The Importance of Loving Yourself

As someone who generally despises clichés, I have been working on accepting the fact they are cliché for a reason. They have been told time and time again because they tend to hold tremendous truth to them. One that I have been looking at often, and working on in my own life is, “If you do not love yourself, you will not be able to love someone else.”
As horrific as it is, it is quite common that we see some of the happiest, nicest, and most caring individuals struggle significantly with mental health issues. The worst part is that we tend to find out too late. These individuals open their heart for anyone who is hurting or struggling. They answer calls at all hours of the night, and provide comfort in ways that many have not experienced before. Why, or a better question, how? The answer varies among everyone of course, but generally the answer is that it fills a void within themselves. As I have highlighted in multiple blogs, I have learned that I can only speak for myself. Two nights ago, I had a switch go off in my head and I realized, or rather accepted, a few key aspects of my life. What follows is my opinion and experience on why it is so crucial to love yourself first and foremost.
Against both my sponsor’s, and my therapist’s recommendation, I chose to engage in a relationship very early in my recovery. I fell for this individual much quicker than I had expected, to the point of dropping the dreaded “L-word” and scaring her off. As the whole separation was happening, she was explaining that she has a lot to work on with herself. She said she has never been in love because she has a very hard time loving herself. The ending of this relationship caused great pain and suffering for me. My depression took over and was telling me that I will not find love, nobody cares about me, and that I should leave the fellowship that has blessed me with a new way to live. Recognizing these negative thoughts, I called friends, I talked about it, and I analyzed it. I dug deep to find the answers to why this was affecting me so much, when the relationship was short-lived. What I discovered has caused me to become drastically more motivated, and incredibly free.
I have two major faults when it comes to relationships, and they both stem from the same root cause. The first, is that I tend to attract, or pursue, individuals who are battling inner demons and so they find comfort in me. Many times, my relationships have started as friendships, and then formulated into something more through helping them with their mental health. The second fault is that I quickly, and dramatically, fall for the individual. I invest everything I have and instead of allowing the relationship to progress organically, I tend to rush it, hoping that both of us fall in love quickly. When digging deep the other night, I came to a common denominator in all my past relationships, even friendships. The root cause is not simply that I am just a caring and loving individual, the root cause is that I desperately am trying to fill that void that has existed since I can remember. That void is the fact that for a long time, I have been broken, I have not been comfortable with myself, and I have never developed a sense of who I am, therefore I have never loved myself.
I search for people who need saving because I crave that feeling of release, or freedom, one achieves when they become “saved,” or when they discover themselves. I have never been comfortable with myself or known who I am, because I have never developed myself. I have been a chronic liar all my life. Because I have suffered from depression for a long time, I have always longed to be liked or loved. Therefore, going through high school and college, I would stretch the truth or come up with experiences that never happened, to fit in with whatever social group I was exposed to at the time. Because I have done this for so long, I have become accustomed to the lies I have told, and have a complete misconception of who I am. So, to live myself, would be equivalent to loving a character in a book or a movie; it would not be real. Since I do not have that pure love for myself, I deeply desire love from others. This allows me to experience the blissful feeling of love that has been developed naturally for the “normal” person. Unfortunately, when things end, I am left with that void again, with added pain and misery on top of it.
This is where the importance of loving yourself comes into play, and the conclusion I came to the other night. First, I must come to an understanding of who I truly am. Every single human being is born with potential. It is our job to discover what that potential is. Once achieved, we can enter relationships on an equal playing field and with pure intentions, allowing us to grow together. Pure intentions are when we find someone we wish to grow along side of, and experience life with, rather than the relationship being two ends of a boomerang, where one person is always pulling the other up, or flinging the other around. The relationship must grow as two roots, sometimes intertwining, or overlapping, but continuously growing parallel. This is how we discover true happiness, when we get to the point of loving ourselves.
-Thoughts of Many; Voice of One

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