Why It’s So Hard to Love Yourself And How It Can Change Your Life

Loving myself has not always been something on my radar. In fact, if you would have asked me five years ago, I would have told you that the idea of “loving myself” seemed sort of secondary to the really important things in life—you know, like loving other people. The whole thing seemed a little too self-focused for me.

But then one day I was having a conversation with a friend who is a huge “Love Yourself!” advocate. She was asking me how things were going and I was telling her about a few different frustrating circumstances in my life. I mentioned the job where I was working and how I felt like I was always being taken advantage of by my boss. I told her about the relationship I was in and how I felt like I was constantly being criticized and even manipulated.

It seems like nothing I ever did was good enough.

LoveYourself2 (1)

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I admitted that I felt under-appreciated for my contributions or hard work. My tendency was to support, to say “yes,” to go with the flow, to concede my point first, to avoid arguing, and at the end of the day, I felt like so many of my friends and significant others and employers took advantage of that.

If I was being really honest, I told her, I often felt overlooked, overburdened, and like I never really got what I wanted.

What do you want? She asked.

I stood there and looked at her for a few minutes with that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. The truth was I didn’t even know.

It wasn’t until later that I would learn this is really common experience for people—especially women—who work their entire lives to be accepted and considered desirable by others but who have no idea who they truly are or what matters to them. The concept of loving themselves is foreign, not just because they have misunderstood what it means, but also because they don’t even know who their “selves” really are.

“We try to appear attractive, nice, good, valid, legitimate or worthy to someone else instead of discovering what we actually feel and want for ourselves. In this kind of conscious or unconscious arrangment, other people are expected to provide our own feelings over power, worth, or vitality at the expense of our authentic development.” —Polly Young-Eisendrath, Women & Desire

While it might feel or seem like we’re being “selfless” by focusing on others and forgetting about ourselves, the truth is this is not selfless at all. In fact, a person who forfeits her sense of self ends up relying on others inordinately to support her and validate her and make her feel okay.

Loving ourselves is more important than we ever realized.

That’s what I learned as I sat there talking to my friend. After my rant, she didn’t tell me I should quit my job or even that I should end certain friendships or leave my relationship. In fact, she put the ball completely in my court. She told me: “You need to raise your opinion of yourself.

If you don’t love yourself,” she said, “you’ll have a hard time finding or experiencing love from others.”

I looked at her skeptically.

“And you won’t be able to truly love anyone until you’re able to love yourself.”

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I believed her. But I was also desperate. I felt like a hollow, emptied out shell of a human being and I needed to be filled up. So I told her I would give this “raising my opinion of myself” a try and I asked her what I should do next. She referred me to a few books.

Here’s what she recommended:

Over the course of the next few months, as I read these books and developed a curiosity about what it would look like to raise my opinion of myself and learn how to cultivate self-love, I began to practice some of the tactics I learned. I wasn’t sure they would make a difference.

As it turns out, love is an incredibly powerful force in this world and we have endless supplies of it to give, as long as we can learn to first accept the love that’s freely and readily available to us.

Here are just a few ways my life changed as I learned to love myself.

1. Your physical health improves

If you haven’t ever considered the connection between your mind and your body before, it can sound a little bit strange. But think about this: what happens to you when you feel fear? Your hair stands up on the back of your neck, you may get goosebumps, your heart-rate increases. This is the mind-body connection.

Your physical body responds to an emotional state you experience.

It’s really as simple as that.

A great book that unpacks the mind-body connection is called You Can Heal Your Body by Louise Hay. In the book, she discusses what a powerful impact love (or a lack of love) can have our our physical health. She attributes a lack of self-love to ailments all the way from headaches to diabetes to back pain.

To be clear, she is not saying that any of the diseases or ailments we experience in our body are cured simply by love. Nothing is that simple.

She merely says there is a strong connection, which is hard to deny.

I’ve written before about the incredible impact changing my own self-talk had on my physical body. You can read the whole story here.

But for the sake of this article, I have one simple assignment for you. Think about a physical ailment you are experiencing regularly. Do you have digestive problems? Constant back pain? Hormone imbalance? Acne? What might these physical ailments be trying to tell you? If you had to write yourself a letter from the pain or problem you’re experiencing, what would the letter say? Would it ask you to slow down? To pay attention? To be kinder to yourself?

When we are kind to our bodies, they are kind to us.

2. Your relationships improve

Recently I was on a business trip and texting with a friend. She and I had talked about the idea of meeting up in the city where I was staying when I was finished with my work. As we texted back and forth solidifying plans, I told her I would be done by around 5:00 on Friday and she could come whenever. But as I sat there in my hotel room, exhausted from that day of work and staring down another long one, a thought came over my brain. It went like this:

Why do you keep doing this to yourself?

To me, the thought meant: why do you keep pushing yourself so hard? You’re exhausted. You need rest. You still have to drive home. Of course you want to see your friend, but you know yourself. You are going to need some downtime or you aren’t going to be very useful to yourself or anyone else next week.

So I reluctantly typed out a text back to my friend that said, “actually, can we reschedule? I know we talked about this, and it was a plan, but I’m just so exhausted and I feel like I’m on the verge of getting sick.” I felt badly for changing plans. But her response back made me feel so loved. She said, “are you kidding? Thank you for telling me the truth! No need to apologize. I get it.”

My love for myself in that moment—loving myself enough to say, “hey, I’m too tired for this”—set me up to receive her love and friendship, which came in the form of, “no worries!”

Without my love for myself, I never would have experienced that love from her.

The good and also hard truth about loving yourself enough to take good care of yourself is that your relationships will start to shift. Some of them will end. Certain people, as you begin to respect yourself, will raise their opinions of you as you raise your opinion of yourself. Others will not be interested in respecting you in that way and those relationships will come to a close.

As painful as that can be, you can feel thankful that the only relationships in your life with be with people who respect you and care for you and wish you well.

3. New career opportunities open up for you

For years I worked jobs I hated, for bosses who didn’t respect me, because I didn’t believe there was anything better out there. Actually, the truth was, I didn’t believe I deserved anything better than where I was working. For so many of us, our career problems are a problem of self love and self worth.

Let me ask you: do you believe you deserve to work that satisfies you?

Do you believe you deserve to get paid what you’re worth? Do you have a hard time even talking about, or thinking about, what you’re worth?

I know I did. In fact one of the things I realized—after reading Katty Kay and Claire Shipman’s book The Confidence Code—was that my confidence in my ability to achieve work that satisfied me was as important as my skills to do that work. I was lacking in confidence. So after finishing the book, I sat down and put into writing several accomplishments or areas of expertise that felt significant to me.

My list looked something like this:

  • I have an Masters degree
  • I sold all of my possession and spent a year traveling the United States
  • I’ve visited 20+ countries
  • I wrote a book and was nominated for “Best New Author” by the ECPA
  • I have coached dozens, if not hundreds, of people through writing their own books
  • I’ve co-founded multiple companies and written two online curriculums for authors
  • I have managed multiple high-level online platforms

I don’t know about you but that is so hard for me to do. It feels like bragging. Can you relate?

What would be on your list of accomplishments?

I have a challenge for you: can you list what you would consider your greatest accomplishment in the comments of this post?

When I finally started addressing some of my self-worth issues around my work, doors started opening for me in my career. The more I believed I was worthy of the opportunities, the more the opportunities came. I still have a lot of work to do in this area, but the work is so rewarding, it hardly feels like work.

I’m convinced our career success is at least as much about our confidence in our skills as it is about our skills themselves.

Imagine all the things over the years you wish you had said or done or tried—but didn’t because something held you back. Chances are, that something was a lack of confidence. Without it we are mired in unfulfilled desires, running excuses around in our heads, until we are paralyzed. It can be exhausting, frustrating, and depressing. Whether you work or you don’t, whether you want the top job or the part-time job—wouldn’t it just be great to slough off the anxiety and the fretting about all the things you’d love to try but don’t trust yourself to do? IN the most basic terms, what we need to do is start acting and risking and failing, and stop mumbling and apologizing and prevaricating. —The Confidence Code, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

When you love yourself and have confidence in yourself, you are willing to put yourself out there without fear of rejection. You can admit what you’re good at and what you have to offer. You bring that confidence into an interview room—or hey, even into a Christmas party where you might meet a potential employer, business parter or client. You can ask for help or answer honestly and bravely when someone asks, “So, what do you do?”

When you learn to love yourself well, the whole world will seem like it’s open to you; and you will be open to receive it.

4. You have fewer feelings of loneliness

In a world that is hyper-connected and yet not really connected at all, we are living in a culture of loneliness. And although we’ve found all kinds of ways to numb our loneliness—Netflix, social media, phones, etc—that lonely feeling is never really far away. Maybe you can relate. Do you ever feel like you have a million “friends” and yet nobody really knows you?

One of the things I noticed was that, as I began to grow in love for myself, I grew in like for myself too. By that I mean those feelings of loneliness dissipated as my relationships grew deeper and more satisfying and I as I discovered how comforting and satisfying and even fun it could be to spend time on my own.

I started finding myself craving more down time and alone time because, hey, I was a really fun person to be around.

In fact, thanks to Julia Cameron, I even started taking myself on dates. In her book The Artist’s Way She ask you to think about what someone who knew you really well would do for you on a date. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. It just has to be kind and thoughtful. The idea is to stop sitting around waiting for someone to do something nice for you when you can do something nice for yourself.

Here are a few ideas for what you could do for yourself for a date.

  • Go to the movies
  • Make and eat a food you love
  • Buy yourself a really nice cup of coffee
  • Get yourself some flowers
  • Write yourself a nice note
  • Order pizza and watch a movie
  • Give yourself a pedicure

This is not to say we don’t need other people. We definitely do. Our friends teach us how to love ourselves by being loving to us. But what happens as we learn to love ourselves is we realize we really enjoy being alone and a night by ourselves doesn’t feel like punishment.

What could you do to take yourself on a date this week?

5. You are happier and have more fun

One of the greatest misconceptions about loving yourself, if you ask me, is that it’s all about expensive shopping trips and pampering. This is not only untrue, it’s also misleading for two reasons. First, because a person who shops and pampers herself does not necessarily love herself.

And second is because true love is totally free.

Learning to love ourselves can look like allowing ourselves to sleep in for an extra hour on a Saturday morning or choosing to take a night off from social activities because we know we need it. Maybe it’s about eating something really healthy or making a trip to the gym. Maybe it’s about taking a night off from exercise so you can let your body rest.

Perhaps loving yourself looks like asking for help from a friend when you really need it or inviting a close friend to come over and talk.

What ends up happening, inevitably, as we allow ourselves to take these radical steps of self-love and self-care is we realize life does not have to be this knock-down, drag-out, white-knuckle, exhausting fight all the time. It can actually be really fun. When someone offers to pay for something for me, I can receive it. When the opportunity presents itself to sleep in, I can enjoy it. When I get a day off, I don’t have to feel guilty.

I can laugh. I can play. I can enjoy myself. The world’s beauty is unfolding for me and I can soak it all in.

***If you’re working on loving yourself and need a reminder, check out my brand new “love yourself” print below. You can buy yours here.

LoveYourself2

32 comments on “Why It’s So Hard to Love Yourself And How It Can Change Your Life

  1. Dear Allison,

    Love this post! Thank you for sharing your truth and shared wisdom.

    Great vibes sent from Paris, France
    Allison

  2. Thanks for this post, Allison. I can definitely relate to focusing more on what other people want for me or from me than what I actually want for myself. For me this comes up in two areas of my life: work and relationships. It’s an ongoing process in both areas for me to consciously think, okay, but what do *I* want in this situation?

    As for my greatest accomplishment, that is indeed a difficult question. I recently finished a PhD, so that’s what most other people would probably assume is my greatest accomplishment. But since we’re not talking about other people, I will say that I actually think my greatest accomplishment is starting a blog. It took less time and work than the PhD, but it was something that I did totally on my own, and just because I felt like doing it, not because it was the logical next step in my career or because anyone thought I should. And that in and of itself feels like an accomplishment.

  3. Alison!

    I needed to hear this today! I’ve been struggling to understand the differences between my false self and the authentic self God created. I’ve been struggling to figure out what’s holding me back from stepping in to that authentic self. To be honest… I’ve kind of ignore this voice in my head telling me that it has to do with my own love of myself… I can very easily come across as an extremely confident person and while i’d like to think it’s because I am extremely confident I have been getting this feeling that it’s really my way of protecting myself from intimacy with others and intimacy with God. But people love me and praise me for being this single, confident girl who knows what she wants, but if i’m really honest with myself… the inside is more or less a terrified little girl just using this persona to survive…which let’s face it isn’t cool. So what i’m trying to say in all this rambling…Thank you! I’ve been hearing this a lot lately and I know God’s pushing me dive in to it more. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Emily

  4. Dear Ally,

    Thanks so much for this article! A lot of the things that you wrote about I’ve been working on for the past two years, but its still very hard for me. I’d spent a long time believing that loving myself equated to selfishness, and while I know now that’s not true, undoing old ways of thinking has been very hard. Over the past few months, where I feel like I’ve been Jonah not wanting to go to Ninevah, I’ve really forgotten to love myself. I have been so harsh on myself! And it’s hurting my relationships, effecting my health, and hurting my productivity. I needed a timely reminder, especially about the little things we can do for ourselves. Thanks, Ally!

  5. Allison,

    Thank you so much for being open, honest, and real!

    I’ve struggled with self love my entire life, with trying to figure out who I am and how this translates into the life and legacy I want to create, in addition to the purpose God gave me.

    I struggle with loving me daily, and would rather focus on making others feel loved and being there for them.

    My goal this year is to work towards loving myself. I hear God telling me that we should “love our neighbors/others as we love ourselves”, but that we cannot love others if we don’t first love ourselves the way He loves us.

    I’m going to start a blog this year and a major focus will be my journey to achieving self-love.

    Thank you for the reminder and for sharing the resources that helped you! Have a beautiful day!

  6. Thanks Allison!

    I’m learning day by day to enjoy being alone with myself more. It’s a difficult process, when previously it was so difficult to be alone. Thanks for the recommendation to take myself on small dates and simple excursions. I want to love myself more and love others more authentically.

    • Self love is more of a fancy word respecting yourself and not being a pushover.

      You can still be selfless loving person who cares for others – but do it with those who are worthy and appreciate it.

      Please understand that to love yourself is not necessarily about being alone or going on dates either. If you like some company or spouse, etc that’s fine too. The point is it’s good sometimes just to recharge and enjoy yourself.

  7. Hi Ally!

    I’m super grateful for your writing. You constantly inspire me with how well you connect with your words. It’s also really inspiring to see you producing in other mediums. Really, really cool.

    I’m definitely codependent by nature, being raised in an alcoholic home. So the concept of loving myself was so out of the frame of reference for me. The process of being able to love myself came about out of necessity. I had to learn to “circle the wagons” around me as friend put it.

    Process…I’m still in the process of loving myself. Standing up for myself, getting to know myself. I think another way to put it would be respect for oneself. Am I contented with who I am? Getting there!

    My attempt at my greatest accomplishments:
    -Learning to love & trust God when I cannot see a 5 feet in front of me
    -Being accepted to and graduating from one of the most prestigious art schools in the world
    -Returning to school and becoming a Certified Holistic Health Coach
    -Connecting with women on a deeper level to help them learn the value of self-love
    -Faithfully attending Al-Anon for over 8 months with a commitment to grow and heal
    -Admitting & embracing the fact that I’m a writer

    Bri

  8. Such good words. As a recovering people-pleaser, raised a culture steeped in self-sacrifice and burn out “in the name of Jesus”, I found this post to be incredibly freeing. In your own way, you’ve given me permission to practice self-care and self-love. Thanks for that.

  9. Thank you, Allison! This is so timely for me. I’ve been realizing lately that I don’t know how, in practice, to care for myself and make time for fun. Now I’m reading this from bed because a virus knocked me flat on my back for a week (case in point regarding physical health). It is hard to make a mental shift that it’s wise to prioritize myself when it seems so much better to just worry about others.

    As for accomplishments…I don’t know if they’re the biggest, but I love my job (working with young women who’ve been abused and have life-controlling issues) and investing in something creative on the side (I finally started a blog). Both of those eluded me for a long time, so I’m proud to be doing things that are so fulfilling.

  10. Hello Allison,

    Thank you very much for being completely real, it helps because i relate with you. I have been living in denial…struggling with self confidence and sometimes convincing myself that its perfectly normal and my time to shine hasn’t just come yet! Well, now, after reading this post, am sure that i deserve more and i am worth much much more…i just have to shift my mind and start loving myself and seeing it that way. This just reminded me of how God’s Word tells us we are worth!

    You just helped a big deal.
    Thanks,
    Quin
    Quin

  11. Another GREAT post, Ally! This is actually something I’m working on right now. One of my mentors shared that sometimes we aren’t able to take the scary leap to loving ourselves, so an easier place to start is respecting ourselves (listening to our hearts and our bodies. and taking good care of both.) Over time, respecting ourselves builds the foundation for loving ourselves. Definitely a slow [but good] process for me. (I just ordered one of your gorgeous prints. It will be a great reminder for me to keep moving forward in my own healing journey. Looking forward to receiving it.

    Thank you so much for continuing to share your heart and all you are learning. And, for encouraging the rest of us. Your time and words are such a generous gift to the rest of us!

    Speaking of gifts, I’ve been working through The Artist’s Way you gave us at the writer’s retreat. So, SO good! The hardback copy is beautiful and such a special treat. Every time I open it, it brings back sweet memories of 6 incredible women and an unforgettable weekend in Tennessee. THANK YOU again!

    Sending you love & blessings, Friend!

  12. Thank you Allison, for sharing this. On Tuesday I sat at the dinner table weeping before my husband confessing that for my entire life, I have felt unworthy and not good enough. It was the most painful thing I have ever had to say to anyone.
    I have constantly been striving for the love and acceptance of others )even from my husband, and certainly from God) and it has played out in so many ways over my lifetime. The reminder to love myself and be kind to myself was timely.

    Thank you. For opening the door for me to move forward. And reminding me to have grace, kindness, and to love myself.
    Teresa

    P.s. Is there a way to sign up for your posts to be emailed to me?

    • Also- my greatest accomplishment is having coached dozens of new staff in our organization to get a healthy start and a resilient lifestyle with God and others in ministry.

  13. It’s nice to see another post from you. These are wise words, and as with everything else, it is a process and you will have good and bad days.

  14. Hey Allison, thanks for such a great post. God has been revealing a lot to me about self-love/confidence vs. self-absorption over the last 18 months. It’s been an incredibly eye-opening journey… I think we’d have a lot to talk about over coffee! Thanks again for your transparency and willingness to share with us what you’ve been learning.

  15. I always love how these articles are written by people who already loved themselves and had a good life.

    I’m 38, alone, broke, can’t work and a lot of other things.

    Kind of hard to love a loser like that.

    • Stop comparing yourself to others, you have this screwed up idea in your head of what an ideal life should look like. That only leads to disappointment and a lack of gratitude towards your own accomplishments. Even if you were to attain similar things like the other people have, with your current view you’ll simply grow accustomed and yearn for more/grow anxious in trying to upkeep that lifestyle. You can’t love your own life as it is right now; what makes you think you’ll suddenly love your life if you became super successful? The core of what you are has not changed a single bit, the only thing that has is the situation you’re in. You wouldn’t love your life, you would only love the situation. True love is unconditional, it doesn’t care whether you’re the devil or a saint. You are chasing after an illusion.

      And what’s up with this judgemental crap? I don’t claim to know Allison, but what I can claim is that I know some people that have had legit hard lives–rape, abuse, poverty, gang violence, stuff like that–and they can love themselves. Just because someone loves oneself and tries advising people that have difficulty in doing so doesn’t qualify them as having “had a good life.” It’s entirely possible to spread a message without letting everyone know every little bit of your past history. Maybe Allison has had her heart broken a few times, suffered the passing of loved ones, been the victim of abuse, et cetera; you simply don’t know, and honestly you really don’t need to. There is no utility in assuming these things about people, all you’re doing is intentionally being deaf to the message these people are trying to portray. Does it really matter whether a king or a beggar tells you to grab a branch dangling in front of you when you’re sinking in quicksand? Don’t be so petty and just take the advice, this is your own life we’re talking about.

      Can you sense the urgency? Time marches forward. I think you can feel the dread, otherwise I don’t see much reason why you would list down your age and label yourself as a loser, or even why you would bother with commenting on this site. You must do something, the situation calls for action. I don’t agree with the idea that you’re somehow not capable of giving love because you think you’re a loser, if anything I would say you’re more capable than others in spreading love precisely because you can empathize with those that are in a situation similar to yours. You have such a valuable thing to give to those people, yet you’re too blind to see it. I’m confident you can save people that think just like you do simply by being able to relate with them and convincing them it’s possible to love yourself. Could you then still say your life is worthless after knowing you helped others feel less lonely? I think you know how awful that feels, so I think you also know how much of a relief it would be for the other person if you accomplished that. Learn how to give yourself love, I think you deserve at least that in this life.

      Save yourself before it’s too late. You cannot depend on others to love yourself, that’s something you alone must do. Understand that in some part of you there is enough desire to save yourself from drowning, otherwise you wouldn’t have posted on this site. Foster that desire, that will naturally aid you in the self-healing process. I wish you luck in your journey, and always remember you are never alone.

    • Don’t ever call yourself a loser.

      Down, hurt, in a bad place maybe. But never a loser.

      Your only a loser when you think your a loser. If you don’t like being broke work yourself back step by step.

  16. Allison,

    Thanks so much for this article. As a 21 year old male who’s battled poor self image my entire life, I just recently got into my first relationship. The first eight months were pure bliss where, for once, I felt desired and loved. As time went on and the relationship began to grow (rather, we grew comfortable knowing the other would always be around) my body image issues started to rear their ugly head. Being in a gay relationship I never considered the idea of being in constant comparison to my partner who, being the same gender, would get compliments and I would feel hurt if I didn’t receive the same. I began to resent him telling him he didn’t appreciate me and didn’t show me that he truly cared and that he simply KNEW that I would be around. Then the light bulb turned on and I realized I was sliding down a slippery slope. That I’d allowed my own insecurities to return and if I didn’t actively start working on healing, I could push him away. So on this crisp Friday morning I woke up and got myself a cup of coffee and just started searching for blogs to read where I could find someone who understood my problem. Your post brought me such joy because it reminded me of everything I know, within myself, to be true. It reminded me that I have to work EVERY day to remember my own worth. I’ve always been a bit of an outcast and struggled through school and preached independence from a young age. I truly thought that I’d conquered my desire to please the world around me. I didn’t realize that the weight lost, the haircuts, the cool clothes, etc… that I claimed to change for “me” was actually just a ploy to get more and more approval from the superficial world. However, today that all ends. I plan to start a journey for ME so that I can not only learn to love myself, but learn to accept the love others give.

    Thank you so much for this post!
    K

  17. Ally,
    I left your workshop in Nashville almost 48 hours ago and, of course, wanted to see what you had to say in your blog posts. I wondered if they would resonate with me like you did in person. And…….yes!

    My road to self-discovery has been long, winding, recursive, and littered with official-looking signs twisted to point in confusing directions. I resisted starting the trek for decades, sure that self-sacrifice was the answer to gathering those bouquets of love, shocked when my martyrdom was viewed more as a burden than as a gift. Your workshop was truly a gift–filled with people on the same trail–and, along with this honest and oh-so-true essay, will serve to help me love and nourish and (especially) like myself.

    Here’s a thought–have more workshops! I thoroughly enjoyed ours—

    Thanks, Ally!
    Melinda

  18. Nice! Yep, take good care of yourself (have a positive self image) and the rest of your life improves. It subconsciously affects your behavior and responses, and it subconsciously affects how others respond to you too.

  19. I recently lost a few solid friendship and I do believe it’s because I didn’t love myself enough. I hurt them and I hurt myself and up to this day I still feel guilty and sad.
    I believe that I’ve let myself mourn long enough and it’s time for me to start loving myself all over again . I’m not going to lie, this seems hard and frightening but your post have given me hope and a place to start.
    Thank you for sharing. Oh! and my greatest accomplishments so far are : having a masters, achieving 1st class honours in my degree, being pick to do a fashion- week internship in Paris and marrying an amazing all at a young age. I look forward to having more accomplishments under my belt through self love!

    • Thanks for sharing.

      Me too, I’ve lost friendships and missed opportunities and betrayed myself in tiny ways more times than I know. I continue to do some of these things out of fear, but I’m becoming more aware and mindful and this frees me up to make decisions (sometimes deciding to tweak something; other times, choosing to wait until I get a therapist so I can have someone supportive who will help me not hate myself if I make a mistake.)

      I hope you continue to become free 🙂

      • I just re-read what I wrote, and I hope it didn’t come across as condescending (when I said I hope you continue to become free), because what I meant by it was that you sound like you’re wise and courageous and I just wanted to send you the best wishes for your journey.

  20. Hello. I appreviate your words, and hopefully I can put them into practice.
    Honestly, I can really only say for a great accomplishment is that I earned an associate’s degree last spring and am working on my bachelor’s now.
    I’ve always had a hard time loving myself because I’m so hard on myself. I feel this urge to be perfect all the time, because being perfect means no flaws and if I dont have flaws then people will like me. I’m also very introverted and have a hard time expressing how I feel to other people clearly without any misunderstandings. Social norms confuse me and I don’t understand why people can’t just say what they want upfront, so I end up sounding blunt/rude when I finally say what I want. I don’t know how to be human, and it sucks.

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