Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why You're Not Married Yet: You Hate Yourself (chapter 7)

Welcome to chapter seven of Tracy McMillan's book, Why You're Not Married...Yet.  This week, we learn that we all hate ourselves.  Unless we're Kate Middleton.  I swear it's not too late to check the book out yourself-- you have a week to get to chapter eight and start following along with us!  

A Single Girl's Perspective (20 LA Wannabe)
Again we have another provocative chapter title. Instead of “You Hate Yourself” maybe it could instead have been “You Have Some (More) Issues To Work Out,” or hey, how about a positive one like “Learn To Love Yourself And You’ll Find Love.” But I suppose this is just a tangent to keep me from actually writing about the chapter, so here we go!


McMillan starts off by telling us that self-hate is one of the ultimate saboteurs in a relationship and that it usually either lies dormant or disguises itself. How do you ask? Instead of thinking “I hate myself” we usually tend to displace the hate or negative feelings onto other people- especially men we date. We think that they aren’t good enough for us when we really feel like we aren’t good enough for anyone, and we then in turn reject men. Women (I’m assuming she means all people but she never really discusses if men have these same “self-hate” issues) who hate themselves walk around thinking that they are deserving of all of these things we want e.g. perfect job, house, boyfriend/husband but none of it ever materializes for us like it does for others and we don’t know why. 

This is where my eyes widened. Wait, did McMillan just throw some shade my way and basically tell me that I hate myself? Lately I’ve felt stuck and very frustrated about my career situation. Objectively, some of my career is out of my control but I feel stuck in all areas of my life. But I don’t think I hate myself. But McMillan sure thinks I do. I probably just don’t realize I hate myself. While I dislike certain aspects of my life I think that once again, these broad definitions can be more harmful than helpful for women. Now I’m completely overanalyzing every thought I have wondering if it’s secretly a thought or feeling of dormant self-hate. But let’s continue. 

She really starts integrating men into this issue by suggesting that women take 100% responsibility for the men who are (or are not in some cases) in her life. We attract and accept certain types of men and if we want to know what we really think about ourselves, she suggests that we look at patterns of all of the men we have had in our life. Can this be a useful exercise? Absolutely. But 100% total responsibility for all of the men in our life? She isn’t taking into account that some men are totally manipulative or even psychopaths. Do you think that Oscar Pistorious’s deceased girlfriend thought she was dating a cold-blooded killer? Or that people that are married to men who have raped other women bring this on themselves through self-hate? 

McMillan’s theory is a nice sound-byte but that’s pretty much all it is. But how do women that hate themselves change? Her biggest suggestion is to “fire your ego” and then reminds us that self-love and self-esteem are two different things. The latter being the one where we think we look hot in our jeans and the former is when we are kind to ourselves. Through self-love we should treat ourselves as a parent would treat us. I know a lot of people that wouldn’t be using any self-love if they followed that example. 

She also tells us that we need to know that we need to change and advises that anytime we have a self-hating thought enter our heads we just say “I love you to ourselves.” 

I agree that sometimes the things we think about ourselves will keep us from a relationship. But most of the time, don’t those insecurities stem from past relationships? I once had a guy tell me that I was clingy and another guy in my past actually told me I wasn’t “girlfriend material” this by the way as we were smoking pot in his fifth floor walk-up while his Mom was watching TV outside and he insulted my shirt, which is neither here nor there. But I didn’t hate myself. He put those ideas in my head. 

While McMillan does have some good info in this chapter I say take it with a grain of salt. Because some of it is way too over analytical. And that time could be better spent working out so we can look good in those jeans.  

A Married Girl's Perspective (Saaara) 
Part of me agreed a lot with McMillan in this chapter and part of me wanted to throw the book right in her face.  Don't worry.  It would only be the paperback edition, I'm not crazy (see chapter four.) 

Speaking of cray-cray, here's what's starting to drive me a little nuts about this book.  The advice feels a little all over the place and every so often, Tracy seems to contradic herself.  Basically, her main point is that all the self-hate we have prevents us from meeting good men.  We need to take full responsiblity for the kind of men we let into our lives.  True enough.  Nothing too offensive there, right?  I've definitely known a few people who've sought out dudes that are beneath them, because they just don't think they deserve better. 

But NOW, apparently, even when you pursue a guy that's out of your league, you also hate yourself. According to McMillan...wanting a guy who's better than you is tied to all the things you think are lacking in yourself.  She uses her friend Jasmine as an example and explains that Jasmine isn't married, because she's seeking men that are the Apple computer equivalent of dudes when she's the Applebee's equivalent of women.  Hold up.  I think I know why Jasmine might hate herself.  She's friend with people that consider her to be as good as Applebee's...which is basically one of the most mediocre restaurant chains ever. 

I'm not saying McMillan's advice isn't useful.  I think I just have advice fatigue.  And I'm reading this as a curious married person.  I can't imagine how much my head would be spinning and how overwhelmed I would feel if I was single.  I wish McMillan would be a little more sensible with her advice and point out that chicks that are married don't have all the answers either.  Most of us met our significant others due to random luck and good timing, we didn't have half this book figured out.   And sadly, even after you're married that voice of self-doubt (or self-hatred as McMillan calls it) doesn't go away.  I don't have kids, but I'm going to guess that the voice gets even louder when you become a mother.   For me, that voice is the most chatty when it comes to my career.  Well, according to my girl Tracy, every time your inner-voice says something negative, you should respond by saying you love yourself.  So, for example: when my inner-voice says "you suck at writing" I simply need to respond with: I love you, Saaara.  Weirdly, I'm kind of into this and I'm going to put it into practice.  If the same methods are supposed to help bring better men into our lives, then I'm hoping it'll help on the career front too. 

Finally, what I found most offensive was the entire passage devoted to Kate Middleton and how we should all take a page from her book.  Why?  Because she loves herself enough to keep her cool.  She waited all those years for William to marry her and she never publicly embarrassed herself in the process.  That's cause she knew that if William never came around, it would be okay, because she's awesome and loves herself no matter what.  This bothers me on a few different levels.  #1 There's always the assumption that women are just tapping their foot, waiting for the guy to propose.  Maybe it wasn't a matter of her being patient and cool, but a matter of her just not being ready.  #2 If I'm wrong about my first point, how do we know that she didn't just wear William down in private?  How do we know she didn't just save the crazy and neurotic for when they were alone?  I mean, how many of us have really lost our shit in public-- and we don't even have to worry about paparazzi, etc.  #3 Don't you think the whole "playing it cool" thing was probably pre-meditated and all part of her master plan?  So maybe she's actually just an evil genius.  #4 Wait.  Are we supposed to act like Kate Middleton or are we supposed to come to terms with the fact that we are Applebee's?  I'm so confused. PS I love Kate Middleton

Until next week when we read chapter 8: YOU'RE A LIAR. 

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