Before Loving You, I Love Myself
Let me tell you that before giving myself to you I need to give me to myself, to get to know all my nooks and crannies, and go into the most silent and dark areas of my soul. I want to know each and every one of my secrets, to know what is good for me and what is bad, and to dig deeper into why. I am one of those who thinks that before I love you, you have to know how to say I love myself to be fair to others.
I need to know what my wounds are and at one point do they start bleeding again. Know my strengths and know what is what defines me most, what footprint will I leave, my strengths … so that at the right time I can give it to you with a smile. I prefer first to love myself so that I can healthily and correctly love you. And if you are still in doubt, do not worry, when you finish reading this letter you will understand everything I say.
When I didn’t know how to love myself
I began to realize the importance of loving myself when I had forgotten to do it. Just when I was at my worst and I dedicated myself to begging for love from others to feel good.
My false welfare depended on the approval of others and their state of mind. If they decided to value me and give me some flattery, I thought I was happy, but when they criticized and despised me, I considered myself a failure. Without knowing it, I handed the keys of my well-being to whoever, forgetting about myself.
As I arrived I ended up being the one that other people loved and for me I was a complete stranger. I did not even know what I liked, where I wanted to go or what my dreams were because they told me everything. I denied myself the opportunity to meet myself, although the truth is that I did not even know that this was possible.
One day I exploded, alone, but I did it. At first I did not know what was happening to me, I just felt discomfort and cried, but with the passage of time I realized that it was myself, calling for help. From there, I began to become aware that I could not remain half a person at the expense of what others thought. I got tired of being the one who made others feel better and I began to discover myself little by little. I started to love myself.
I love myself as I am, imperfect but authentic
Suddenly I was aware that I could be more independent than I imagined, that my opinion was also valid and that my eyes were beautiful. I loved to realize that I knew how to act without others giving me their approval (although believe me, it cost me that …).
I liked myself, I wondered how I was doing, and if the day had turned cloudy, I even made plans for what to do when the sun came out. I no longer needed others to tell me what I was worth because I, in my own way, was able to recognize it; If they gave me any criticism or if I did not know how to do something, I did not doubt myself.
I learned to love my shortcomings and try to improve them and to value my achievements and skills, and with that I abandoned the obsessive thought of being perfect to please everyone. Now, I love my imperfections because otherwise it would be like amputating a part of me …
I want to be authentic before you and not pretend to be who I am not.
I love myself to avoid you rescuing me
Surely you will wonder what loving myself has to do with being able to love you, but you need to know this because that way you will understand how my relationship with you could have been if I didn’t even give a penny about myself.
If I didn’t love myself, I would put the weight on your shoulders to remind me of who I am and to be constantly satisfying my doubts about your love and my distrust. You would be responsible for how I feel or at least how I would perceive things and act accordingly. You would have to rescue me every time my insecurities appeared on the scene to question my value.
It would not be a healthy love, but rather our relationship would be an attempt to heal my wounds. With this I do not say that when I feel bad, do not give me your heat or offer me your arms as a refuge, but you are not responsible for reminding me every day of who I am and how much I am worth so that I can feel good. This is my task.
I refuse to be the one who pays for the ghosts of my past. That’s why I need time to love myself, to locate my fears and my vulnerabilities and not drag them into our relationship to harm us. Because you do not have to rescue me or save me from my emptiness, you’re not my savior.
I love myself in order to give you my best and not make you responsible for my problems. I love myself because my purpose is to grow with you.
What I want is to share my path with you based on trust and understanding to build a love free from need and keep growing. That’s why before I love you, I love myself. Because I do not want to get lost in the relationship but lose myself with you.
Images courtesy of Clare Elsaesser