You Don't Need To Love Yourself First
I hear a lot of us follow a certain quote that goes a little something like: "We must love ourselves first, before somebody could ever love us back", and I find that to be very intimidating, and frankly, untrue. That saying makes you feel as if you are on a time crunch, and if you don't hurry up and start loving yourself soon, no one is ever going to give us the time of day to love us how we so badly want to be loved. Nothing is more scary than struggling with self image issues, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and then trying to find one singular thing we actually enjoy about ourselves, let alone worrying about how other people perceive us in the first place.
So why do I find this quote to be such a bother? Because I've learned how to love myself by somebody else loving me before I could, and I want you to know that you don't have to wait for you to love yourself first, because it's way too damn hard when we are already deeply struggling.
I've been in the same nourishing relationship for six years now, and I remember how hard it was for me to love him back in the first few months of us dating, when I didn't love myself. I was afraid of someone loving me when I felt so lost. I struggled, and let's be frank, I still struggle sometimes with deeply rooted body issues, depression, anxiety and my realtionship with food.
I'm not telling you to go get a boyfriend or girlfriend so they can help you fix your problems, and it's 100% possible to learn how to love yourself without someone else, but I want to let you know that it's absolutely okay, to not be okay, to ask for the help, and to allow your heart to be vulnerable to a family member, a friend, and maybe even a significant other. You will find someone who so badly wants to invest in you and they will treasure your transparency- and maybe that person is also yourself, you just need time. We are not on the same clock.
I've considered myself to be independent ever since I was a little girl, but my independence got in the way of me being able to be vulnerable with somebody who only wanted to embrace me. Independence and self love are not synonyms, but I find it to be a strength, a safe space, a support system and an interconnection. Without my independence, I wouldn't have been able to eventually break apart some layers and allow him to wrap onto my heart. You see, when we lack a sense of independence, we lack defensive layers. You might not feel like you're an independent person, but I promise you're more independent than you think, especially if you have always carried a guard over your soul. If you don't think you're independent enough, okay, there's always ways that can be strengthened, but remember that those who struggle with self worth, have already learned how to lean on their own chains.
Being an independent person is one of the single most important qualities to have as you take on this fast paced world. We have to remember that even though we are struggling right now, we have one body, and one chance at this current lifetime, and if we can have our independence, we have all the chances in the world to succeed- and some examples of success should be our health, internal peace and contentment. We are all on different paths in our life, and more often than not, we have to be alone with ourselves for a while to just understand where we really stand, we have to have reluctance, but you absolutely don't have to love yourself way before someone else can.
"They continued to love me when I expressed to them about my quirky things, my dark self reflections and my horrible habits, and in response to everything that was told, they said to me: I love you as certain dark things need to be loved in secret, and even though you see this differently, I'm here to hold you until you want to let me go."
Ever since I was young I struggled with depression, anxiety, body image issues and my overwhelming relationship with food, as mentioned earlier. To be honest, I still have my days, and that's completely normal in the healing process.
You're also probably waiting for me to tell you some magical words that Caleb spoke to me that just instantly allowed me to learn how to love myself, but none of that is evident. The truth is that Caleb has always been my rock, my spine. He's always been there, and sometimes in the shadows because he understands my limits and when I just need to be alone. He's always told me that everything I hate about myself, is what he loves, and it doesn't matter what I think I look like, or maybe I eventually will turn out to be with age, he's going to be there and the rest is up to me. He gives me hard truths. He tells me that I need to do whatever it is that will make me happy, and that's the simplest, and easiest response I didn't know I ever needed.
So just do what I need to do to be happy? That's it? Well, yeah.
With slow time, I have been able to focus. While I'm only speaking for myself, I needed him to tell me that, and I needed to come to terms with myself RIGHT NOW. Because back then, that "RIGHT NOW", was the darkest place I've ever been in, and I knew that with him holding up all of my bones, I was able to reach some light and this is where I stand today. If I was going to give you cheesy life changing advice that you might be longing for, it's to only look at life as the glass half full, and never empty.
It's up to us how we choose to react and become. What I have come to realize is that when we don’t try so hard to fix everything, those things seem to fix themselves, and when we don't try so hard to fix everything by ourselves, those things tend to be fixed by the aid of others.