"You are beautiful and wonderful and special, and those things are all true all the time."
"You're a bad-ass!"
"Your poems rock as much as you do!"
"You are perfect just the way you are."
They said it; I didn't. They must have meant it at the time. Maybe it is actually still true, even though these people are not saying these kinds of things to me anymore. (And maybe, just maybe, they still think them even though they are not saying them.) I know I said a lot of similar things about them, which probably are still true (although I hate to admit it right at the moment). In an article entitled "Love Lessons," Martha Beck writes:
The really potent part of love is that it allows you to carry around beliefs about yourself that make you feel special, desirable, precious, innately good. To graduate from Heartbreak Academy, you have to learn that neither your ex-beloved nor the fact of being in love invested you with these qualities. Your lover couldn't have seen them in you, even temporarily, if they weren't part of your essential being.
I've been reading a lot of self-help literature these past few months (actually, my intake of the genre has increased markedly since October 2007). Most of the authors who really speak to me emphasize a lot of the same things, including the importance of letting yourself believe the good things you felt about yourself while you were in the sweet, cushiony-soft center of an intimate relationship, even after you've been soundly ejected into the mucky, foul-smelling, thorn-riddled Slough of Despond (aka Breakupland). It makes a lot of sense. Truly absorbing it emotionally is, of course, another matter entirely.