself”?
4. If a relationship isn’t mutual, it’s not a relationship; it’s a gradual crushing of your spirit and your soul.
5. They’re just not that special and you’re just not that desperate. There is no relationship (romantic or otherwise) in the world that is ‘worth’ being treated badly, feeling less than, or having to ‘win’ them over. Take them off their pedestal and tell ‘em to take their special fried self elsewhere.
6. Sounds so simple, but doing things that make you unhappy on an ongoing basis will not make you happy. Do more of the things that make you feel good. Do less of the things that give you a short-term high and a medium to longer term side effects.
7. Parents are not infallible and they do eff up. They are not God or a higher power, and if they have failed to be the parent(s) you would have wanted them to be, that has got absolutely nothing to do with your worth as a person and everything to do with them. It’s not ideal but we cannot get our childhoods back and we certainly cannot make friends or people we have romantic relationships with make up the shortfall. Take care of you, nurture you, raise you and teach you whatever you need to learn.
8. Texts are not appropriate means of conducting a relationship as they’re crumb communication. I’m not saying that sending a text is terrible thing – I’m saying sending a text to get booked in for a shag, to argue, to have a so-called meaningful discussion that you either can’t have because they’re physically unavailable or because you’re trying to dodge conflict is really jacked up. Some people put as much effort into contacting you as they do with ordering a pizza – make sure you’re not that pizza!
9. Giving to others with a view to what you might ‘get back’ is not wholehearted giving and they’re actually acts of ‘generosity’ packaged up with hidden expectations. Give because it’s who you are and what you’d do anyway, not because you think that it will eventually create a tipping point and make them be the person you want or generate back the same level of giving.
10. Affairs are like an exorcism for the Other Woman/Man – it will drag out every ugly thought and feeling and bring all of your deep seated issues including abandonment and second best issues to the surface. If you’re involved in an affair, recognise that you’ve hit a low with your self-esteem and see this as an opportunity to resolve your issues instead of carting them around. And get out.
11. Others know the line with you when you know the line. Nobody else is going to set your boundaries for you especially when you’re actually crossing your own line anyway.
12. We trust those who share similar core values to us, hence if something feels ‘off’ or you can’t put your finger on what it is you don’t trust (and you know it’s not solely down to your insecurity), it’s because there is a conflict on one or more of your fundamental values.
13. Not everything is about you. You’ll find that the amount of drama in your life reduces significantly when you reduce the amount of drama in your own mind and actions. Not everything is important – learn to pick and choose your battles, not because you’re letting things slide but because not everything is about you or having the last word.
14. Often the things that we put off, take a shockingly shorter amount of time to do or are not the earth shattering, sky is falling things we feared them to be. Procrastination takes a lot more energy and saps your mojo and even your self-esteem.
15. Until you get to know someone, what you love is an image in your mind. It’s great if they end up living up to or even exceeding this image, but if they don’t, you have no choice but to join them back on earth. And you can’t be mad at them for not living up to your imagination – it’s your imagination.
16. All breakups, not just those that are the result of an unhealthy relationship, require some space. It is healthy and normal. You’re not going to process a breakup if you try to carry on as normal, are hanging off their coat tails or having sex with them.
17. If you wouldn’t give over your worldly possessions or put someone on your lease or add them to your mortgage a hot minute or month after meeting them, I certainly wouldn’t hand over your self-esteem and claim that you ‘know’ and trust them either.
18. Unless you’re extremely stubborn, it’s highly unlikely that as you’re getting ready to draw your last breath that you’re going to think “Jaysus, I wish I’d tried harder to win over Mr/Miss Unavailable” but it may suddenly occur to you that there were better things to do with your life.
19. It doesn’t really matter what you say, if you don’t back it up with the actions that matter. Don’t tell me who you are, show me who you are and if the actions and the words don’t match, you’ve got problems.
20. Being a People Pleasing Chameleon is a waste of time. Yeah some people will appreciate the fringe benefits of you rolling yourself out into a doormat but ultimately when you actively try to get people to like you in subtle and not so subtle ways, it actually comes across as disingenuous, plus you won’t like you either.
21. If you don’t understand why something didn’t work and are not in the process of adapting the behaviour and thinking that contributed, what is to stop you from winding up in the same situation again?
22. There’s no point in saying “I’m not the kind of guy/girl who does X” while doing just that. The ‘innocent bystander’ attitude of claiming honesty while being with someone who is dishonest doesn’t wash either.
23. There’s no such thing as having the last word; the last word is ACTION. The ‘last word’ is only a one-way verbal or written statement and it’s only final for you. The other person might be thinking “Blah blah blah” or “Are they on crack?”
24. Great sex with someone who treats you in a less than favourable manner is like doing crack – yeah it’ll feel good when you’re on the high having sex but the effects of chasing that high and selling yourself short will gradually destroy you. Don’t objectify yourself.
25. Friendship like all relationships should be mutual but they are still organic not forced. This means that if you’re ‘supposed’ to be friends with your ex it won’t be because you did the equivalent of showing up on their doorstep like a nuisance salesperson.
26. It’s very easy to focus on others and judge their lives and their actions and to even tell them about themselves and make it your duty to show them the ‘right’ way, but it’s all a distraction from yourself. It’s not that there aren’t things that others couldn’t do with changing, but what you really need to be asking is why you’re so caught up in this when you could be getting on with your own life?
27. Any situation that you’re compaining about yet it’s still continuing, it’s because it’s ‘working’ for you – a ‘payoff’. Identifying what that is as well as the false economy in your actions and thinking will put you in the position to do something.
28. Intelligence is wonderful but don’t let it blind you and don’t think that you don’t have to try in other areas. It doesn’t mean that you’re emotionally intelligent or relationship smart nor does it mean that if you meet someone with a level of intelligence you respect or even admire, that they’ll possess other qualities you desire and share your values. Some people are also very intelligent at assholic behaviour. Oh and if you were with someone ‘less intelligent’, just like if you were with someone ‘less attractive’ it wouldn’t do anything to your own intelligence or attractiveness.
29. Be very wary of trusting those who chat about others behind their backs or do mean things because you might feel that you’re exempt from this treatment, but they’re likely talking about you too and one day you’ll be in the firing line.
30. It doesn’t matter what story you’re told about why someone is having an affair – their partner is a person with their own feelings and yes, flaws, just like you. I’m not saying that they’re perfect but if you regard them as a human being with a name, feelings, expectations, and possibly having once possessed the same faith you have in your lover, you might not be so quick to judge or to play the third wheel.
31. Life is for living and if you’re not living and loving because you’re too busy being afraid and investing yourself in people and situations that detract from you, you’re definitely not using your opportunity to fulfil your purpose.
32. Casual relationships (an oxymoron in themselves as nobody likes being treated and regarded casually) are an attempt to do a backdoor route to a relationship in the hope of wooing them into ‘upgrading’ you. You are not a credit card with an introductory interest free period.
33. Many people strive to be the perfect version of ‘good enough’ which is basically seeking perfection. Life is about learning and growing as we go along, like on-the-job training. There’s no destination, there’s no critical mass of ‘stuff’ that we acquire or praise that’s heaped upon us. You’ve got the ‘job’ already – embrace it!
34. Accept you as you are, realise that this is where you have to live (in your skin) until your time is up and take yourself out there and shine.
35. Blame, shame, and guilt are wasted emotions – there isn’t much you can do with them. You don’t have to let past experiences define you and your future. I could have made a permanent judgement about myself but where the hell would that have got me? You can change your life. Your story isn’t ‘written’ – you can do a rewrite.
Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, The No Contact Rule and more . Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on and Twitter - .