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.
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
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.