formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Friday, January 15, 2016

I Love You... er... Me

The other day, a friend asked me why it's so hard for us to love ourselves. She had just posted gorgeous family photos and commented that she didn't look good in them. I thought she looked beautiful - so happy and simply in love with her boys. She zeroed in on a physical feature she is bothered by - one I hadn't even noticed. I understood, though. When I see a photo of myself, I hone in on the things about myself I don't like. They bother me. A lot. So much so that I avoid the camera at all costs.

I hate that I feel that way.

So does she.

Hence the question...

Why is it so hard for us to just love ourselves?

My initial response was, I dunno. But I think I do know. 

We have forgotten how. 

I think we're all born with the ability. It's inherent. I think when we're very small, if we're well-loved and encouraged and praised, we do love ourselves. The mirror means little because we see ourselves in the eyes and faces and hearts of those who love us. 

But then we get older. And we're no longer constantly surrounded by unconditional love. We mingle with people who criticize and point out our flaws. We meet those who work hard to build themselves up by tearing others down. We are bombarded by images and ideas of societal ideals - unattainable ideals. We start to see ourselves through the eyes of the world. And it starts early.

And the loving gets harder.  

And sometimes? 

We forget entirely how to do it.

I have often been told that I'm my own worst enemy. I know it's true. It's only been recently that I've been able to receive a compliment with a simple thank you, rather than a thank you, but you must be blind/crazy/out of your mind/etc. And though I am learning to accept compliments, I haven't yet learned how to believe them. Well, many of them, anyway. 

Now, don't get me wrong (or think I need committing. Yet). I don't hate myself. I don't wish I wasn't here. I don't think the world would be better off without me. I'm good at some things and I know it. I can name them. I feel good about them. But one thing I'm definitely not good at is loving myself - accepting myself, unconditionally -  

for who I am 
and what I am 
and what I'm not 
and what I look like 
and for all my faults 
and flaws 
and failures.

I have forgotten how to love myself

And no one ever taught me - reminded me - how to do it, I think, because they had forgotten how themselves. The example wasn't set for me. And I am so bloody terrified that my own child is well on her way to forgetting, and that I'm not teaching her - reminding her - or setting the example for her.

But I want to know how - to remember how - to do it. I want it desperately. I want the serenity and the peace that comes with knowing and trusting and accepting and loving yourself. 

So, I'm setting out on a quest... 

The Quest of Learning to Love Myself
(subtitled: The Quest of Learning to Accept Myself, Unconditionally, For Who I Am and What I Am and What I'm Not and What I Look Like and For All My Faults and Flaws and Failures)

I think I've been taking baby steps toward it for a while. And I think I'm making progress. But it's very slow. At the rate I'm going, I should figure out how to love myself by the time I die... if I die at 102. And call me crazy, but I don't think I should have to wait so long. 

So I'm going to actively work on this. I have a hazy sort of plan in mind... well, OK, it's not so much a plan as it is pretty much no idea. But I know what I want... and that's half the battle, right?

Off I go, then. 

If you need me, I'll be... questing


Jennifer said...

This is perfect. Spot on. I think I also need to go on this quest....

Sheila said...

I think this is a quest that everyone should go on...
This has some good ideas:
I particularly like "Embrace the mistakes you haven’t even made yet."

Diane said...

Good stuff, Sheila!! I've bookmarked that page, to read it when I need a reminder. Thank you!! xo