Do you find it hard to look in the mirror and tell yourself you love you? That you are worth something far greater than can be comprehended? That you matter? Sometimes we find it hard to tell ourselves this without thinking it’s silly. Or we feel guilty and don’t believe the words we are saying. At times, we can’t even get the words to come out at all.
The thought of loving ourselves, often times, seems like a selfish and prideful thing to think or act out. We are told over and over again by others, the media, different organized religions, children’s stories, co-workers, parents, siblings and countless others that it is far more noble to think of others needs before our own. So much so we are placed on a pedestal when we “sacrifice” ourselves for the needs of others. This way of living (other oriented) leaves us depleted, stressed and depressed.
Depression is a low state in which we feel hopeless. Another way to describe depression is to deflate, compress or to push something down. It helps to think of the depressed feeling as being “deflated”. When you give and give and give of yourself sooner or later there will be nothing left, unless you are constantly filling yourself back up.
An analogy for this is when your friend calls you…you know the one. They always have a crisis on their hands and must come over with a bucket of ice cream and cry on your couch for the next 6 hours. Never mind that you had a lovely dinner planned with your family tonight and your doctor has told you time again to cut back on the sweets. That feeling you have right now…that exhaustion you know all too well, you feel empty, depleted, your batteries are completely wiped out from a long day of work and chasing kids and you haven’t even gotten off the phone with the friend who needs you yet! But beside exhaustion you also feel anxious. Anxious because you have other obligations and telling your friend “no” will only upset them. You would just hate to upset them more by telling them you can’t be there for them right now. No, you will persevere! They need you! How selfish would that be for you to sit down to a nice healthy dinner with your family knowing all the while your friend is alone crying on her own couch into a bucket of ice cream?
These types of circumstances come up from time to time, for some they happen quite frequently. Many of us have had the same experiences with those we care about and we are often praised by others for acting so kindly. When the truth is we were completely worn out by the friendship and became grouchy at our loved ones at home for needing and wanting things from us when we’d given so much of ourselves already. We can’t understand why they can’t seem to understand that we are tired. In this cycle of caring for others we often lose ourselves. We forget to take time to love ourselves, to keep up on our hobbies, our kids activities, even our hygiene and personal health take a back seat when we are constantly reaching out to help others without filling our own need tank first.
Sometimes we do not feel worthy of love from others so we do not show love to ourselves. We hope that one day someone will love us the way we love others but we quickly deem that a selfish thought and concluded we must be other orient to have a fulfilled life. After all, that is what we’ve been taught from the time we could speak. Our self worth and love must come from within. It is too tall of an order to place on someone else to fill and it is too big of a burden to put on ourselves to do that for someone else. Once we are filled with love and our needs have been met our joy becomes so great it spills out of us and onto others who bathe in acceptance and love with strings unattached.
If you have trouble looking in the mirror and saying “I deserve love and happiness” try searching yourself. Go to a quiet place where you can be alone, undisturbed and ask yourself why you feel this way. Write it down on a piece of paper. Then ask yourself what good you have done in your life (do not in anyway turn it into something negative) write it down on a separate piece of paper. What are the positives about yourself? Are you a good listener? Do you have great sympathy or empathy for others? Do you enjoy cheering people up? Take the list of negatives and burn it…while it is glowing in the flames say out loud the positives you’ve written. If you have a hard time saying “I am a nice person” try instead “I think I am a nice person” eventually you will be able to say with confidence “I am”. Start with baby steps. It is hard to learn to love yourself but know that you are worth it. No life is ever to far gone to be unworthy of love and acceptance and it starts with you.
peace to you