My whole life I thought I was truly in love with myself. I liked everything about me and walked around with much confidence and generally thought I felt great about myself. Some perceived it as arrogance but those who knew me knew otherwise and I felt good, thanks to having great parents and friends always complimenting me. Recently however, I have come to realize that perhaps I did not love myself as much as I thought, but this resided at a much more subconscious level that I was unaware of at my conscious level.
As I reflect back upon my life, I realized that I did not love myself on many levels. I can think of many, many examples of this. Here are a few short vignettes to prove this:
1. Once when I was being underpaid at a job and my “boss” said that he would double my salary when the company started making money (of course that day never came!), my first instinct was to think that I didn’t deserve that amount of money and I felt as thought I deserved what I was making even though I knew it was too little!
2. A girl who was gorgeous and who every guy in the school had their eye on took a liking to me. It became a bit of an obsession of hers, especially when I started running the other way. A few years later when I moved to
3. I remember as a child playing a game of marbles, winning the most coveted marble in the school. The kid I had won it from decided he wanted to retroactively change the rules which would negate my win. Not wanting to cause any problems, and feeling bad for him, I gave it back to him. In many ways, looking back, I felt as though I did not deserve such a treasure!
4. A couple of years ago I got my dream car, far earlier than I had ever imagined in life. After I got it though, I tried to give it to my father feeling like I did not deserve it yet. Even afterwards, I had a few bad dreams and wish I could return the car to the dealer and I wished I had bought a far more simple car. Again, I felt like I did not deserve my dream.
Believe me when I tell you that this list could go on, and on, and on. Many of you reading this may relate to these anecdotes. Many of you however may wonder what the hell does this have to do with loving yourself and allowing others to love you? The answer? EVERYTHING.
In all of these examples, when circumstances or people have tried to give me things that I have consciously desired, I have subconsciously and also consciously felt like I did not deserve them. Similarly, in many situations I have placed other people’s needs ahead of my own. I used to justify my behavior by thinking I was being courteous or generous, but I have come to realize that if we love ourselves, we should take care of our needs first so that we may then better take care of the needs of others. Think of it this way – if you were in love with someone, wouldn’t you do something fantastic for them? So then if you love yourself as well, why do you shy away from fantastic things being done for you?
It’s interesting. Many years I wondered why I had a difficult time finding a great, loving, relationship with someone. I have everything going for me and come from a great family. The truth is I have always had girls come into my life who “like” me, but I have never paid much attention to them, and consistently dismissed them from my life. It’s almost like their affection for me came too easily but in reality this is me not feeling worthy. It was not until the latest relationship where I would not ever even let the girl tell me that she loved me that I realized something was wrong. Time and time again, an intimate moment would arise and she would open her mouth to say those words and time and time again, I would cut her off, once even telling her to never tell me what she wanted to. Of course, she eventually got fed up and left. The funny thing is, I did not even know why I was behaving like that. It sounds insane, and it was, in retrospect – but this is the power of the subconscious mind.
As I stewed in my misery and reflected upon the lunacy of that relationship I realize the reason I had always fallen short in finding a relationship while it seemed like the whole world was getting married and in love: I did not love myself and this was blocking love from coming into my life. When love tried to enter my life, I would either run away from it, or chase it away. I can’t believe I never realized this before, but better late than never. So how do we conquer this problem? We dig, and dig until we find out where it came from.
For me, growing up as a minority in a predominantly white city created challenges. The first school I attended from the ages of 5-7 was a French immersion school. Let’s just say that many of the children there were quite nasty. By the time I was 7, I wished I was white and was convinced that having brown skin meant that I was an outcast. I changed schools to a local public school and never encountered the bullying again – but I think by then, the damage had been done.
As I matured into a young man, I truly thought I had found myself and was happy with who I was. But now that I reflect on my life, I think I have always, to some degree, either felt a degree of inferiority around certain people, and not fully been myself. To love oneself, is to be oneself.
How to fix this? Well I began thinking of all the people who had wronged me – I forgave all of them (I didn’t send them postcards!), by forgiving them in my head. People like Louise Hay recommend affirmations such as “I love and accept myself”, however whether you feel this is necessary or not is up to you! Ultimately what I am saying is that if you find that you do not fully love yourself, you may likely have emotional wounds from days gone by which you’ve never addressed. Address them now, for it is never too late.
As I move forward with the utmost confidence that another fantastic lover will manifest herself in my life, I will continue to work on loving myself and knowing that I deserve great things in life such as the love of another, great job, great business, or whatever it may be. It is up to each person to deserve what they want and accept it when it arrives. And trust me, if you’re wondering if you’ll ever find Mr. or Ms. Right, believe me, you will, but you have to love yourself first. Find out what is blocking you and work on fixing it.
With that, I will leave you with a fantastic quote from the book “Eat, Pray, Love”, by Elizabeth Gilbert. While the author is obsessing about a man who broke her heart, her friend from
“…here’s what you’ve gotta understand, Groceries. If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum in there, an open spot – a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with that doorway? It will rush in-God will rush in –and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed.”