You Are Worth Loving
I had a different post planned for this week, but then "Be Kind to Yourself" by Andrew Peterson came on my Pandora station and I changed my mind.
There’s a line towards the end that states “How do you win, when the war that you’re in, is just you against you against you? You gotta learn to love your enemy too.”
So that’s what we’re talking about this week, loving yourself.
I took the Clifton StrengthsFinder test my freshman year of college, and individualization is one of my top five. For those of you that don’t know, that means I’m really good at noticing what makes people unique. And I love things that make people unique. I love quirks, I love habits. I love people.
I mentioned last week that my therapist in high school had me make a list of things I love about myself. I found it incredibly hard. At one point it hit me, why was I able to find things I loved about everyone but myself? Better, why am I so good at finding things I love about everyone but myself?
Why was it that the same kind of things I loved about others were the things I hated about myself? Why were they quirks on them, but flaws on me?
In addition to the list my therapist assigned, I made a list of things I believed to be flaws of mine.
Here’s a few examples of what I came up with:
My right eye closes more than my left when I smile.
I’ve been wearing the same necklace every day since I was thirteen.
I only wear converse shoes
I’m more or less obsessed with socks
I wear my watch on my right wrist, even though I’m right-handed
I like to separate food by color (M&Ms, colored goldfish, etc.)
My guess is you’re trying to figure out how these are flaws. That’s exactly it, they’re not. However, at the time I made this list, if I were to have told someone one of these things, I would have started the sentence with “I know it’s weird, but…”
And yet, if anyone else told me they did any of the things I listed above, I’d love it. In my eyes, it would be something that made them unique. Endearing, not off-putting.
Now, this wasn’t an over night revelation and it’s not like I loved myself the next day, but I can honestly say that I do now. Sure, I have moments when I don't, but I've learned to correct the thinking.
I've learned to change thoughts like “I’m weak because I want to hurt myself” to “I’m strong because I’m still alive.” I change “I’m dumb for trying something I knew I’d be bad at” to “I’m brave for trying something new.”
Which was really hard until I realized the trick: if someone I loved told me one of the negative statements, I’d tell them positive statement. I had to learn to build myself up the same way I build others up.
I had to learn to be my own biggest supporter, to root for myself, believe in myself, to treat myself with the love I treat my friends and family with.
After I got the hang of this, I had more energy. It was easier to smile. I was more optimistic about everything. I was able to do more than I ever thought I’d be able to do.
All because I wasn’t hanging out with someone I hated all the time.
Think about it, you spend more time with yourself than anyone else, and it’s exhausting to be around people you don’t like.
Everyone struggles with loving themselves, not just those of us with depression or an anxiety disorder. I’d encourage all of you to try making this list, to find the little things you hate about yourself, and realize they aren’t flaws. They are what make you unique, and they are worth loving.