The first time I saw this quote I instantly fell in love with it. Everyone is familiar with the more popular words spoken by Julius Caesar – Veni Vidi Vici. I came, I saw, I conquered. But the idea of loving instead of conquering is something I’m much more open to exploring.
Originally I saw this quote only in relation to the world. There is so much hate, violence, prejudice, racism, sexism and homophobia around us all the time. If we approached it with the idea to love the differences and diversity amongst people, instead of wanting to “conquer” what we don’t know, think of how different the world would be. How much better this world would be.
But lately, as I work with my psychiatrist on improving my self-esteem, I’ve begun to connect with this quote on another level; a more personal one. I’m extremely outspoken on my belief for equality for everyone in this world – put me in a room with my parents who share very different views for longer than two minutes and I guarantee I will have begun a perpetual rant on my feelings about this topic within this timeframe.
My job as a special educator means I work from 9-5, five days a week, to remove boundaries and stereotypes and make school a loving, open and inclusive environment for my clients.
However when it comes to me, I don’t share this view. While I openly voice the need for the world to be loving and inclusive to everyone despite their differences, I hate myself for who I am. I hate the way I look. I hate my body. I hate my personality. I think I’m useless and there is nothing I’m good at. I question why anyone in the world would want to be my friend, let alone engage in a conversation with me. I nitpick physical attributes right down to hating the shape my fingernails grow in. Outside of work I hide my self-harm scars even when I don’t have to, simply because I’m ashamed of them. Very few people know I have multiple mental illnesses because I don’t want to be seen as less capable or “crazy”. I preach to other people about loving others and their differences, yet I hate or hide what makes me unique.
I would love to be able to say this realisation has now solved all my self-esteem problems and I’m suddenly the most confident person in the world. Of course it hasn’t; improving self-esteem doesn’t work that way and it will be a long, long, long journey for me (emphasis on the long). However it’s has given me a new way to reflect on self-esteem and self-love – the idea of seeing you for who you are and loving that.
And it’s made one of my favourite quotes even more special to me.