How I Learned Self-love is Really all about Acceptance
I always felt that I was "different", my beliefs, attitudes, and actions. I wanted to fit in, to hide my true self, so nobody would know. I tried to be the kind of person I thought people wanted or expected me to be. And I got reinforced for this behavior as I was the "perfect" compliment to any relationship. Once I thought I had figured out who someone wanted me to be, I was on the way to becoming that artificial person.
It took its toll on my earlier life. At times I misjudged who someone wanted or expected me to be, and felt deep shame as a result. Relationships went by the wayside, as I often couldn't keep up the charade I had created. And I felt guilty for having been someone I wasn't. I wasn't strong enough to expose the real me. I was afraid of being alone and isolated, ridiculed, and unloved.
As years passed, I realize that I tried another way to feel loved. I tried to DO more for others than most people would. I exhausted myself, always anticipating what I could do for others to make their lives easier. And yes, I felt loved. I felt special. But it took its toll on my body. I had to stop and take a hard look at what I was doing, and why I was doing it.
It is only recently that I have come to know and really internalize, that I can love and accept myself, just by being me. I realize that many people feel that they're "different." And in truth, that's the beauty of it. We are all unique, we are all different. And by loving and accepting ourselves we can freely give our gifts to the world. My body is far from perfect. Often my words don't express what I want them to. And I sometimes act in foolish ways. But I don't have to be perfect. I never will be, nor would I want to be. I can laugh at myself, accept myself and my imperfections, and love myself. I can be me.