Self-love

The overarching theme of every time I’ve been to therapy is that I need to develop self-love. I have a negative self-image and low self-esteem that are feed a lot of my anxiety and depression. I tend to blame myself for anything and everything that goes wrong or is disappointing. I need external validation for anything positive and when I get it, I rationalize why it’s not really positive instead of accepting it. It is very unbalanced and exacerbates all my worries and fears and sadness.

Simply put, self-love is loving yourself. Sounds pretty simple, right?

To me it sounds inherently selfish. I always feel so selfish anyway so I don’t want to be even more selfish. Or at least that’s what I think about when I try to love myself more. It’s a little twisted, I guess. Loving yourself shouldn’t be a selfish act or if it is, it is a good one.

Logically I must love myself to some extent because I don’t wish myself ill. I don’t want bad things to happen to me. I have a vested interest in myself. Maybe I just like myself a bit. I allow feeling that I’m a kind, objective and funny person. For the most part, those are really the only positives I associate with myself.

I don’t really feel love for myself. Do others really love themselves? I default to believing I am not really worthy of love and that most of the time I’m merely tolerated. I believe my family has to love me, it’s just part of the deal. I mostly believe my friends when they say they love me but I think of it as temporary and at any moment I will do or say something that will make them not love me anymore. I see myself as unlovable, a burden, difficult, annoying, obnoxious, selfish, negative, etc, etc. It’s only a matter of time before I am too much and just not worth the effort anymore.

Wow, that was hard to type. Does that mean I really do or really don’t believe what I wrote? I don’t know.

I feel so certain about my feelings for others. I think it is crap that you can’t love others before you love yourself because I deeply and truly love many people. Family and friends, they are in my heart, my heart chose to love them and it is as simple as that. And I won’t just all of a sudden stop loving them no matter what they say or do.

So why is it so hard to believe I’m lovable? I need others to show me and tell me to remind me to believe that they love me and they haven’t stopped yet. I imagine that is quite burdensome for them.

Do I have to tell and show myself that I love myself in order to actually start loving myself? It seems backwards but in many therapy sessions from different therapists they emphasize saying in front of a mirror that I love myself both inside and out.

I find it easier to say I love myself inside even though I am still working on believing it. I find it incredibly difficult to say I love myself outside, especially with how my body has changed over the last 7 years. Looking in a mirror when I say it, it is clear in my expression that I find it ridiculous to love what I see.

So all of this said, it is common to pick a word for the year when the new year starts and for 2018 I’m going to pick self-love and really work on loving myself inside and out. Wish me luck since so far in my lifetime I’ve only gotten as far as self-like-ish of my insides.

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