Do you? I don’t want to sound like a chief, but it’s a really important question to ask, and an even important one to answer. So how can I ask you the question before asking myself.
Do I love myself?
Yes. I love how loyal I am and that I will do anything for a friend or loved one. I love how empathic I am. I love how long my hair is and that everyone has always complimented me on it. I love that I’m a Londoner. I love that I’m from Hackney. Born and raised. I love that I love my cat, that I proper – love my cat. I love that I can write – poems, scripts, blog posts, love letters, lyrics. I love that some people think I’m really cool. I love that when I love a man, I love him deeply. I love that I’m covered in moles and freckles. I love that I can make people laugh. I love that I will give everything I have to others. I love how I’m not afraid to cry. I love that I now garden and know loads of plants names. I love that I am not afraid to be silly.
Uncomfortable to read?
It was uncomfortable to write. Not because I don’t believe those things, because I do, but because I felt self-conscious about how I would be judged by all of you for writing those things, about myself. We are taught not to love ourselves. Some people may have a brutal childhood where the lesson is repeatedly taught, either through watching those around them treat themselves or each other, or how they are directly treated. Others will experience love and support growing up and will still end up not knowing how to love themselves. Feeling embarrassed, even guilty, if they do. Like you can’t own it. Because that would mean you’re full of yourself, and Bieber * will tell you that – you should go and love yourself. Like that’s a bad thing to do.
Do I love myself?
No. I hate that I can be possessive in my friendships. I hate that I will go above and beyond for people because I’m scared if I don’t, they won’t like me. I hate that experiences in my childhood still dictate my behaviours in adulthood. I hate that I am covered in moles and freckles. I hate that I cry all the time. I hate that I can’t finish the script I need to finish. I hate my eyebrows. I hate that I’m so sensitive. I hate that I can be angry when people don’t live up to my expectations of them. I hate that I can be wrapped up in my own feelings.
I could go on.
You might be expecting me to say – wow, that was easier to write, I wonder why..? Because so far I’m suggesting it is easier, or comes more naturally for us to hate ourselves. But no, it was equally as hard because once again, I believe those things. I felt just as uncomfortable writing that I am the most giving and loyal person, as writing that I am the most possessive. Writing both and thinking about it being read by all of you, turns my stomach. Because I really want to be seen, and also not seen, for who I am.
In my experience, getting to know myself, being true to myself, all of me, is how I love myself. Accepting all parts, the wonderful and the difficult, taking care of myself in my entirety. And I’m not saying go to yoga at your gym and eat healthy (not that these things aren’t great) but instead really look after those difficult parts of yourself. How do you do that? By doing the work to process it all, (with a professional can be proper helpful) so that you understand why you behave, react, feel in a certain way. Then you have choices. And when you fuck it up, it makes sense as to why things are going wrong and you try again. Give equal energy to looking after the wonderful parts of yourself too, really celebrate them, really share them. It’s hard work, I’ve been in therapy for five years now, I bloody love it, but it isn’t easy. It’s messy, and surprising, and totally unsurprising, and funny, and brilliant, and painful, and uplifting, and just about everything you could imagine. Whatever strategy or method you chose to use for self-exploration, hopefully you will really begin to know yourself, and that’s what it takes, to really be at home in your own skin.
Wouldn’t that be nice, to be totally at home in your own skin, to be, full of yourself.
So, do you love yourself?
* despite this being the second blog post where I reference Justin Bieber I promise you, I’m not an actual fan. He has got a couple bangers though can’t deny!