In this day and age, despite all the positivity and how everyone says this... actually doing that is incredibly hard. 80-90% of the time? Perhaps even up to 99.9%? Seems impossible. It is a never-ending uphill battle.
How do you learn to love yourself after over half of your life, your formative years, were in repression? When you were taught to ignore your own needs and voicing them, at all, makes you weak and a coward and they are not important, because there are so many people out in the world worst off than you are. Told how you lack intelligence, or never measure up. Or, in my case, knowing the only reason you are alive is a mistake, and the only reason your parents were together was because of you, and watch as your mother's spirit is systematically destroyed until she is warped and twisted, and your father descends into bully tactics and everything he states he stood against in his young years.
My own family has called me 'bitch' or 'c***' for speaking my mind, having opinions, and pointing out the wrong and hurtful things they say about other people. My mother's answer to my anger toward people hurtfully gendering my daughter as male because she likes having a pixie cut at 9 was to put bows in her hair instead of educating people that assume based on one singular thing and not the whole of the picture.
How do you love yourself when you're called lazy in the middle of a crippling depression where just functioning in any way is this incredible struggle? When society looks at you and all they see is an overweight woman. Not knowing that weight was put on was in bedrest to ensure her daughter made it to term and safely came into the world. That medical after medical issue after, on top of crippling depression from the loss of a child previously, prevented her from losing the weight despite her active lifestyle once she managed to fight her way tooth and nail out of that depression alone and without support.
How do you love yourself when you know being asexual is nothing wrong and you're ok with it, but everyone around you thinks you're broken. It's a byproduct of my weight, it's because I was molested as a child. I'm broken in their eyes... and sometimes I slip and let that belief re-enter my mind...
How do you love yourself when the people who were supposed to love you unconditionally did not and put conditions on their love time after time, and when you finally set yourself free from them they make you look like the enemy to everyone else?
How can you love yourself when it seems like all the world does is judge you and finds you wanting, refusing to see the good in you?
For me, it's my daughter. Her smile and the unwavering and constantly reaffirmed knowledge I'm doing something right with her. I shower her with unconditional love and it's all she's known, and her love and affection is the only balm on my battle worn soul. I don't love myself properly as I should, and it will be a battle I fight until my death against all of these 'demons' others gave birth to inside of my head, but she loves me and I love her. My daughter. My light in the darkness. I am tired, I hurt and I'm incredibly lonely, but I have her. I will keep trying and keep fighting even if right now everything is pressing down on me and I feel like I'm being crushed by it.
Blessed Be to all struggling upon this path.