Real Stories

I Love You, I Love You Not

Oh let me count the ways…in which I don’t love myself. There is an abundance of self-help articles telling you How to Love Yourself in 10 Steps and How to Be Your Own Best Friend, and that’s great. But here’s the fine print: No one can teach you how to love you except you.

Self-love is a continuous journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance but I found myself having a difficult time with both, feeling as if there was a roadblock between my intentions and my hardwiring. Turns out that roadblock was created from subconsciously combining self-love with conditional love, where the level of how much I loved myself depended on my ability to continuously meet certain conditions.

I attributed my sense of worth to the amount of success I achieved in society’s standards.

I based my level of attraction on the amount of acknowledgement I gained from others.

And I gained confidence from the possession of external items.

These three pillars became the foundation of my self-love.

This vicious push-pull cycle grew into a life filled with “I love you” one day and “I love you not” another. What I would later come to realize is that it was impossible to sustain a constant level of self-love when the foundation was built upon pillars that would always be impermanent— society’s definition of success, standards of beauty, and acknowledgment from others.

So when I was put in a position where I could no longer meet any of my self-love conditions, all three pillars came tumbling down in one fell swoop. My self-love turned into self-hate because I had no idea how to love myself when there was nothing physical to attain. This internal war lasted a couple years until I realized that I do not have to like everything about myself to be able to love myself unconditionally.

So where I am now? Trying to shift the conditional to the unconditional. First, by acknowledging that self-awareness is half the battle. Then, by starting to find the parts within myself that I already love and remembering to complement myself about them. Lastly, by acknowledging the parts that I despise and learning to send even more love to those areas (because they need it more).

I am pushing forward remembering that external things are forever fleeting but the love I have for myself should never be.

by Cindal Ma

I’m a California-based blogger who focuses on personal growth, self-development, and the art of introspection. I hope my writing resonates with you, brightens your day, consoles your heart, sparks inspiration or at the very least, gives you a little bit of calm in this crazy thing we call life.


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