Learning to Love Yourself: Part One

Greetings, friends, and this is going to be a new series that I feel could be the most important one. I was massively infatuated with a friend of mine for a little while, and they said that before I love someone, I need to love myself first. This was because she knew I had problems with myself. I always hated myself because I never looked past the negative surface to see the positives that rested just barely below the surface. I’m not some master psychologist or a monk that lived up on a hill for thousands of years to learn the meaning of happiness—I’m a regular young adult who’s fed up with feeling sadness all the time. So, I figure that if I can change how I look at myself, that will be a great place to start.

Keep in mind that I’m on this journey with you guys. I’m not exactly super enlightened or anything like that; I’m still dealing with depression and I’ll likely have it for the rest of my life, but I’ll constantly work at being happy and making others happy.

Let’s start small; that’s the most important part. We all need to start somewhere, don’t we? Keep in mind that even on a journey to happiness, you’ll be sad, but that’s okay. It’s fine to have a moment of weakness, but keep in mind that the weakness is not what defines you—it’s how you react, how you pick yourself back up again. That’s the part that matters: your strength.

To start off, I want to begin with what seems to be a counterproductive measure, and you’ll see why shortly. The voice actor James Arnold Taylor had a video about this and that was the first episode of his JAT 365 series I saw, and it really stuck with me. He mentioned that someone is always thinking about us. There’s always someone thinking about you; take that in any context you’d like, but as soon as he said that, a smile spread across my face. I like to think that I’ve made some sort of impact in the lives of people around me, and that maybe, someone’s thinking about me. Even if it’s just members of my family, knowing that someone is thinking fondly of me lifts my spirits a little.

You can deny it all you want and say “no one cares enough to think about me”, but you’d be surprised. To further his point, James Arnold Taylor prompted the question “who are you thinking about?”, and that thought really resonated with me. As if James knew, after he asked that question, he laughed a little as if he knew he made the kind of good point that makes everyone in the audience go “ohhh…” To make a bit more sense out of this, the reason this is a good point is because he makes you realize how naturally you can think about someone who’s made some sort of impact on your life. It could be someone who rear-ended you on the way to work, or a kind stranger who saw the glum look on your face and smiled at you. Have you ever taken the time to think about how much of an impact you make on the lives of others every day by the simplest of choices?

Now, how does this help us with our journey to learning to love ourselves? Here’s what it does for me—it’s a motivator. Knowing that at least one person is thinking about me fondly makes me realize that there must be qualities in myself that person is fond of, so why can’t I be fond of myself? This leads me to the most important, and maybe the hardest, part of this step—looking past your flaws and embracing the beauty within and without. This is such an easy thing to shrug off if you’ve spent your life thinking you don’t look good, which ruins your self esteem, which ruins your confidence. And when you lack confidence, it will feel like no one thinks you look good, so it worsens how you look at yourself. It’s an endless downhill slope. Sadly, it’s much easier to fall downhill and just succumb to the momentum and gravity of it all than to climb uphill, but the uphill climb is what we need to be doing.

See the beauty in yourself! See the beauty in your flaws and imperfections the way I do to myself and those around me. Gradually understand that you are an amazing person with the capability to do incredible things. It’s a difficult process if you’ve been living in denial for so long, but I promise it’s worth it. Love others, and love yourself. Live by these words.

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