1. You influence my opinion on myself.
I can’t help it. Even if I like the outfit I’m wearing before I leave the house, I’m going to like it a little less if you don’t end up giving me a compliment or even looking my way. My confidence wavers, depending on whether or not you show interest in me. It’s not the way I want it to be, but it’s the way it is.
2. I care about your happiness more than mine.
I want to make you happy. But our happiness seesaws, so whenever your spirits go up, mine go down. I always have to choose between giving you what you want and taking what I want, and I always choose you. That’s why I always end up miserable.
3. I don’t have time to work on myself.
I want to love you right. I want to buy you impromptu gifts and give you back massages and take you out on dates you’ll never forget. But when I do all of those things, I’m taking away precious time I could be using to pamper myself.
4. You’re the only thing I can think about.
I should be focused on my career, on my schooling, and on my friends, so I can reach the place I want in life. But I have trouble concentrating on my work, because you keep drifting in and out of my thoughts. You’re always there to distract me from the more important things, the things that could help me learn to love myself.
5. I want your love more than I want my own love.
I don’t care if I see myself as a desperate attention-seeker, as long as you see me as something special. I’m more concerned with your perception of me than my own self-image, and that’s a problem. I’ll do anything to make you like me, and that’s why I don’t like myself very much.
6. It seems pretty damn difficult.
I know every single thing I’ve ever done wrong. I can vividly recall all of the fights I’ve started and tears I’ve shed. Learning to love myself seems like an impossible task, so I’d rather focus on making you love me. After all, you don’t know all the crap that I know.
7. I have no incentive to like myself.
“You need to love yourself before you can love anyone else” is bullshit. If I thought the phrase spoke the truth, maybe I could take a step back from you and work on myself, but I know it’s a lie. I’m not a fan of myself, but I’ve loved before. That love was just as valuable as anyone else’s, so why should I even bother to learn to love myself?
8. …But it’s something I know I have to do.
If this is what you do to me, if you stop me from appreciating my body and recognizing my inner beauty, then I can’t keep loving you. I have to let you go. I don’t mind spending a few months alone, if it means I’ll have enough time to learn to love myself. And when I’m ready to date again, I’ll find someone who will accept my love while letting me leave enough room in my heart to love myself, too.