Sunday, June 22, 2014

Do You Love Yourself?



I closed the book just as I reached page 75 of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I never thought the book is this amazing. I heard about this several times, but never attempted to even browse it in bookstores. This book was just recommended to me by my cousin, who is a passionate teacher. She let me borrow her own copy. She said it's her favorite.

Just like my eldest sister, I think that it's best to read novels that use first person perspective. Not only that it looks like a journal writing to me, but it makes me feel like the persona herself is confiding to me and wanting me to be directly involved in her life. Moreover, the book is wonderfully written. I like Elizabeth Gilbert's diction, metaphors and humor. She also has the skill of describing things as if they're in front of you. 

I'm writing this not because I want to write a book review of a novel which I haven't even finished reading yet (just on page 75 out of 445 pages!), but because there's a part of it which I want to contemplate on. Warning: I'm not good at determining what's spoiling and what's not. I only know that if you get to tell how the book ended, that would probably be spoiling. And since I haven't finished it yet, I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna do that in the next paragraphs.

Well, there's just this part in the book wherein Liz (Elizabeth Gilbert) saw herself in the mirror of her workplace's elevator. For some reason, she didn't recognize her reflection as herself but as one of her good friends. She stepped closer to the reflection and smiled, eventually realizing that it was actually her.

I realized that I seldom see myself as a friend. Although, I regularly get in touch with my thoughts and feelings through journal writing and contemplation, I still thought that it was difficult to see myself as two separate beings (without being mistaken for having a psychiatric disorder.) However, when I read that part, I felt that it's possible and befriending myself is something which I actually need.

I know that for years, I've not been that good to myself. I get guilty easily and most often than not, unnecessarily. When things involving me go wrong, I feel like I am responsible for it. I often think that if it's not something I did, it's probably something I didn't do. I even get ashamed of myself over little things. I always think, "I could have done it better, or didn't do something like that at all." I often scold myself and get angry at myself. For me, it's always about other people. I'd tell myself, "Forget me, I can do something about it. But other people? They don't know everything about you, so they just react to what you say or do." 

This part of Elizabeth Gilbert's book made me realize that "loving myself" is one important thing I still haven't mastered despite the 22 years of constantly having myself as a company. If only I had realized this fully earlier, probably, I now have "Elaine" as one of my bestfriends. But it's just amazing to know that I can actually care about myself just like how I want to care about others; that it's possible to see myself as if I'm looking at somebody else; that I can say my name as dearly as I would state the name of the person I love, and; that I can feed, bathe and dress myself while thinking, "I don't want Elaine to go hungry; she might get an ulcer," or "I'm going to wash sweat and dirt off of Elaine's skin and put a nice fitting pajama on her, so she'll have a goodnight's sleep," or "I want Elaine to look presentable, so she'll feel confident about herself," or "I want Elaine to be at her best, so she could reach her dreams." 

Funny this may seem but I hope that someday, when I see myself in a mirrored wall just like Liz, I wouldn't just smile at my reflection but run to her for a hug.