Self love can be a difficult thing. Simple in concept? Yes, looking back it seems so basic a prerequisite for any level of happiness. But from the opposite end of the spectrum, it can seem not only ridiculous but positively criminal to contemplate loving yourself, let alone actually forgiving yourself as well.
Not so very long ago, the idea of loving myself was the most preposterous and revolting concept I could imagine. No one knew me the way I knew me, and I knew damned good and well that there was nothing in me even remotely worth loving. Yes, I know, my mom loved me, as did the rest of my family, but (in my mind) only grudgingly. I was certain they’d be just as happy, probably more so, without me and I’d have bet they knew it, too.
Yes, I was a miserable person, and in my misery, only attracted more of the same. This would create a self-fulfilling morass of devalued filth which was very much a perfect reflection of my self-image.
I won’t delve into details of the on-and-off seven year relationship which mostly defined this era of my life, as it would serve no purpose other than to ascribe blame, where responsibility for my situation was entirely my own. Yes, it was a psychologically abusive relationship with a toxic ingredient in the person of my “partner” of the time, but that is what I attracted to myself in that state, and in hindsight it was a 100% necessary step to the enlightenment which would follow on its heels. I bear no ill will to anyone from that period of time, and while I have no desire whatsoever to encounter any of them again, I do hope that they are living beautifully fulfilled and happy lives today.
The low point of those years found me cutting and frequently contemplating suicide. Once I gave it a half-hearted try, knowing I wasn’t actually taking enough pills to accomplish the goal even while despising my own cowardice for it. I spent several years following the final dissolution of that relationship wallowing in self pity and making excuses for failure without ever acknowledging the true culprit and reason. Of course I knew, but like the addict who insists they can quit any time they wish, I denied and hid from my responsibility. It IS so much easier to blame someone else for your misery than to pull yourself out of it, after all. But you know that’s not right, so you have to choose either to accept your own blame or cast the weight onto absent shoulders and dodge your own despite.
Of course I chose the latter, and for a long time simply spiraled downward. I turned good jobs into more excuses for failure and disappointed myself and everyone around me in more ways than I wish to recall.
And of course I was horribly lonely.
Today, I have no real recollection of how I came to the realization, but after several attempts by good and faithful friends to set me up and help me find someone, each sabotaged in subtle and final fashion by my own selfish misery, I finally saw the impossibility of attracting love without feeling it. How could I ask or expect anyone else to respect me if I felt none whatsoever for myself? How could I be worthy if I didn’t feel worthy?
Finding that self worth was not an overnight thing, but recognizing its necessity was again just like the addict finally admitting the problem. Finding the strength within myself to accept the responsibility for my own “lot in life” and being able to release, at least in part (the rest would come) the bitterness and blame directed at persons in my past. It wasn’t an instant panacea, but it was a solid start.
It is now many years further on, and my voyage is really just beginning. The scars from my cutting are faded to the point that if you’re not directed to them, you’ll never notice them. The scars inside are similarly gone; healed in the only way they can be, through love. The forgiveness, as true an act of love as is possible, really only happened quite recently, in fact. I’ve found many beloved and revered mentors from throughout history in my reading; I’ve discovered the power of silence in meditation and have harnessed the creative energy of allowing and the divine power of the “I Am”.
I know who I am, and I love me. Even typing it just now I’m shocked by how natural it seems to say and feel that, especially considering how loathsome the very idea had been to me not so long ago.
I Love Me. I love being me, and I love the history, painful as so much of it was, that brought me here.
By the way, I love you, too. And I thank you all for joining me here.