Self-love is not easy. You don’t stand in front of the mirror and repeat positive affirmations to yourself and suddenly feel better. You don’t make the choice to be happy and have it magically come true. You don’t stand a little straighter and hold your head up high and — voila! — your problems are solved.
You can realize that you need to make a change. You can be perfectly aware that the voice inside of your head needs to shift from being critical to loving. But after a lifetime of failing and calling yourself a useless, of getting rejected and calling yourself unlovable, of acting awkward and calling yourself an idiot, it’s hard to flip a switch and treat yourself with the respect you deserve.
It’s really hard not to treat yourself like a piece of shit — even if you are willingly putting in the effort. Even if you are trying your hardest to see the good in yourself.
Self-love is a personal journey. You have to do it on your own. It’s not something that your friends can help you with, although they might act like they are helping at first.
When you make a comment about how much weight you’ve gained or how pimply your skin has gotten, your friends will tell you that you’re beautiful. When you put yourself down, they will tell you that you are being ridiculous. That you should stop speaking that way about yourself because you are valuable.
Those friends will tell you that you have no reason to feel insecure. That you should start taking better care of yourself. That you should put yourself first because you deserve it. But once you actively start trying to love yourself, those same people will change their tune.
There will be times when you cancel on a friend because you need the rest and they will get pissed off at you. There will be times when you decide to take a mental health day and then get screamed at by your parents for being lazy.
There will be times when you cut unhealthy people out of your life and will be accused of being bitchy and ungrateful and a grudge-holder. There will be times when you reach out to a friend to talk about your feelings and they will completely disregard what you have to say because they want to talk about their problems.
There will be times when you do what is best for your own mental state and are called selfish even though those same people were just telling you to take better care of yourself.
It’s fucked up, but once you start loving yourself, once you start treating yourself as a first priority and putting other people second, they will decide that they liked you better when you were insecure. They liked you better when they got what they wanted out of you.
That’s why it takes a shit-ton of strength to love yourself. You might lose friends in the process. You might lose your sanity in the process. But all that will be worth it once you are able to look into the mirror and say, “You know what, I actually like this person.”