A few days back, I was watching a series on Amazon Prime, Four More Shots Please, where one of the four protagonists says, “Self-love ka rasta bhi self-hate se hokar jata hai” meaning, it is self-loathing that leads us on to the path to self-love. I totally agree with her. Accepting ourselves and then loving us for who we are begin with believing others and hating ourselves for what they see.
Inside, we know that we don’t want to live like this. We don’t want to hustle for our worthiness. We just want people to accept us for who we are and love us like this. But how can they if we can’t accept and love ourselves the way we are? And even if someone truly loves us, we constantly doubt their feelings and intentions thinking that they want something else from us. Even when the other person accepts us, we are not able to accept them fully and that leads us on a life unfulfilled.
I reflected on my journey from self-hate to self-love and listed nine toxic things that continue to happen until we begin to love ourselves.
#1 You think everyone is better than you.
What they have got is worth millions and stuff of dreams, but what you have is nothing more than stinky mud. You walk around with a brain whose default setting is a comparison and highlighting the many ways you are unfortunate. This pushes you deeper and deeper into depression until your self-esteem is buried into the rock bottom.
#2 You cling to people’s opinions like a prize.
One negative remark from them and all your bathroom mirror conversations start revolving around it. Even when someone says good things about you, you doubt their intentions and feel that they are lying just to cheer you up. Your life gets filled with negativity you can’t escape and your confidence becomes invisible.
#3 You do things to please others and yet it doesn’t work.
When you seek validation from others, you plan your day and life around their opinions and what they think you should be doing. So, you ape them, make yourself more agreeable and low maintenance, and make futile attempts to make them love you. However, the more you try, the more you fail and become an object of public humiliation. And so, you close your doors to the world.
#4 Your past haunts you and you become risk-averse.
You forget that risk can also bring great rewards. You don’t trust your feelings, gut and heart and so, you just go on doing what you have been told to like a robot. Soon, your life becomes monotonous and uninspiring which makes you feel that this is what you deserve for being so awkward and weird and whatever negative opinions people have held about you in the past.
#5 You crave for authentic relationships, but can’t find any.
Since you don’t trust yourself, you find it difficult to trust others too, especially those who genuinely care for you. You kick-start a cycle of events to push them out of your life and then, reaffirm your beliefs that you are not worthy of deep relationships and that’s why they left you. You remind yourself never to fall for people’s words again because they are not true; even when they say they’ll stay, they’ll leave. Here, you forget that it was you who forced them out again and again.
#6 You try to portray a pseudo-happy life on social media.
You want connections, but you are always scared that if people get to know about you, they’ll hate you. So, you engage in pseudo-connections where you can keep people at an arm’s length and stay in the bubble that you have friends who “like” you and your “social life” on social media.
#7 You fill your life with noise and distractions.
Without deep connections and authentic conversations, your life seems empty. But this emptiness eats you alive and so, you bring mindless things to keep you occupied and busy. Often, you try to numb your feelings and indulge in self-harm with words and actions.
#8 Whenever anything goes wrong, you immediately believe it’s your fault.
When you don’t love yourself, you shrink and become very small. You start to believe that it’s unsafe for others to be around you. Even when something goes wrong, you immediately accept the blame despite knowing that you did nothing wrong. Out of fear of losing the other person or maintaining your agreeable image, you declare everything to be your fault.
#9 You are always bitter, angry and unforgiving.
Bitten in the past and unable to forgive yourself, you grow cold and prejudiced. In order to preserve your sensitive heart, you raise your standards and expectations to unrealistic levels. So, when others are not able to live up to them, you hide your disappointment under the cloak of anger and resentment which takes you further from self-love.
In short, when you don’t love yourself, everything else comes first while you come last. Sometimes, you are not even on the list because you feel you are too insignificant and would rather be a background. Loving yourself is the complete opposite of this — you have wholehearted relationships, you are able to forgive yourself, you come across as a kind and gifted person who honours herself as well as others.
The road to self-love is quite rocky. You’ll bruise yourself, run into crossroads, and often, question who you are. But the journey will be worthwhile. Its first stop is accepting that all this is happening because you don’t love yourself and that you need to do something about it.
Are you experiencing all these nine things? Or someone you know does? Then, share it with them and help them to begin their journey to self-love.