So, this is sorta both a success story and seeking help i guess? First off, I have to thank the community for being so supportive. It also helps me when i have the ability to helps someone else. The reason i haven’t posted much is because im actually terrible about looking for help directly. And im sure it has something to do with not loving myself. I would like to be able to love myself. I just can’t seem to. Does anyone have advice on loving yourself and letting yourself be happy?
You are so kind and always helping here. And it’s awesome to know that you are here and part of this community.
Concerning self-love, I can only share some personal thoughts, so what apply to me may not be useful for you and if it’s the case I’m sorry.
From my perspective, I think there is a difference between self love and self acceptance. Maybe we tend to consider self-love as a condition of happiness. But I think we don’t have to necessarily love ourselves to be happy and respect ourselves. I see self-love more as a process than something to reach once and then it would be acquired. I mean, when we focus on a specific goal, we may be less aware of what we can do in the present moment. And you can definitely start to do loving things for yourself, right here and right now. Maybe your post is a first step…?
I think you can work on self acceptance through, at least, 2 different ways: the way you think about/see/qualify yourself and what you actually do for yourself. I mean, it would be difficult to do something positive for yourself if you also tend to repeat that you are stupid or diminish everything you do, for example. It’s kind of a two-sided work.
There’s probably no absolute recipe to learn self-love or at least self-acceptance, because it will be related to who you are, your personality, values, what you enjoy, your resources… You will build your own path through practice, people and opportunities you encounter, etc. So, learning to know yourself may be part of the process too. And for that, getting some help through counseling/coaching can definitely be interesting. I know that, for me, reading and creative hobbies helped a lot. Whether it’s to explore new activites and subjects, to identify what makes sense for me, what I care about, what I struggle with… For example, when I started to draw when I was a kid, I used to throw away every single thing I made. I thought so many negative things about myself that I was always hiding what I enjoy, my tastes, values, etc. to others. So I had to keep going on trying until I felt comfortable enough to keep the things I made, even if it was just for myself. I can’t say I love what I draw and I don’t consider myself as an artist at all, but I’ve learned to use this medium as a way to get satisfaction and to grow at my own pace.
An other way to work on self-love may be, at first, to work on what actually causes you to struggle with it. I mean, it’s often related to what people said or did to us, or circumstances we’ve been through. This time, therapy may be helpful to deconstruct these representations and seek some truth outside of it.
Also, I find that thinking about how you treat people you love can be helpful in order to try to do the same for yourself. You can learn to see you as the first person on Earth who is able to be gentle and loving with yourself. So what do you enjoy and love in your everyday life? Are there things, even little ones, that you can do for yourself everyday? Are there things you also wanted to try but never started because you thought you won’t be good enough or don’t deserve it? Is there a moment in your day that you can take on a regular basis just to do something for you and no one else? If you have fears or doubts that are preventing you to take care and be gentle with yourself, then try to identify and to challenge these thoughts, step by step. You don’t have to rush that kind of thing either. For example, let’s say you would like to eat healthier. Then you don’t have to change all of your habits at once, because it would be too hard to follow and you could get discouraged. But you can still start with adding one fruit to your lunch everyday.
Finally, writing/journaling can be helpful to identify the little thoughts you may have about yourself everyday, then work on getting different perspectives on what you’re living/thinking. It’s a way to challenge your thoughts/the inner patterns you may have developed over time.
Sorry for the ramblings. It’s not a concrete answer at all… but if something is absolutely certain, it’s that you deserve to be happy and you are loved.
Thank you for your words. I really do appreciate you taking time to ttpe all this. As far as hobbies i think i need to find more. At least for the winter. Outaide of winter, my best therapy is jumping on my motorcycle and just going. But i do also enjoy music and gaming to keep myself occupied. Never really thought about writing things down. And i think i would be ok with doing therapy if i could find affordable or free options