Knowing how to love yourself can feel impossible. Even more so when you hate the crumb-tolerant doormat you’ve become – to fake friends, selfish partners, your boss, toxic family members, and most tragically… the cynical audience in your own head.
When I was in sixth grade, I signed my own yearbook in four different types of handwriting. I wrote notes to myself saying how much fun and amazing I was. I even included inside jokes and went on about sleepovers and fun memories that never existed. These notes were supposed to be from my really good/cool friends that went to another school.
The most heartbreaking was writing a note where I pretended to be a popular boy who wanted to date me.
Why did I do this?
Because it was the only way I could emotionally survive the reality of absolutely no one wanting me.
At that young age, lies, and creativity were the only way I could cope with my shame. The anxiety I would get when I had to ask one of my classmates to sign a yearbook that was totally blank (except for a few signatures and notes from teachers) was too much. All I ever wanted was to be wanted, accepted, beautiful, impressive, and enough. Five things that I never fully felt at home.
This behavior continued in many different ways as I got older. And because deep down, I knew how fake I was, I lost all respect for myself (which eventually, led to self-hate).
As long as you lack self-respect, you will never have respect for anyone who genuinely respects you. No matter how much you claim to want and deserve it.
We like to think that a lack of self-respect can coexist with, and even be extinguished by, an abundance of true love but it can’t.
If you don’t respect yourself, getting genuine love from another person will never feel “right.” It won’t feel nearly as valuable as getting disrespectful attention from people who are just as incapable of genuinely loving themselves.
Knowing how to love yourself is not hard.
Self-love is nothing more than consistently having your own back because you regard yourself as a person of value.
It’s about gaining confidence from your ability to act on how worthwhile you know you are.
It’s about understanding that anyone who makes you feel worthless does so because they can’t tap into their own worth.
The hard part is not self-love. You came into this world loving yourself and thinking that you were more than enough. The hard part is having to cut through all of the hate that’s accumulated for an adult that you don’t like, love, or respect.