The Struggle to Love Myself


love myselfI am thankful to have a lot of love in my life.

I love my husband and the life we’ve built. I love my children, and though I don’t always admit it, I love the chaos of our life. I love my family and friends, lazy weekends, and not wearing “real clothes.” It’s easy to love all those things and be thankful for them.

But I don’t really love myself.

Maybe it’s growing up as the only one of my friends being ushered back and forth between my parent’s homes. Maybe it’s being envious of classmates who lived in nice houses and got to wear the “cool clothes” to school. Maybe it’s from not having a boyfriend in high school or never feeling like the pretty one. Or perhaps it’s from having a college boyfriend who loved to tell me how many girls liked him and how crazy lucky I was that he chose me.

The only times I genuinely remember liking who I am were when I was not caring for myself. I was high anxiety, barely eating, working out often, and the skinniest I had ever been. On the outside, I oozed confidence, even though, inside, I still never felt good enough. I distinctly remember once being at a bar with friends and walking to the bathroom, feeling the eyes of men watching me walk by them. My friend confirmed the looks, and I beamed. But that night, I looked in the mirror and remember thinking my arms weren’t as toned as I would have liked, and my hair wasn’t perfect.

It’s never been enough.

It’s clear to me now that how I felt in those moments wasn’t a true reflection of loving myself. It was loving the control that I had achieved, the power I felt over my body. However, I was more anxious and high-strung than I had ever been.

My life looks quite different now. I have every single thing I had always hoped for. However, it comes at a price. The body I worked hard for doesn’t even slightly resemble what it used to. Stretch marks creep along the areas I used to be proud to show off. And yes, I know we are supposed to be proud of them, but that doesn’t make me feel much better about them when I look in the mirror. An infinite lack of sleep has created permanent dark circles, and I no longer have much control over my caffeine intake to function like an average human. I still compare my life to others. I still wish my home was just a bit bigger, my hips a bit smaller, or that my very kind, wonderful husband told me a bit more that he is lucky to have me.

Recently I lost someone I love very much. It helped propel me into this space of a permanent reminder that LIFE. IS. SHORT. Far too short not to be happy. Far too short to wish I lived someone else’s life. It’s about time for the cycle to be broken.

No, I don’t love myself. But I am trying.

I am trying to focus on just how crazy lucky I am. I am able to create a home with stability for my children. The fact I have so many things others may not: children, a job, a warm bed I fall into every night.

I am actively going to therapy. I spend time alone when I can, thinking about what makes me feel good. I am seeking out experience instead of things. I’m purging the things I don’t use or need and am choosing to do activities, like running or listening to pop 2000s hits on Spotify.

I am reading, listening to podcasts, and journaling. I am trying.

One day I will love myself not for what I look like or what I have but for who I am. I’m unsure when that day will come, but I will keep pursuing it. Life is just far too short. Until then, I will keep working, keep seeking, and continue being thankful for the life I have been given. I may not love myself yet, but I am falling in love with how to get there.