What It Means to Love Yourself

Flickr/ Phoney Nickle
Flickr/ Phoney Nickle

Sometimes I look down at my mommy belly covered in stretch marks, or I look into the mirror at the acne on my face, and I feel disgusted. I struggle to love myself, which is something I have struggled with all of my life.

When is the right time to love yourself? Is there ever a time when loving yourself is not selfish or egotistical, but actually a good thing? What does loving yourself even mean?

Loving yourself does not mean being stuck up or always putting your own desires before everyone else’s. It means recognizing that your worth is not dependent on what you look like or what you do. You have value simply because of who you are. Loving yourself is about seeing yourself accurately: not thinking too highly of yourself, or too lowly of yourself, but accepting that your flaws exist and then working to improve them. If you don’t know how to love yourself, it’s going to be difficult to love others. It’s going to be difficult to believe that someone else could ever really love you.

I’ve experienced these insecurities, and they have affected my relationships. I’ve put up with abuse because I didn’t think I was good enough for anyone else. I’ve made decisions out of fear of losing the man I was with.

One of the biggest insecurities of mine that definitely affects my relationship with my boyfriend is my uncanny ability to be jealous. It’s not that I don’t trust him because I totally do. It’s just that I don’t feel as pretty as other women in his life. I don’t mean to be jealous, but when you’ve been hurt repeatedly and cheated on in the past by others it sticks with you. I don’t want to feel this way, I don’t want to worry about petty things like that but it’s very hard to change my way of thinking.

But I know that I need to. Instead of dwelling on my weaknesses, I want to start finding my strengths. My mom suggested to me the other day, “Why don’t you try looking in the mirror and noticing the things you like about yourself?”

While I know that I have plenty to work on, I do have a lot of great qualities. I’m a good mother and girlfriend. I would do anything for anybody and I am kind hearted. Because I have been through a lot, I care about others who are going through tough times.

And just like I want to see the truth about myself, I want to see the truth about my boyfriend and our relationship. As I’ve written before, he does love me for who I am and I do love him in the same way. It’s my unresolved self-doubt and low self-worth that break me down.

So instead of letting insecurities consume me I choose to see myself as the beautiful work-in-progress that I am. That’s what loving myself really means—being humble and confident at the same time. Doing this will help me to love the other people in my life all the more.

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