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The Truth About "Loving" Yourself

Updated on August 3, 2017
Isa Ostrovsky profile image

Isa is an Ecuadorian American who speaks English, Spanish, Quechua, Russian, and is learning Swedish. She hopes to live in Sweden one day!

Before We Begin

I may sound like a know-it-all jerk by the time you are done reading. And I don't blame you. I know everyone is different. You may not even agree with a word I say. Perhaps I'm being a condescending and self-righteous twenty-year old who thinks she has all the answers.

I don't have all the answers. Just saying.

But what I can offer, is a fresh way to look at things. Something that will make you think. You clicked on this with reason, did you not? There's something you're seeking for, and I want to do my best to help you out now. May my words deliver you strength.

I May Know Why You're Here

You may not know what you're doing with your life. You may not think you're pretty or handsome enough for this world. You may feel lost. You may feel like the ugliest person alive, inside and out. You may feel like you're losing yourself.

I know those kinds of feelings, and I have searched for answers. How do I fix feeling this way? I asked myself.

"Isn't it obvious?" Voices around me said. "Love yourself. You must love yourself, and then everything will be okay." "Love yourself, or else no one else will be able to love you."

...Huh?

Please tell me this then, since I obviously still don't get it to this day. What does that mean? What does that even mean to "love yourself?" Do you know? Does anyone out there really know?

Why "Loving Yourself" Isn't So Simple

There's a reason I couldn't figure out how to "love myself." Because the feeling was unknown to me. You see, the only thing I knew about myself was how much I hated and disliked myself. Because that's all I knew...how much I hated myself.

Hate is such a strong word, no matter what language. I know this. I speak five.

But what else could I do? When that was the only feeling I knew?

__

I could not force "love" onto myself. Because even if I tried to find things I "loved" about myself, I'd just end up feeling so... empty.

It just doesn't work that way.

And unfortunately, there are people out there who just won't get it.

But Keep Others in Your Mind

Don't completely disregard the people around you. They are sensitive and are easily affected to a change in the mood and the vibes you give off. This means that when you project positive vibes, people feel happier around you. And when you project negative vibes, people feel sadder around you. But this is all because they care about you. When you're feeling good, they feel good. When you feel bad, they feel bad. Get it?

So the "how can people love you if you don't love yourself" saying is nonsense.

This saying just makes it sound like there aren't people who already cared about you from the beginning; that you must turn a 180 to be accepted or validated. That is far from the case.

What it really is, is that people just won't know what to do when they're caught off guard with strong and negative emotions. You have to understand how that is scary for them. I get how that may translate to you becoming a burden or something, but also remind yourself that emotions can be heavy..and there is nothing wrong with feeling things. My belief is that the people who "won't love you"...are really just people who are worried. They are scared they won't be any help to you. That doesn't mean that they don't care about you any less.

That does mean that there's a bit more work for you to do. But trust me, I think it's better this way, believe it or not.

The Truth

"Isa, how on earth is it better this way?" you may ask. But please don't think Im a lunatic just yet. Let me explain: It's better this way because there will be no one else who can do this specific thing of I'm about to tell you, but YOU.

And that specific thing I'm about to tell you? Sure, here goes:

I don't think you should try to "love" yourself. Yes, you read that correctly... I don't think you should try to "love yourself." But instead, try to forgive yourself.

Maybe you saw this one coming, or maybe you didn't. But I believe that everything has never been so much about you "loving" yourself, but rather forgiveness.

I'm not at all suggesting for you to think "I forgive my parents for giving me an ugly nose." or "I forgive myself for being such a dumb person" or something like that. That's not what I'm trying to get at at all.

But rather, forgive yourself about being so hard on yourself. It's tiring, to be so critical of yourself, to look everyday in the mirror and think terrible thoughts, don't you think? Forgive yourself for not thinking you're beautiful. Forgive yourself for ever thinking you weren't good enough to win that award. Forgive yourself for thinking that you're never going to make someone happy.

Our bodies and our mental health are so precious--we need to be kinder to ourselves, and we need to apologize to ourselves for the destructive thoughts that seep into our minds sometimes.

But, I already said it before and I'll say it again: to do this, must come from you. No one has power over your mind but you. You are the only one who can do this.

Now, I don't say any of this to promise you that miracles will happen, and that life will be perfect from now on. But..

..still go on forgiving yourself. And slowly but surely, it will give the strength and the courage you need to keep moving forward. So keep your head up and look up at the sky, my dear.

And don't you dare try looking down at yourself again.

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