No one can love you until you love yourself.
This is a phrase that has always left me in a state of anger and confusion: shouldn’t I be worthy of love whether or not I find value in myself?
I was a freshman in high school the first time that I had ever heard those words, and I still think about it often. It was a period in my life where I was trying to find myself, where comparing myself to someone else was an everyday norm. Multiple times a day, especially around Valentine’s Day, I would walk around the halls and see all of those cute and happy couples showing disgusting amounts of PDA, and I always yearned for the chance to do that as well.
I remember I was talking to one of my classmates about a boy I had liked and openly wondering why he, or anyone else for that matter, didn’t like me the way that I liked them when I was met with the phrase stated above.
Am I supposed to fall in love with my flaws before someone can find it in their heart to love them too? What about the parts of me that I absolutely love about myself? Are those to be completely ignored until I think I am a perfect creature of the Earth?
It’s been six years since that phrase popped into my universe and very little has changed, yet the way I think about it has taken a drastic turn. The 14-year-old me craved something that I didn’t think I deserved because I believed I was overweight, ugly, bland, and every other negative adjective that would come to mind. I was always focused on why I didn’t deserve someone to love me unconditionally instead of why I did.
Now, I’m almost 21 years old and am finding more and more love in myself every day. I recognize my strengths and perfections more than I recognize my flaws. My thought process has shifted from “I don’t deserve this” to “I know that I deserve this,” but it’s still an issue to me.
I know that I deserve this, but why don’t people see it?
Six years passed and love has not found me, despite the love that I have for myself. What more do I have to do? My biggest rule that I have for myself is that I refuse to change any aspect of myself to please anyone else: my personality will always remain the same.
Now that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I can feel the annual depression and confusion starting to sink in and I’ve decided that it’s important for me to come up with the following list that will hopefully help you too.
1. You are worthy of love despite whether or not you currently feel the love in yourself.
2. You are worthy of loving yourself, whether or not society tells you to.
3. Recognize your strengths so that the world can recognize them too. Flaunt them, show them off! You are a big deal and so are they.
4. Embrace your imperfections- even those who seem perfect have something they are insecure about.
5. There is always someone that loves you unconditionally.
Hopefully it doesn’t take you six years to find the value in yourself like it did me, and whether it takes longer or you’re still unsure, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. Finding your own worth is a journey that shapes us to be our true selves, I just hope that it isn’t as painful and confusing as the world makes it seem.
You are deserving of love no matter what, but you also deserve to love yourself.
Happy Valentine’s Day, my love.