How Do I Love Thee?

Can anybody find me….somebody tooooo…looovvvveee!?

How about yourself? It’s something we all forget to do, love ourselves. A lot of people don’t want to anymore. They feel they aren’t worthy of love, especially their own. We feel ashamed and disgusted in ourselves, but we really shouldn’t. We are human. We make mistakes. It’s time to stop beating yourself up.

How do you even love yourself? How can we even like ourselves? What if all we feel is hate. We hate our growing body. We hate being in hospital, or in school, or anywhere. We hate our life. Instead of saying this, say the opposite. I love my life. You may not believe it, but every time you say I hate my life, you have to say I love my life.

Think of reasons why you could love your life. Again, they may not seem true to you right now, but maybe they did at one time. And maybe they’re really small things, but anything is good. I love that I have a cat. I love that I have a sister. I love that I have black clothes. I love that Disney movies exist. I love that Hot Topic is around. I love that I have shoes. I love that I have feet. I love that I have eyes and ears. You get the point. List anything and everything. Don’t just think of them, write them down. Keep them to look at when you’re really low. It’ll remind you that there are a few good things in your life. It’s worth the time you have to take.

Another thing you should do is compliment yourself. Say “you are beautiful” when you look in the mirror. Stop yourself from saying hurtful things. Write messages all around your room or house reminding yourself of how strong and amazing you are. You all are, and you all deserve these compliments. In fact, they aren’t as much compliments as facts. Each and everyone of you has something to offer the world, do not forget that. You are special. You are important.

Some people think to love yourself you should wear tight clothes, other say baggy. What do I say? Nothing is out of boundaries. Wear whatever you want. I wear a tutu and suspenders sometimes. Knee high socks, hair bows, mismatched patterns, I have no limits to what I wear, and neither should you. Respect your body. Accent the best features of yourself (I’ll bet you all have a great butt). No shame. No regrets. If you want to wear makeup, wear it. If you don’t want to, don’t. It is all your choice. This is your body, clothing and other styles are a way to express yourself.

When you’re learning to love yourself, you have to push boundaries. Get out of your comfort zone. Be crazy. Be loud. Be you. I had a really hard time accepting myself. I thought I was horrible, worthless, ugly, fat, all the everyday things. But I also wasn’t myself. I didn’t like who I had become. It seemed to be me, but it didn’t look like me, or act like me. So I changed. I wore something crazy that I would’ve worn years ago, when I was happy. I felt this spark. I felt this new confidence. I was confused. I thought how could this be? I should be embarrassed. But I was proud. I took a leap, accepted the challenge, and got a little piece of me back. Maybe you were outgoing before, but then you became very introverted. Be daring. Talk to someone. An easy thing to do is get an online email penpal, or text someone. The next step is to talk to someone in public. Then maybe even say hello to a stranger. Take small steps everyday to get yourself back to who you were.

COMMON THOUGHTS

  • I do not deserve love
  • I am ugly
  • I am worthless
  • I am fat/overweight
  • I am horrible
  • How could anyone love me?

These are all myths. You deserve love. You are beautiful. You are worthy and meaningful. You are lovely. You are terrific. I love you, no matter who you are.

But some people ask this “Who am I?”. It’s a big question, but very important. To love yourself, you really have to learn who you are. Separate yourself from any illnesses or issues. You are not your problems. You are that creative, beautiful, smart, courageous, lovable boy or girl. Identify your values. Take a few minutes or hours to just be with yourself. Write down the things you love, love to do, and any other favourites. Really investigate into your soul. It sounds cliche, but sometimes cliches are right. It’s time you discovered yourself once again.

What do you do when other people are bringing you down? Think of the phrase Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Think No Evil. Learning to love yourself is when you have to take off those rose-coloured glasses and see who you truly are. Then I want you to take those glasses and fold them. Fold them again. And keep folding them until they become ear plugs. But these ear plugs in. These will guard you from the words of others. Turn something not so great, into something helpful. If you don’t have these glasses, or are not ready to take them off just yet, invest in some good quality ear plugs. The words these others have to say are not worth your energy. You are too important to listen to anything that is unkind. These people are not right for your life. (Now this is a metaphor, but I have found many people wear these glasses without noticing, myself being one. I have found that the ear plugs have helped me quite a bit when it comes to what other people say. I have the deluxe brand, so it filters out all negative things, and only lets me hear the important and helpful things. This doesn’t mean you should ignore people, it just means, don’t take their hurtful comments seriously. They mean nothing.)

A good thing to do while trying to learn to love yourself, is gain a passion or hobby. Not only does this distract yourself from any unhelpful thoughts, but it helps you build mastery, help you to believe in yourself and give you more to love. I learned to loom, with the special kits. It wasn’t too difficult (after a while), but I felt really good about myself after I made my first scarf. I was so proud. I saw a little glimpse of life in my eyes again. A little flicker of love flashed before me. And that was just from a scarf. When I painted my first painting, a lot more came. Then even when I went to the grocery store all on my own, I felt this love. I was doing things to help and appreciate me. Sometimes, it is all about you. And that is completely fine.

Don’t hold your feelings in. Don’t hide who you are. Be honest. Some people find they sound like a broken record, or maybe they just think they’re annoying. It isn’t healthy to hold everything in. It will hurt you in the long run. It’ll beat you up from the inside out. Find one person who you can rant to. Tell them everything you’re feeling. Let it all out. If you don’t feel safe telling someone else, write out how you’re feeling, or type it to get it out of your mind. Then I suggest burning, ripping or deleting it. This is more for comfort of not having to relive that exact feeling again. If you need to let it out to someone, I am always willing to listen. Tell me if you want me to give advice, comment what I think or just acknowledge your feelings. I want to help.

My favourite thing is to look at my quirks; to see how I am different. I embrace the little weird things about me. I am proud to say I am different. Every itty bitty thing about you is wonderful. Every unique piece of your puzzle is important and special. Embrace the things you never thought you would. Have a cow lick? Awesome, embrace it. Laugh so hard no sound comes out, embrace it. Have grey hair, embrace it. These things make you who you are.

Remember not to change yourself for anyone. Be who you truly want to be. You want to play the kazoo? Do it. Nothing is impossible for you. Once you know who you are, or what you like, create an identity you want to be, or who you were. Once you know your values, practice them. Be the person you always wanted yourself to be. Not who your family or friends wanted you to be. The most important opinion is your own. So act in a way you respect yourself.

I didn’t love myself for a long time. I couldn’t look in the mirror without crying. I saw a decaying face in front of me and I had no respect for myself. I was not happy. I was ashamed of this being I became. For years this went on. Things were looking bleak. Then I started my first real recovery. I still couldn’t look in the mirror; at first. Then I wore something crazy. I wore something I would’ve worn when I was eight and didn’t have my disorder. I looked in the mirror. I smiled? It was weird. I actually was happy with the way I looked. I walked with a spring in my step. You can feel this too.

Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. It will happen. I know it. Love yourself.

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