The ideology behind the saying ‘love yourself’ is really being given an emphasis in our generation today or so it is really starting to imprint itself onto my being lately though, I can’t help but wonder, ‘why only now?. Like most things, self-love is really easier said than done; not everyone finds it easy to find beauty in their flaws, struggles their life’s behind-the-scenes in general and even their selves in general. For some of us, it has become easier to dwell in our shortcomings rather than to be overjoyed with our achievements, bringing ourselves down has become comforting even to the extent wherein being given compliments is something to be skeptical about. I am writing this passage in hopes of shedding light , giving advice and also as a way for me to further overcome an all too familiar issue that I’ve struggled and is somehow still struggling with, and that is the issue of self-loathing and eventually I will also try to elaborate on my definition of self-love and my journey perhaps.
Self-loathing stems from various sorts of reasons, experiences, coping mechanisms, defense mechanisms and whatnot varying from person to person. I am fortunate enough to have realized that a massive contributor to my self -hatred come from constantly feeling the need to compare myself to others regardless of our age difference, our upbringing etc. and I swear, I’ve never felt genuinely good about it nor have I felt that I gained anything good from doing such, even once. It is undeniably one of the most toxic things one could ever get habituated into doing because there’s just really no bright side when you compare yourself to others, even if you find yourself better than the person you’re comparing yourself to, still, you end up feeling bad for the other and of course, vice versa. I mostly feel sorry for myself at the end of the day. Besides, comparing yourself to other people is a category mistake in the first place; Nonetheless, I wasted a quarter of my life unaware of how unhealthy it was to be doing such and honestly speaking, I’m still trying my best up to this moment to stop comparing so much, I know a lot of people suffer from this too either consciously or unconsciously.
The thing is, self-loathing isn’t exactly the most obvious thing to notice unless explicitly being announced, but even when we hear someone talk down on themselves, it isn’t exactly being taken seriously most of the time. Self-loathing subliminally manifests into a lot of personal issues like being too apologetic, insecurity, feeling strained, having low standards and low self-esteem and even the need to inflict that hatred to others. I remember having a specific phase in my life wherein I was utterly uncomfortable in my own skin. At that time, I would always avoid eye contact and felt really uneasy whenever I felt someone’s gaze on me, all I thought about whilst someone was looking at me was the possible flaws they could notice, from the way I look, talk and act. Consequently, I also felt as if the things I do were never and will never be enough to anyone, even my parents. I had wondered once about the possibility of me being adopted but then again I thought that even if I was adopted, why would they pick me in the first place? Yes, it came to that extent and so I settled with only the things I thought I could get, which wasn’t much; I settled with half-assed and mediocre things, grades, interactions, moments and aspirations. My friends thought my self-depreciating jokes were funny though and I also found such jokes to be the funniest even when someone else makes them, more or less, internet memes about such were quite entertaining. However, the thing is that they weren’t really helping.
Such a kind of humor that revolves around self-loathing doesn’t necessarily help in the long run even though face-value wise it can undeniably make you laugh and can be quite comforting to think that you are not alone, that the person who made such a relatable meme also feels the same way about himself/herself, but when you really delve into it, it could really add more fuel into your self-hatred to the point wherein it becomes normalized into your being and is hard to overcome. It’s one thing to laugh at yourself but dwelling on the assumption that you aren’t and will never be worth much is a whole new vicious and unhappy cycle.
It also got to a point wherein I couldn’t contain my hate for myself anymore that I somehow hated other people who reminded me of myself too. Although I would never insult anyone explicitly, I focused on people’s flaws and shortcomings in my head. I was in one hell of a rut, sometimes I feel like I still am but not that often anymore because slowly but surely, I like to believe, I am learning to love myself. I started wanting to love myself when I got fed up of being ashamed of myself and feeling so burdened with the weight of living that I’ve implied upon myself. It’s just so suffocating and my posture was really getting worse each passing day that I’ve succumbed into my hatred and pity in myself and it didn’t really take much time before I realized that this wasn’t the way to go about life.
Anyway, a point among many points is that self-loathing is a real struggle that promotes pessimism, mediocrity, self-sabotage, other unhealthy whatnot, and ultimately self- destruction; we have to acknowledge it, understand where it is coming from and if it’s even valid to feel a certain hatred for ourselves (because for me, unless you’re a rapist, a murderer or have done something unacceptably wrong, you should go easy on yourself) and eventually learn to overcome it with the most efficient way to counter it, which is self- love. It may seem cheesy at first but a decent amount of self-love could really save you from a lot of pain, strain and confusion in the future; everyone deserves and should be utterly comfortable in their own skin and with who they relentlessly are. Loving yourself is holistically knowing thyself and cutting yourself some slack. Of course, you should do so in your own pace, take baby steps if you’d like, hold someone else’s hands, someone who is compassionate, and let them help you whilst trying to do so. Also, love yourself in a relatively healthy way like trying to be all aspects of well, being healthy for the sheer sake of feeling good within yourself and about yourself; Treat yourself right. Thereafter, If you feel like you don’t have much to love about yourself, strive to discover or have more things to love about yourself that doesn’t necessarily arise from materialistic tendencies, what you invest into your being should always be your priority- these were the ideologies I adapted to start my journey. However, the road to self-love, as expected ,isn’t quite easy, you may find yourself relapsing and having a setback every once in a while- it is also expected, but as long as you keep trying ,even after those relapses, you’ll be alright. I’ll say it once more, Cut yourself some slack, little by little and stay grounded.