When did it happen?
I ask myself the question when it’s 4 a.m. and I can’t sleep, but I don’t have an answer. I think about the days I used to be confident. Self-assured. I used to take life by the horns, and I loved every minute of it. More importantly, I loved who I was when I did.
But somewhere along the way, I stopped remembering what it felt like to be happy. More specifically, I forgot what it felt like to be happy with myself.
When did it happen?
I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but somewhere along the line I stopped understanding what the world saw in me. Compliments fell flat from loved one’s tongues and the person staring back at me in the mirror became a stranger. I hated to be alone anymore — when no one else was around, I was left listening to the thoughts of a girl I could no longer stand.
So, when did it happen? When did I forget how to love myself?
Maybe I was so busy breaking myself into pieces for other people that I forgot to save something for me. Maybe you did the same thing, too.
You send good morning texts to your significant other, you buy flowers for your best friend, you treat your parents to their favorite meal. You’d do anything for the people in your life. But what about you? What do you do for yourself?
Maybe we try to lose ourselves in the people who love us so we don’t have to worry about loving ourselves.
That’s the thing: falling in love with someone else is easy. Falling in love with yourself isn’t.
Because falling in love with yourself is a process. It’s learning to forgive yourself. For every mistake, every letdown, every downfall. It’s looking past your flaws and accepting your imperfections. It’s being compassionate toward yourself, being understanding of your own shortcomings and problems. It’s recognizing that you don’t need someone else’s pieces to be whole, because you are enough, exactly as you are.
Maybe we ought to treat ourselves the way we treat the people we love.
Maybe we should buy ourselves flowers and treat ourselves to our favorite meals. Maybe we should write ourselves love letters and poems, leave sticky notes with sweet “good mornings” on our bedroom doors.
Maybe we deserve to woo ourselves every now and then, the way we’ve always wanted to be wooed. Maybe we deserve it.
So say nice things about yourself, do nice thinks for yourself, and love yourself. Love yourself deeply and endlessly and unconditionally. Like you’re your own best friend, your own lover, your own confidante. Love yourself the way you love others, without judgment or resentment. Remember that you deserve every ounce of love you give. Remind yourself every day.
And it won’t be easy. It may take days, or weeks, or months. Some days it will be so hard you’ll want to walk out the door on yourself and leave the person you are behind. But love yourself anyway, even when you don’t like yourself. Even when the compliments feel fake, and you don’t recognize the girl in the mirror, and you can’t stand to listen to your own thoughts. Don’t give up on yourself. Even on bad days, you are worth it.
So love yourself. Not because someone else thinks you deserve it, but because you know you do. And that’s something worth remembering.