Wednesday, June 2, 2010
This is a different kind of love story. This is the story of how I learned to love myself. That may come off as selfish, but I firmly believe that one has to love themselves before they can love another person. Besides, I'm only 22 and have not yet fallen in love....well, I was close once, but he ripped my heart and stomped on it, so he wasn't Mr Right. :)
Up until just a few years ago, I had no sense of self worth. It wasn't even so much about body image issues, I just didn't like myself. At all. Love wasn't even a question, I definitely did not love myself. I didn't care what happened to me, so therefore engaged in less than healthy activities. I simply did not care for myself mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally. I think this was most evident in my college years, when I hid behind a mask in order to fake happiness. I absolutely hated what I had become and often felt like I was crawling out of my own skin. In addition to apathy toward my body, mind, and spirit, I put way too much pressure onto other relationships. I cared about everyone around me with quite intensity, and would put every single one of their needs before my own...even the people that were hurting me. I had a few friends that were constantly dragging me down with negativity, yet would do absolutely anything for them if they asked...and they asked all the time.
Eventually, I was completely run down. I could no longer give to others, because I had never spent time caring for myself. I lost interest in everything I was once passionate about and just shut down emotionally. It took me a few years, but eventually, I learned what it was like to completely love myself. The journey to loving myself has been an experience that has now blessed me with many, many gifts.
I began taking care of myself again, by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, cutting down on alcohol, and surrounding myself with people who were positive and supportive. It caused me to lose a few friendships, but in the end, it was what was best for me. I found a passion for writing and started doing that daily, as an escape and a way to let out all of my feelings. I taught myself how to become more self aware...and to change negative thoughts about myself into positive ones. I also learned how to be myself, instead of hiding behind a mask of a stranger.
Learning to love myself was the ultimate love story because it gave me the confidence I needed to live my life the way it should be. It not only benefited my life and my relationship with God, but also all those surrounding me. I can proudly say that I am happy with who I am and I fully and completely love myself. With this knowledge. My hope is for young girls struggling with self worth issues learn to love and appreciate themselves, rather than depend on other things- drugs, alcohol, men- to bring them happiness.