Have you ever wondered how to go about learning how to love yourself? Some people never give it a second thought, while others spend their whole lives trying to master this coveted skill. Mastering themselves in their own mind and in their own lives is the goal.
I spent my entire life not loving myself, until very recently. Understand though, I didn’t even realize this until right before I started this journey, which was approximately 8-9 months ago. I’m glad I didn’t realize this at the time when it was happening, because how miserable would that have made me?
Someone, who is now very close to me, is the one who showed me that I was worth receiving love. I never before thought I mattered enough. That was a thought that was deep down inside, that you don’t see when just looking at yourself from the outside. You got to look and dig deeper. It was through them showing me I mattered, that made me want to look and dig deeper, thus beginning my journey. It was then I saw that I’d never really loved myself at all.
The “why” that made me feel as if I were UNLOVABLE and not worthy of receiving love doesn’t matter. The fact remained, however, that I DID feel this way and there had to be a way for me to change it.
People try to get help in therapy, for example, about specific reasons that led up to them not loving themselves. I believe that dealing with the root issue, (in this case, not loving yourself) and not focusing on the why’s and who’s will free you way sooner than trying to figure out “why” someone treated you bad, etc…
We can’t change others so that’s why I decided to focus on changing the way I felt about myself. That I could change but focusing on the why’s and who’s, I’d keep going around the same old mountain with no solutions.
Does this make sense?
On the outside, throughout my life, I thought I was loveable because I’m kind, empathetic, compassionate and thoughtful to others. So that’s why “it had to be my fault if someone didn’t love me, right”?
That was from years of negative thoughts about myself. I’m sure you have them to, huh? Only after being shown that I did matter, I realized I hadn’t ever loved ME. So, “why did I not love me?”, that was the question. I was going to find the answer, if it killed me.It was the least I could do for myself, after being so hard on myself for several years by thinking it was my fault for being unlovable. I was so cruel to myself and seeing that now frightens me that I abused myself so much. This is why so many who don’t love themselves fall into DOMESTIC VIOLENCE relationships or stop fighting for themselves and give in when faced with a narcissistic parent. Many also fall into addictions, trying to numb the feelings of inadequacy.
Knowing it deep down and not doing anything about it is self abuse in my book. So once I “knew” this, I hurriedly set myself on a path to change it. I deserved better treatment than that, especially from myself. You deserve it too!
One reason I wanted to learn this was because I was so tired of being hurt by others. So many that were close to me hurt me. I somehow knew if I could ever find true love for myself, then I wouldn’t get hurt by others if they didn’t love me.
I didn’t know at this time that I was attracting those kind of toxic people that couldn’t love me by just me feeling that I was UNLOVABLE. That’s a trip, huh?
This link explains how you may be attracting toxic people in your life that you may not be aware of.
No one else would love me unconditionally, unless I could love myself this way. This I just seemed to know without being told. I wanted to be loved like that in my life so bad and in order for that to happen, I knew I had to change my own perception of myself and look at myself realistically with no filters. I shouldn’t look at myself from others perspectives of myself, but most of us do. I was now ready to really get to know the real ME that I truly was inside.
First, I started with the definition of what unconditional love was. Basically, it’s loving someone (or yourself) despite that person’s wrongs. You don’t have to agree with those wrong things or decisions but you love them regardless (or in spite) of them. “Love the sinner, not the sin”, if you will! That’s not just for others, it’s for ourselves as well.
I’d personally never experienced receiving unconditional love in my own life, however, this is where I started on my journey.
I had given that type of love to both my kids, the best I knew how from learning about it in church, so I knew what it meant. However, the mind power I needed to display that plus, in order for me to have that type of love for myself, (in spite of any wrongs, any past bad decisions, any flaws and any differences), was going to be a hard bumpy road.
So many people want to experience the end result (after you are at the end of the journey) but don’t want to do what you did in order to get that end result. No, they would rather use up negative energy saying to themself, “I CAN’T”. You will use up energy either way – it’s up to you whether you will use positive energy toward the goal (loving yourself) or will you use negative energy complaining about not being able to do the “mind power thing” because it’s to hard!
It’s a process of getting to know yourself (not people’s perceptions about you), accepting yourself, forgiving yourself, and ultimately you will find that, after those three things are looked at and worked through … You will already be loving yourself!
Here are the list of steps to follow in learning to love yourself:
1. Get to really know yourself … beyond your soul, the inner core.
2. Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, no matter how horrible you think they are.
3. Accept yourself completely (no matter what you have done or what guilt you have because something may have happened to you)
4. Loving yourself unconditionally. This will automatically happen after you delve into the three previous steps.
Spend time with YOU and get to know yourself
I got to know myself by being alone day after day. Once the freedom came for this to happen, after this breakthrough (me working through my childhood pains with the mental symptoms I had been noticing, once I realized the way I’d been treated had a name for the person that treated me badly.
My mom was a narcissist and after studying and researching what that meant – I was able to see that so much I thought was true wasn’t. I also saw that it was not my fault. Around this same time, I had put two and two together on the symptoms I noticed, regarding my mental health. That also put a name to what I was experiencing, which was ADHD. So much now made sense in my life I thought, as I looked back on childhood instances through today’s foggy haze).
Forgiving yourself is VERY important and without it, you cannot move on in your life, past a certain point. It was essential to this journey I was on. Again, I just knew this was a step I must take, without being told, I just seemed to know.
Even if you truly don’t believe you deserve to be forgiven, forgive yourself anyway. How can others forgive you, when you won’t forgive yourself? It’s the same with accepting yourself and loving yourself.
Keep in mind to, that we attract people with the energy we give off, so in my case I was attracting toxic people that couldn’t love themselves, much less love me. They tried to make me the same way, thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Forgiving yourself frees you into being able to accept yourself right where you are and eventually allows you to start loving yourself.
I had to fight through negative thoughts my whole life because on the outside I knew I was good enough, smart enough, and pretty enough, but I just didn’t show it. I didn’t know how. I’m guessing it was also because I didn’t feel it on the inside. That’s where the REAL me was. The negative over powered the positive in my mind. I didn’t know myself at that time and it showed. I had started looking at myself the way toxic people looked at me, wondering if they were right. I didn’t know myself enough to hear my inner self screaming, “no I’m not like that”
I had thought, somewhere deep inside of me, that I deserved the wrongful and abusive treatment I had received all these years from different people, myself included. (From who, why and where doesn’t matter. I just needed to train myself NOT to believe that lie). You don’t have to believe those lies others say about you. Just keep throwing them out of your mind, on purpose, and hold onto those deep down feelings that your gut is telling you, that you do matter. Like I did, I knew it but I put what others said and had shown me above what I knew was truth. Abuse yourself no longer!
There was no map or outline on how to do this, I just went with it. God led me through it.
All this time, from that deep place inside me, I knew that I DID deserve love, and finally, that feeling overwhelmed the lie I’d believed all these years. This occured once I started this journey.
Through ALL of that, I learned to accept myself for ME.
After accepting myself, the real me, deep down inside, was crying out for love, loudly and this time I paid attention. I owed it to myself. YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF TOO!
I’d given others advice on this very subject before on the importance of self love but I never practiced it on me. In part, because I believed I didn’t deserve it and because it wasn’t a big “in my face” issue at the time. I never looked at it “in me” before.
Once I looked at it with me in mind, I saw a lot about myself that I didn’t know.
I had to look at feelings and situations that were years old in order to get to know, forgive and accept me. Things and memories that were not pleasant.
This is why so many don’t take this journey, I’m sure, because it hurts and people just don’t want to face their pain. However, it is A MUST, if you truly want to succeed in loving yourself.
In this journey, I came to discover key issues, people and situations that would explain my behavior, my issues, and why I believed I was unworthy of receiving love all these years.
One freedom I found, as I mentioned earlier was from learning I suffered from ADHD and unmedicated, makes it’s sufferers see things through a distorted and clouded view. I made a lot of my life’s decisions in that distorted and clouded view. Sadly, I wouldn’t have if I would have been medicated, or even just had the awareness of my disorder.
Another freedom was realizing I had been raised by a narcissist and the knowledge that they are incapable of showing or feeling love. It wasn’t my fault that my mother didn’t love me, it was on her. I thought I may faint from sheer joy and relief after learning these facts, because “it wasn’t my fault” – After thinking it was my fault for years, this was quite invigorating!
After realizing these things, I forgave, accepted and came to like the person I was. I couldn’t move forward, however, unless I accepted myself as I was then, and now.
So many things that were foggy in my life back then, became crystal clear with these revelations.
After realizing this, I really “saw” that I WAS worth love and that I did the best I could back then. Today, I DO deserve unconditional love. I TRULY felt this, (for real) for the first time ever, at 55 years old.
I also saw that I deserved to be loved BY MYSELF. This was another freedom for me. Loving yourself DOES make a huge difference. I believe that if more people would love themselves, it would stop a lot of depression and self harm tendencies, as well as hurting others. We can’t hurt someone else when we love ourselves. It’s just impossible!
Unconditional love for oneself would definitely put a dent in the suicide rate. So, show someone they are worth being loved today!
Since I put all these steps to the test and completed them successfully, now came the hard part of how to TRULY love myself unconditionally. (Key word- “unconditionally”). I thought to myself, “How on earth do I make this happen?”
The answer is: It comes automatically after going through the steps I’ve explained. It is the FINAL outcome after learning those things through each step. (Knowing, forgiving, accepting and loving)
Diligently seeking how to do one step automatically enables you for the next step, until your at the end and you notice that you are loving yourself, before you even realize it!
Wow, a miracle as far as I’m concerned!
See, in this journey, I learned that I wasn’t unlovable, in each step I took.
The deeper I dug into ME, the more things I saw that made me love myself. I saw a young child that only wanted love and that young woman that was forever making bad decisions. I saw the heart they had and it caused me see that they thought they were doing their best and that they were worthy of my love. Love the younger you that did the best they could at that time. Stop abusing yourself now!
It was through the desire of wanting to get to know myself that led me to the fact of needing to forgive myself. It was through that forgiveness, that I came to accept myself. Lastly, it was through that acceptance, that I was able to FINALLY truly love myself, unconditionally.
This journey wasn’t without it’s own set of hurts, bad memories and feeling uncomfortable but it’s the only way I knew to get to where I wanted to be. I was learning the “how to” as I went.
Today, I’m still in process of finding pieces of myself that were long forgotten and putting them together with who I am now and loving myself still, regardless.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, take the journey I did and trust me, you won’t be sorry you did. Through this journey you will (hopefully) see that what was holding you back was the thought that you need to be “fixed”. You don’t need fixing, you just need to forgive, accept and love.
Love unconditionally, regardless …