I am trying to think back to my formative years when I started to realize that actually loving yourself really does matter. I didn’t grow up in a nourishing household most likely because both of my parents were abused, but I can say without bitterness that they really did the best that they knew how. I didn’t feel loved and I didn’t really know how to foster self-love. I guess that it finally occurred to me that I needed to at least pretend to love myself (perhaps faking myself out – “faking it until making it”) at about the age of 15, or else I would never have a chance at a happy or healthy life. I’d had a crush on someone for about a year and when I finally reached out to him I was rejected. I was rejected with good reason – I was underage and he was about 10 years older! I of course was too immature to understand that and I took it personally. After a time of being a depressed raging ball of self-pity I literally woke up one day and decided I wasn’t going to live that way anymore. I made a decision to work on loving myself and it did feel very foreign and false at first but I literally did fake it until I made it.
Through the years with the end of each abusive relationship, or mutual ending of friendships where we had simply outgrown each other, I have found it harder and harder to pick back up and claw my way back onto the Self Love Train. Despite this I know that having love and respect for myself is a must ( even if at first it feels like fake fluffy bullshit), and here are just a few reasons why.
If you have little or no love for yourself you will get ecstatically excited when someone comes along and pays some attention to you; you soak up this attention the way SpongeBob soaks up seawater. Going with the water theme here… when you begin to see some red flags or your intuition starts gnawing at your soul then you pray that you are just being paranoid and hope that you are wrong. But most likely you almost never address the issues (at least not for a while) because you are too afraid of rocking the boat. As things progress further down the spiral you slowly begin to realize you are in a situation that isn’t healthy: perhaps you are being emotionally tortured, or you’re being lied to, or cheated on or even physically abused.
Even when finally you get to the point to where you don’t care about rocking the boat anymore and you express your issues, you still find yourself holding on because you feel that person’s “love” is all you will ever get and the best that you could ever hope to achieve. Perhaps you get some “future faking” or empty promises when issues are addressed from said partner but no real change ever occurs. But instead of leaving and ending it you just keep holding on and hoping on… therefore holding the abuser accountable for nothing. And the vicious cycle continues.
Lack of self-love doesn’t just affect that area though. Perhaps you settle for a job that you don’t really like at all but just suffer through it because you feel too unintelligent, unattractive (or whatever) to try for anything more. Or maybe you love your job but you never try for that promotion that you feel you deserve because you feel no one else would think you deserve it. Perhaps you settle for a wardrobe that doesn’t fit your personality at all just because you feel you don’t have the right body type. A life with no love for yourself really is only a half-life at best.
These are the things that I have to keep at the front of my own mind as I am learning all over again to get to know myself and to fake out loving myself once again as I am recovering from the latest recycled abusive relationship with my ex husband. My go to negative thought process screams, “Nodody would ever be interested in a twice divorced single mom of three kids.”
Perhaps there is truth to that statement or perhaps there isn’t. The only way that I could hope to achieve self love once again is to reprogram that kind of thought process. I have done it before. I just have to find my way there again.