I often think about my journey with self-love and how most of my life has been spent void of self-love and depending on others for my sense of self-worth. I was deeply reminded by this after listening to Demi Lovato’s song, “Tell Me You Love Me”. I remember when I first heard this song and how I felt like it completely embodied my experience in my last relationship. I needed to be loved so badly, so I welcomed and become comforted by a toxic relationship. I know I wasn’t perfect in the relationship and I brought my fair share of issues to it, but the biggest issue I believe that I brought, was not loving myself, depending on him for everything, and feeling like I deserved the emotional abuse I endured.
The song talks about how Demi doesn’t know who she is without her partner, and that she needs him to tell her he loves her. She even goes on to say that she isn’t anyone if she doesn’t have a partner. I experienced all of the same. For most of the relationship, I couldn’t bare the thought of it ending, because the idea of being alone meant I was worthless. I didn’t even want to know what life felt like outside of my comfort zone of pain. It felt too difficult to walk away, I almost felt paralyzed. And I can remember over and over asking him to tell me he loved me. I needed to know that even despite the week long fights, the terrible things said, that I was still loved. I thought I might break if he no longer loved me, because I had no idea what love was for myself.
We always hear that we can’t love someone until we love ourselves. I think we can certainly love others before we love ourselves, but we likely will not be able to love well. We won’t be able to see our worth, and therefore we will silently turn our heads to bad things done to us. We won’t be able to accept love given to us, without feeling like we aren’t deserving. We might stay in toxic relationships, even though we want and deserve better.
I don’t think we should choose self-love in the hopes that once we love ourselves we can find a healthy and loving relationship. I think we should choose self-love for ourselves. I think we should decide that we are worthy of giving love to ourselves, rather than seeking it out. I think we should develop a foundation so strong, that even when relationships come and go, we can remember that we are worthy of more and that we can endure even when we don’t have a partner. I think we should know and accept ourselves exactly as we are. Again, not for someone else, but for ourselves. Because we owe it to ourselves.
I think the best thing I did for myself after leaving that toxic relationship, was on a random morning, waking up and saying to myself that I loved myself. It was awkward and uncomfortable and I truly did not believe that statement at all. But it sparked a journey for me, one where I began to want to hear “I love you” from myself, and not from others. After doing the work, it got to this point where having someone in my life only became an addition, and not a need. I remember I wanted that so badly for my life, to know how to make myself happy, so that I did not depend on others to do it for me. And when it happened for me, it was so incredibly beautiful.
I think sometimes it is neccessary for us to go through these experiences, to understand that we deserve better and that we are completely full and complete on our own, regardless of if we have a partner or not.
My wish for you is that you find the strength within you to choose you today and every day. I hope that you find the strength to walk away from people not good for you. I hope you choose to invest in you, because you matter. I hope you realize that you are already worthy exactly as you are. And I hope that you can realize these things for yourself, rather than needing someone else to tell you.
But if you need the extra boost today – You are beautiful. You are loved. You are amazing.
Tell yourself that, I mean really stop what you’re doing and tell yourself. Because it is true. And when you learn to love yourself, those toxic people drift away, because you know deep in your heart, that you are worth more.