I’ve always felt enormous pressure when people tell me “no one will love you, unless you love yourself,” whilst that’s a nice sentiment, it also adds pressure to my reality that I do not love myself. 

For the past few months, I have been building my life back up again after a tumultuous time. Initially I adopted old and negative coping strategies to try and gain some control over my chaotic life. I was in self destruct mode because not only did I not love myself I hated myself. I felt guilt and shame and in hindsight there wasn’t much I should’ve felt guilty about and definitely not shame. I know if I had witnessed a friend or loved one go through what I had experienced i would only have shown them compassion, care and held their hand without judgement. 

“Be your own best friend” 

So why do I constantly bully myself? Why do I always apologise for simply existing? I haven’t had the brain space until now to process why I clutched at harmful coping strategies that inevitably damaged me further. 

No way would I ever treat another human being like that, so why did I do it to myself.  

Attending self help groups 

But one thing I am good at is pushing myself even if I feel dreadful. I will be proactive if I am struggling to cope. I used to wallow and hide and whilst I still want to do that I know I can’t because I will end up worse. So to process and to begin to recover from the trauma I have experienced, I have been attending groups to help me manage different aspects of my life. I personally find group therapy really helpful because I don’t feel the same pressure to speak or talk about “deep stuff” if I am not in the mood or too vulnerable. 

In one of my groups I have been trying to discover the “root problem” or “cause” which triggers me to use negative coping strategies. I know what my negative coping strategies are but as I learned that until I get to the core of the problem, then it will be hard to address any bad habits or addictions. 

After quite a lot of work and digging deep into painful emotions, it dawned on me that the root issue is that I think that I am not loved. I think that I am unloveable and I struggle to believe that anyone could love me just as I am. Why? Because I don’t love myself. I don’t respect myself and whilst I am confident in a lot of aspects of my life, my lack of self love and self worth keeps leading me into self destruct mode. I end up in toxic situations as I am a serial people pleaser even at the detriment to myself. 

Whilst this discovery has been helpful, it’s also been extremely painful (“no pain, no gain” and all that !). 

It’s easy to tell people to love themselves, but how hard is it to learn to love yourself? 

Can I learn to love myself?

So as I sit here typing through the tears of a mending heart. I have realised that the focus of this new chapter of my life has to be on trying to love myself and allowing myself to be loved and to feel worthy of love. 

I guess it’s similar to when people struggle to take compliments such as “you are beautiful.” And whilst I don’t struggle too much with my appearance these days because I tell myself “I am perfectly imperfect,” I struggle to believe that I am loved. 

I seek signs to prove my theory that I am unlovable whilst still searching to be loved. 

Do you have any tips that may help myself and others on this journey? Please do comment below… and watch this space!