I am sure you have all heard the idiom in some phrase or way.
“You have to love yourself before you can love others.”
“You have to love yourself before others can love you.”
Whichever way you paint it, its bullshit.
Not all of us are able to love ourselves. I have been working my entire life to achieve this seemingly unattainable goal of “loving myself”. . . because if I don’t who would? This has made life fucking miserable and unnecessarily hard.
I am currently abandoning the idea that I need to love myself. I don’t know if/when loving myself will happen or how it will happen, or if it is even possible. Until then I am learning to let other people love me. Learning to accept love, accept that people love me because of who I am not in despite of who I am. Especially when it comes to things I can’t change about myself like my physical disabilities, my fatness, my queerness, my neurodivergencies. I am allowed to be loved, and be loved as I am and for who I am. I am going to learn how to let other people love me.
This is a fucking game changer for me to be honest. I haven’t even got to the point where I fully believe the people who love me do love me. I still have my times of feeling like this will all be a joke. That I will be a joke. That people have before spent a lot of time and energy on me and I was still a joke, the relationship or whatever it was was a joke. I wasn’t worthy of love and affection. However even just believing them a little bit, believing sometimes that they do love me. Believing that I am loved and cared about even a fraction of the time, has drastically improved many aspects of my life.
That is what I have been told my entire life, that I am unworthy. Not worthy of love, care, attention, affection, accommodation or understanding. I wasn’t worthy of feeling safe, I wasn’t worthy of being loved or understood. I was always something to be fixed, to be made better. I had to change because I wasn’t good enough for the people around me. I have spent my whole life being told in large and small ways, by my “family”, friends, and strangers, that I need to be different. There is always something wrong with me and things that need to be fixed. Things that could be better about me.
I need to be changed and fixed and have extra things that are desirable cause if not then I have nothing. Every abuse, every trauma, every laugh, every hateful word, shaped my entire existence to the point where I have self hatred in spades. I do not have self love. Since I can not love myself, since I can’t walk by a mirror without wanting to break it, since I cry myself to sleep hating every fiber of my being. Since I have been a self-harmer for over half my life, and just now stopped self harming for over 9 months. (Which is probably the longest I have ever gone.) I am going to stop trying to love myself. I probably won’t give up forever . . . although I make no promises, because fuck unrealistic expectations!
For now though, it is a smarter tactic for my continued survival to stop trying to love myself. At this time in my life it is unrealistic and an impossible feat. I need to learn that other people can love me. I need to learn that I can be loved, that I can be cared about. I want to focus my energy on people who tell me they love me and why. I want to focus on their words, their actions which lift me up, which make me feel warm fuzzies. The words and actions that give me space butterflies. The things that make me feel like I could be myself, that I don’t have to hide. The things that feel so indescribably good.
I already listen to other people when it comes to a myriad of other things about me because my troll brain, my anxiety brain, and my self hatred will not let me see a clear image of myself. Everything I see about myself is distorted, and warped, and smudged, and dirty, and cloudy. Every part of me is covered in the hand prints of trauma, the smudges of self hatred and the scars of hash words from others as well as the ones my brain continually throws into my brain and life.
The loudest parts of my head are the self hatred, the parts of me that know that everyone else would just be better off if I wasn’t around. Those parts lie. I know that because I have many people who have told me how I am kind, nice, caring, compassionate. I am sweet, I love fully, I trust maybe too much, I care, I really fucking care about and I really fucking love other people. I try to help, I try to be safe, for other people because they are worth that. Since I can that is what I always try to give to others. Since I can’t give it to myself.
So since I give this to others, that means I think other people are worthy of these things. Being loved, without having to love themselves, heck loving people especially when they don’t love themselves. That is what I am going to let others do for me. I want to in small and big ways learn that others can and do love me. Really truly believe it one day. Instead of doubting everything and “what if”-ing myself into a spiral of sadness and depression so deep that climbing out takes days. Instead I am going to learn to hear these things and believe the people who say them too me.
I am loved I am worthy of love. I am worthy of love and affection, as who I am and not who others want me to be, or who I could become, or who I was. Who I am right now, right here, the me that has been crying all day, be it the self hatred that prompted this post, the breakdown I had this morning, the part of me that happy cried because I was told I was loved, loved for who I am, no in spite of these things that to me make me broken and unlovable. The things that people have told me that make me unlovable. Those things are here, and I am being loved because of them, because they are a part of me. All the parts of me make up the whole of me, and that whole of me. . . every single part; is loved, and can be loved. Not with ulterior motives, not with the intent of fixing me, or to mold me to something that is more suitable for whoever is giving the loving.
I am loved with no expectations, I am just loved, period. I have people in my life who just want me to be happy. Who have seen, and listened to my pain, and just want to give me good days, or a good few hours. I have people who love me so much, and care so much, that they really do just want what is best for me. It’s so fucking confusing and relieving and refreshing and confusing, wait I said that already. Right! It is confusing because I have been told my whole life that I have to love myself in order to love others and to be loved.
Well fuck all of that. I am going to let people love me, I am going to learn to let people love me better. I am going to learn and teach myself that I can be loved because of myself not despite of myself, or parts of me. I am going to learn and teach myself that I can be loved without loving myself. I don’t have to love me to be loved. I am going to learn and do better, like not arguing with them when they say they care of love me or find me sexy. I am not going to let my troll brain and my own self hatred push those who care about me away. I am going to learn to not add to my own isolation. I am going to keep on loving and being loved and I have high hopes for it being a huge positive direction for my life.
I am going to let this happen and let this be a positive change for me and for my life. I have spent too much of my life not being capable of letting other people love me. . . or at best having a REALLY fucking hard time with it. I want this to be like turning a new page. The chapter is over and we are moving on to the next one. This chapter is promising, and I am going to keep turning those pages and find out what happens next.
This should be a very good thing for me and for all of me. I am wondering what an impact this will have on everything from little to small things. Things like my relationships, things like my depression and various other things that can really get me angry and lash out. Trying to hurt people I care about which I HATE and I never want to do, but sometimes we do stuff even if we don’t want too. I don’t know if its parts of my trauma or maybe its a bipolar bit of me, maybe I just have anger issues even though I hate being angry. Maybe it is something entirely else. I need to be able to be loved without having to love myself. If that was a prerequisite for being loved that means that I have never been loved in my life.
That means that everything so far has not been anyone loving me cause I am incapable of being loved when I can not love myself. This is what we know for true if we are to believe the idioms above. Which we shouldn’t cause they are crap!
Why would I ever want to limit someone else in that capacity. Why would I ever want to tell someone who is hurting that they can not be loved because they don’t love themselves. That sounds like the worst kind of help or advice or solace I could give anyone. It is tragic and terrible to tell people who are hurting that they can not be who they are and be loved. Because sometimes for some of us part of ourselves is the fact that we do not love ourselves. Because that has been made hard if not impossible by the other people and the world around us. Do we never get to be loved because the world gave us a shit hand? I don’t think so. I certainly want that for no one I care about, which means that I too am worthy of love without loving myself.
I am worthy of love, and being loved even when I don’t love myself.
Especially when I don’t love myself.
You reading this, are worthy of love, even if you don’t love yourself.
Especially when you don’t love yourself.