My Experience with a Lack of Self-Love

I cried for validation. I pleaded for their acceptance. I apologized for needing to be loved fully.

I had no clue of how powerful I was because I had no one to reflect it back to me. The way in which I lived was constant streams of violence towards myself. I didn’t know what it felt like to trust myself. I was afraid of losing people that didn’t understand me. Fear was a frequent commuter through my veins. The disapproving remarks of those closest to me fueled my self-loathing. I believed that I had no one. I felt like a no one. Though my body was present, my heart was inflamed and my eyes bellowed worry. I believed that other people didn’t care about who I truly was. Living in my body felt like a nail filled coffin. I would ask all of the wrong people for support, people who were more interested in gossiping about my suffering than intervening.

Not being able to love myself was an invisible disability. I couldn't seem to get life right no matter how hard I worked or the accolades I received, my inner lovelessness would alway resurface. Happiness would always be in a boat too far away. Not being able to love myself was a hallowing feeling. It was an ever collapsing tower, a hole in my spirit—everything seemed to slip through it.

When I begged for the complete presence of another, I had lost connection to myself. I was convinced that their attentiveness was more valuable than the honor of my own energy. When I chased love, I was telling myself that I was not worthy of love. Externalizing my value communicated directly to my inner child that I forgot what was sacred about me, I didn't recognize myself as a reflection of the divine.

Today, I pray to the version of myself that begged for my lover to stop dishonoring me and the person that mourned the loss of trust in friendships in which no one show up. I revisit that human that cried solitary in an alley inaudibly in horror. I offer that human solace in my resurrection. I offer them a place to speak and to rest their heart. I give them love, nourishment, and guard all of their reservations. I let them live in my present. We create our life in concert. I remind them daily that we are free. Together we guard ourself fiercely and lovingly.

I have an offering for those of you who are reading. It is an anchoring exercise for when you forget who tf you are. You are going to cycle these words through your head and chant them. As you chant them, break down both part of the words. Direct the duty of your work to yourself and allow the weight of the verb that follows to settle. Breathe deeply and consistently as you cycle the words in your mind. Surrender to the thoughts and feelings that may come up as you think about how they may apply to you.

Snag a moment for self-contemplation. Bring yourself to a comfortable posture. Inhale for four, hold it for four, and let it go for eight. Do this 4 times. Bring these three virtues to your mind: self-validation, self-acceptance, and self-love. Isolate each part of the word, and allow yourself to sit with that. What does it mean to chiefly assign yourself the duty of validation, acceptance, and love for yourself?

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