The internet is flooded with quotes about self-love, self-acceptance, and self-worth; and quote lovers like me happily pin, retweet and repost them on social media. These quotes were designed to inject a load of self-worth into our lives. For some, it’s the power they need to leap into the world and be unapologetic-ally themselves; but for others, they are just quotes—mere words strung together to invoke emotions and subsequent actions—emotions they don’t have, actions they can’t exhibit.
The concept of self-love is understood by many but practised by only a few. It’s easier to say to someone, “Just love yourself, don’t let them get to you,” than to walk a mile in their shoes. It’s also easier to look in from the outside and judge, than to draw close and be empathetic.
There are many people whose past experiences have altered their lives and changed their perspective on self-love. In short, some wounds cut deep, leave nasty scars, and one look at these scars bring back painful memories that sometimes manifests as a deep struggle to love oneself. This happens because they blame themselves for what happened and proceed to throw caution to the wind, and shut everyone out, including themselves.
Guilt often freezes people in the past and repeatedly thrusts accusing fingers in their faces. It echoes words like, “You’ll never amount to anything,” or “You don’t deserve any good thing in life.” These words are accepted because it’s easier to forgive someone than to forgive yourself. Some people struggle to love themselves simply because they feel they are undeserving of their own love due to the errors in their actions.
People who suffer from depression rarely share the sentiments of happy people. This psychological illness affects the mind and general outlook of life. When someone is struggling with rapid weight gain or weight loss, insomnia, inability to concentrate, hallucinations, and seclusion, self-love is often the last thing on their mind. Sometimes, people struggle to love themselves because they are depressed and have reached a point where life has lost meaning.
To love yourself means to genuinely accept who you are regardless of all the things you wish you could change about yourself. Some people struggle with self love because they keep fighting who they are. It could be that they don’t like their reflection in the mirror or where they are in life. Self-love walks hand in hand with self-acceptance, to have one is to have the other. It’s impossible to love yourself without accepting who you are.
Some people struggle to love themselves because they have never felt loved. We are trained to unconsciously mirror what we see and feel; but it’s hard to exhibit something you’ve never seen, felt, or experienced in your life.