Hi hi wonderful people of the interwebz!
In the words of one of my idols, RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?” I unfortunately had to learn this the hard way.
Before my last relationship, I was in a really good place mentally. I was a senior in college. Feeling healthy and confident in my body. I had just come out to most of my close friends and was showered with so much love and acceptance from them. I was dating. I thought I loved myself. I thought that feeling good about myself, however fleeting it was, was loving myself. But I didn’t have a clue.
I dated my ex for nearly two years, moved to another state to be with her, and thought I was going to quite possibly spend my life with her. I thought I loved myself when I met her. But quickly I realized that as I was falling for her, I was destroying myself. I was obliterating myself. I was changing myself to fit what I thought she needed and wanted. The relationship slowly broke me into a million pieces, to the point that I didn’t care about myself anymore whatsoever. I hated who I was and there were very few remnants of the person I once was. The person I was before the relationship. The person I thought I loved.
But I didn’t understand that I didn’t love myself before that relationship, I just loved how my life was going. And when I started to hate how my life was going, I started to hate myself. I remember making a list of all the qualities that I didn’t like about myself and trying to figure out how to change them. Beating my brain trying to come up with actual ways to change. Looking back it is very sad to remember that because the list was long. The negativity was seeping out of my pores. And part of the reason my relationship ended was because of how I sacrificed myself. I thought I was doing everything to keep her in my life, but in reality I was driving her even farther away from me because I didn’t know who I was anymore. And neither did she.
I learned a very important lesson (among others) from the ending of that relationship. I learned how important my relationship with myself is. How it is more important than any other relationship I have. How imperative it was that I pick up the pieces and get myself to a place of self love. I thought self care and self love was a crock of shit for so long. I didn’t have to like myself if I was busy giving all my love and energy to someone else. But I was wrong.
After the relationship ended, I was in a dark place. It profoundly impacted me and I was extremely lost. I didn’t know who I was anymore and when you don’t know who you are, it is very difficult to love yourself. But I knew that not loving myself was part of the reason the relationship ended the way it did. I knew I had to finally make my relationship with myself a priority. Above almost everything else. And little by little, I started to feel like myself again. I started to remember why depression hadn’t swallowed me whole when it had the chance. I started to remember what I liked about myself at one point in time.
Now over a year later, I understand what RuPaul means. My relationship with myself has to come first no matter what. No matter how much I love someone else. I cannot sacrifice myself. And I shouldn’t feel like I have to. If my relationship with myself suffers so do all my other relationships. I can’t be the person I want to be if I don’t love myself. If my relationship with myself isn’t strong and healthy, I can’t expect my other relationships to be that way either. Don’t sacrifice yourself loves. Your relationship with yourself is so important. If you wouldn’t say what you’re saying to yourself to your best friend or someone you really love, don’t say it to yourself. Don’t even think it. Be patient with yourself. Realize how important you are. Love yourself.