It’s a simple phrase that’s used often, “Learn to love yourself.” How can something that seems so easy, be so complicated? How can you learn how do something, when you don’t even know , that you aren’t doing it? The word love is simply not taught to us, it’s mostly expressed to us.
I don’t believe that self-love comes down to our will-power, but more an honest intimacy with ourselves. It’s easy to not know or understand our own value because we believe what we are told or what other people make us feel. Sometimes it’s hard to know yourself, enough to love yourself. It’s easy because most of us aren’t working on a relationship with ourselves, we are working on relationships with other people.
I was having a conversation with some friends the other day and “love” was the topic. It amazed me how much we put ourselves through, for love. But my most astonishing thought came later that night when I was alone journaling.
How do you know how to love yourself, when you don’t know how to be loved?
I know that might sound a bit ridiculous. In some aspects it is, in other ways it isn’t. Love is not expressed by everyone the same. There is no, one size fits all. Emotions are sensitive. There are tender parts in each of us that hide. We don’t expose them easily, if at all. What we don’t realize is that…
Emotions speak louder than words. They are the reason we lack self-control. Our emotions tend to control our daily activities in both good and bad ways. When we are feeling good we are more productive and when we aren’t feeling our best we lack energy or willingness to do things. At times, our emotions for other people are stronger than our emotions with our selves.
To me self-love means being honest with yourself about the things that make you the most happy and uncomfortable. It’s giving to yourself what you want from other people. How we feel about ourselves is what we accept from other people. The worst part is that when someone might treat us better than we treat ourselves, we question their motives! However, when others treat us how we feel, we don’t blink an eye. Now how crazy is that??!! Part of learning to love yourself is actually accepting who you really are. Deep inside when no one is looking. Embracing the good, bad, and the ugly.
Another part of loving yourself is learning to trust and forgive yourself. For me, this was the hardest. When my life began to really change, I thought I was learning how to love myself. I had finally learned to put myself first. It wasn’t until recently, that I realized I needed to do way more than just that. I needed to learn how to love myself and how to let someone else love me.
I’ve said it before in my blog, depression has a way of making you feel unworthy – of anything. Learning to change this mindset is so much harder than most people can begin to understand. While I don’t consider myself to be depressed anymore. I still struggle with a lot of negative self talk. That is a problem. I honestly did not know how to treat myself like I treated other people. I didn’t know how to love my body when I looked into the mirror. I didn’t know how to believe in myself, like I did other people. I didn’t know how to feel proud of myself. I didn’t know how to feel like I was good enough. I didn’t know how to trust myself. There were a lot of things that I didn’t know I wasn’t doing for myself and what’s worse? I didn’t know how to do it because I’ve never felt or experienced those things anywhere else before.
It’s sad that we basically seek permission from someone else (a person we find important or care about a lot) to begin to treat ourselves like we are special. It took me a long time to realize that a lot of the poor choices I have made were because I wanted to feel better, about myself. I needed someone else’s approval, happiness, acceptance, and attention to feel good. I didn’t feel worthy of love… yet I gave my love away to other people and continued to be mean to myself.
I don’t think I have ever fully felt loved. Ever. I don’t know how to let someone love me either out of fear. My biggest fear isn’t being loved, it’s being abandoned. I somehow feel responsible that my shitty parents left me as a child. That my ex-husband wasn’t there for me during the loss of our child or when I was so sick I feared death. I’m scared of needing any one or depending on them because they leave. So many things like this… have kept me from feeling like I deserved to be love. I never felt like I was enough or maybe I was just too much. Regardless, love is not something I am very familiar with. I know I’m not the only one. So when you don’t know what love truly feels like, it’s hard to give it to yourself. Words don’t do justice to the emotions of that sentence. It’s hard to be intimate with ourselves to understand our emotions and why we are feeling the way we are feeling, to learn how to do something about it.
Sometimes we go from loving ourselves to forgetting how to. Sometimes we lose our self-worth due to life and changes. It gets lost somewhere. I find this to be true when we forget who we are from trying to please someone else and then they hurt us in one form or another. Their love and happiness becomes where we attach our worth too and when something happens to that connection, we feel lost.
Most of us have walls we have built to protect our hearts… But we don’t have anything to protect our thinking from ourselves. It’s our own thoughts that can be the most damaging. What we say secretly to ourselves. Our fears, doubts, and so on. It’s what we feel inadequate and guilty about that we are the most sensitive about. Nobody truly wants to come face to face with their raw edges.
We are all only human. We are not perfect. Pain is pain, wrong is wrong, and what’s right, is right. I believe the universe is always responding with our vibrations and energy. We each need to learn to nurture ourselves. I’m still learning how to love and accept myself. I’m still learning how to give myself permission to have a life I want for myself and children. It’s not easy to always be kind to myself, to feel worthy of love – from myself or from others.
Self-love is a journey. It’s an adventure. It’s something that requires work and effort. You have to get to know yourself. Learning who you are and finding your value is essential to having a happy and meaningful life. It doesn’t matter where you come from, how lost you are, or how broken you are. You deserve to be happy, to feel accepted, to be proud, and to be loved. Understand that results on this journey will not come right away, it takes time. It isn’t just the results we need to worry about but who we are becoming along the way. Once you make a decision to focus on your mental, physical, and emotional health you will see your world change. I hope if you haven’t started this journey, that today you will start today. I want you to know that I think we are all beautiful. I’m learning to love flaws more than perfection in people and myself everyday.