It is easier to tell everyone they deserve love but it is more difficult to believe you deserve it too, and even harder to understand you ought to be the first source of your own love.
You’re allowed to hold people accountable for the love they bring to you. You are allowed to call them out for their hurtful words. To walk away when they cannot see value in you. Self-love is community responsibility. So don’t be afraid to tell people they don’t know how to love you, that their love is hurting you. As Oprah said, Hold them accountable for the energy they bring in your space.
Learn to forgive your parents if they are the source of your insecurities. Forgive them if even in their greatest love and best intentions, they were your first bullies. As you grow older you will come to understand that as much as they want to, parents don’t know it all. Let them come down from that heroic pedestal, and let them be flawed humans. Maybe now you can teach them how to love you properly.
Someone will fall madly in love with you. They will tell you. They will make grand declarations. It will be what you’ve always wanted to hear. yet you will feel nothing but a knot in your chest, a moment of panic, immobilizing anxiety. it’s imposter syndrome. You feel you don’t belong there in someone’s heart, someone who believes you are made of their wildest, deepest, boldest, quietest dreams. You won’t be quite sure how to let yourself be loved because you still feel unworthy. You still cannot believe that someone chose you on purpose. You can barely stand yourself so why is this person saying they love you? You believe they must be lying or delusional. That is the insidious trap of self-loathing. You are longing for someone to love you yet are unable to believe you deserve that which you are yearning for. Their love will challenge the difficult, horrible, yet comfortingly familiar long-held belief that you are unlovable. Stop. Breathe. Surrender. Let yourself be loved. Let yourself deserve it. allow yourself to believe that in all of your flaws, your stumbling attempts to love yourself, your wounds, your fears, there exists a person who wants all of you. All of you exactly as you are this very minute
On the other hand, you might seek out relationships that give you the self-fulfilling prophecy wherein you believe you are undeserving of healthy, beautiful, uplifting love. you will find yourself in a relationship with someone who mistreats you, dismisses you, demeans you, ignores you. Please darling, gather yourself and run. because you are made of all the stars in the cosmos. There is so much of you to love. Believe it enough to walk away.
You can only give what you have, and if you don’t have anything for yourself, loving someone else will always be exhausting for you are giving from an empty well. So think of your quest to self-compassion and self-love as a service not only to you, but to those whom you love. Fill up the well from which you will take to give others.
As your self-love and self compassion grows, you will become more tolerant of people who do not fit your standards of aesthetics. you will begin to understand that people do not owe you their beauty and ought to be allowed to exist, thrive, be loved and respected on their own terms. If this hasn’t happened yet, check with yourself and pay attention to the vocabulary you use in describing others. Is there a sense of entitlement to what their body should look like? Hold yourself accountable.
Self-love is a life-long, committed and deliberate love. That means you will need to wake up every day and make the conscious decision to choose to love you. especially on days when you don’t feel like it. On the days when you feel frustrated, exasperated, sad, confused. those are the days when you most have to be on purpose, compassionate, kind and patient with yourself. Choose you every single day, especially on days you feel you least deserve it.
Beauty is a poor standard by which to measure your self worth. I know it is quite popular today to tell everyone they are beautiful and while this is true, physical attraction is a one-dimensional storyline for who you are, even in reference to your body. Learn to see value in other things your body can do. it’s resilience, it’s ability to heal, the way it is built to always fight for your survival, its willingness to adapt and push the boundaries. Your body is a powerful organic machine. Rediscover your value outside of beauty and desire (but don’t neglect that either). There is so much of you that is a wonder to behold.
Your self-loathing is really, actually, self-love. Misguided love, but still love. Think about it. While you might have developed an eating disorder, excessive exercise, a penchant for self-deprecating comments, knowing how to leave before you’re left, deep down inside all of this effort is because you know you deserve to be loved. Only, we’ve been conditioned to believe it is a love that must be earned only by seeking to attain unattainable standards of beauty. So if right now you cannot find it in yourself to say any kind words about your body, have some compassion for your self-loathing. Know that the love which you feel you cannot muster up right now is already there, hidden in all the grimaces you make when you catch your reflection in the mirror, When you flinch in shame at a lover’s touch, When you refuse to take a compliment. Feel that longing buried beneath all that heartache, and understand that you already know you deserve love. It is no easy feat to undo years of conditioning. so maybe today and many some other days in the future, the best you will be able to do is to be compassionate and forgiving for not being able to love yourself. Give yourself permission to just have that be enough. Have some compassion for your lack of self-love. If that is all you can do right now, let it be enough.