I don’t love myself. I’m not even sure that I like myself. Most days I hate myself. I hate everything that I’ve become and everything that I’m not. I thought that coming out would be the final key in the self-acceptance process. I thought that accepting that I’m gay would make everything better. I was dead wrong. It wasn’t even the beginning. Depression, anxiety, and self-doubt are all qualities that affect me on a daily basis. Inadequacy is a feeling that drives every decision. Not strong enough. Not smart enough. Not good enough. I’m not sure what loving myself feels like or would feel like. I’ve never felt it.
I’ve often complained about not being in a relationship or having someone to care about you and the first words that people tell you are “you need to love yourself first”. What does that mean? What does loving yourself look like? Everyone says that you need to love yourself, but they don’t tell you how to do it. My greatest pride and joy in life is being a good, selfless person. The greatest downfall in my life is being a good, selfless person. At the end of the day it’s the selfless person that tends to get hurt. You put so much out into the world that doesn’t get returned and you feel worthless. Why does no one recognize the work you put in? Then you start questioning whether you are even worthy of love. Why should they love me? I am nothing.
Not loving yourself means that you often can’t believe the good things that others say about you. You can’t accept compliments. I’ve heard numerous times how smart I am, how funny I am, how my smile lights up a room. There’s just one problem. I don’t believe them. If I were really all of those things then I would have a boyfriend or friends who make the first move and wanted to be around me. If I were all of those things then I wouldn’t feel like crap everyday. It all comes back to insecurity and not loving myself. A secure person doesn’t need validation to know their worth as a person.
Abandonment is the largest struggle. The fear of being alone and left stranded on the side of the road is real and painful. When you constantly worry about people leaving you it’s hard to be a normal person. You are conscious of every move you make and sacrifice so much in order to not anger or upset the other person. You become a second priority and you teach yourself that your feelings are secondary to everyone elses. You are teaching yourself that you aren’t as important as the people you interact with on a daily basis. That’s not healthy. At the end of the day the only person that you have to rely on is yourself. I consider myself a people pleaser and convinced myself that it was a good thing. Why shouldn’t I try to make as many people as happy as possible? It sounds amazing. The answer is what results from the pleasing. You end up doing things that you don’t want to do, going places you don’t want to go, and hanging out with people that you can’t stand. You worry about people abandoning you when all you are doing is abandoning yourself.
Friendship is a two way street. Or it should be. In my case I put so much into my friends that it’s impossible for them to reciprocate. At the same time however I do much of the heavy lifting. I initiate the hangouts, the text messages, and the conversations. I think I’m doing the right thing, but the overbearing can make people leave. Relying on others to provide the love that you can’t provide yourself places stress on any friendship. One person can’t give you that. Several people can’t give you that. Only you can give yourself the love that you want, need, and deserve. Nothing great can happen until after you love yourself. It’s a process though and in this world of instant gratification that’s not an easy concept to reconcile with. That’s my struggle. How do you learn to love yourself while living your life? It’s not an easy answer.
All you can do is be yourself. Learning to love yourself is learning to accept yourself. This means understanding what you like about yourself and how you can use that to empower you. This means not taking crap from people because you think that you need them. You also have to look at who you wish you were. What qualities do you wish you had or think would make you better? I wish I could be more direct with people and say what’s on my mind. However, you can’t harp on what you wish you were. You have to embrace who you are in this moment and use that to go toward your goals. By focusing on the great things about you the love for yourself will grow. Being confident in what you have will bring out all of the qualities that you wished that you had.
In this process there will be rough days. There will be days where you feel worthless and tired. There will be days that you don’t want to go on, but you must. Nothing worth having comes easy so the work is hard. I’m just starting it. If something doesn’t work for you don’t do it. Don’t continue the cycle of being selfless. Right now is the most important time to be selfish. It’s hard because you are taught not to be selfish but you have to be in order to be the best person for yourself. It is in the dark times that we find the light and that light comes from within. So stand up for yourself and start being selfish. Start learning to love yourself so that eventually you can accept the greatness that life has prepared for you. Time to start healing and growing to be confident in yourself because that is the only way that you will love yourself. It’s worth it; you’re worth it.