Do You Like Yourself? Your Thoughts are Welcome!
Hello Everybody and new posters especially:-)
I have had anxiety since 1983 and depression from 1997. There is always someone that says 'You have to Love Yourself' before recovery. When people are suffering from anxiety/depression this may be the last 'advice' they really need. This is only my experience when I am 'advised to love myself' to rebuild my life. I have heard the following from people that cant 'love themselves' which is fair enough as I am a person that cant either. Your thoughts will help me and others learn from your point of view. I can only be 'gentle' to myself to heal...not love.
- Why should I love myself if I dont in the first place?
- I am in a dark place, how can I love myself?
- I dont deserve to love myself
- I am depressed...How can I love myself?
- I have mega anxiety attacks..what is there to love about myself?
- I hate myself and what I stand for...why should I?
- I love my partner more...I will care about myself 'later'
When people have depression/anxiety/denial they dont need to be counseled with ' love yourself'. Thats a huge ask.
I dont need to climb Mt Everest by trying to love myself when I cant. It can be an unrealistic and even silly target to achieve having depression
I just prefer to be 'gentle' to myself. Same results and way less stress 🙂 Your thoughts/opinions are more than welcome
Thankyou so much
You're absolutely right when a psych tells you that you have to love yourself and you're full of depression/anxiety it seems to be a ridulous comment, and looking back we tend to laugh and can't understand why they say it, especially when you're only crying and can't even talk.
'No doc' what I need to do is find out where I am sitting and why has this happened and not told to be 'love myself', how could I possibily do that, so don't make these silly comments to me, but what you can do is teach me how I can love myself.
So the psych goes through all the options of what you did love to do, but you reject what they say because you have lost all interest to do any of them, so all of your points except the last one are included in what I have just mentioned, because 'I love my partner more...I will care about myself later is different.
Are we trying to love our partner first just to keep our marriage/partnership/family from breaking up, but do we have to pretend that our mood is OK by doing this, which isn't really helping ourselves, well that's what I had to do before the big crunch that I was heading towards, but nothing changed at home so that's when I fell to rock bottom and had my break-down and then nothing mattered.
To love our spouse/partner first before we take care of ourselves means that they too have to reciprocate their love for us and not reject us, because rejection only means danger for us. Geoff.
Paul, I don't struggle with loving myself the way you do. You know I'm quite at peace with myself on that level. I do, however agree that "love yourself" is a damn stupid thing to say to someone who is in a dark place like you've been in. Comes in line with "think positive". It's a bit like telling someone with half their arm torn off to stop bleeding. Apply a bloody tourniquet or cauterise it and teach the patient what to do after the initial treatment. For a person who doesn't know how, learning to love oneself isn't easy. Starting with being gentle with yourself seems like a good plan, to me. I guess when it comes to loving yourself, it's a matter of finding a place where you feel worthy of that gentleness. Do you ever find yourself being ill-treated by someone and thinking "I don't deserve this"? If you do, you might be closer to the right track than you think.
Geoff, I can identify with your experience on that. My ex and I were both suffering depression and I was always the one holding things together. I didn't exactly pretend I was okay, but I pushed through it and struggled more and more with it as time went on. The more it showed, the more I was rejected by him and the worse it got, so I got to the stage too, where it just didn't matter any more. If it's so shattering for someone with my healthy self-esteem, I can only imagine how bad it would be if I lacked that fondness for myself. I guess part of being gentle with oneself and learning to love oneself is being careful who we keep close to us, people who can see the good in us and encourage us instead of that rejection. It takes time to learn to recognise the signs early on, of people we should steer clear of, but it's a worthwhile skill to pay attention to and develop. The people and situations we have in our environment can have a significant influence on how we see ourselves.
Every time I think you have exhausted your options on new topics you come up with another. Now that's not a sign of a depressed brain. You can't be creative and depressed (can you?)
Loving yourself is such a huge topic. Yes I've had people tell me 'you need to love yourself' as well as the 'think positive' crap. There are people walking around now that have no idea how lucky they are I didn't hit them over the head with a blunt instrument, as described in detective stories.
Having said that, what is the motivation for getting well? Is it love or care for our families? And if so, where did that love come from? Love for our families is a deep well of care for those "nearest and dearest". If we truly have no care or love for ourselves how do we recognise our love for others?
Have many would-be suicides say they believe their families will be better off without them? We read it here quite frequently. And these suicidal people believe they are acting in the best interests of their families because they love these families. Why else do they want to die?
If we are able to block off any love or regard for ourselves we will also block off love and regard for anyone else. Not my words, this is what the psychs etc say. If we really believe, for whatever reason, we are totally unlovable including self love, why would we care if our families are suffering? Doesn't make sense. We certainly don't do it because we are told to do so.
Loving your spouse is great and helps to motivate us to get well (hopefully). But how do you recognise this love if you do not apply it to yourself. NOTE I am not talking about attraction in general or any sexual affection or attraction. I am speaking of that desire to be with the other no matter what. Nine-day wonders are just that, not the kind of affection and care I presume we are all talking about.
Love in humans is not known or practised in a vacuum. We are the clever, clever race, as the anthropologists tell us. Or maybe they have found a better description. Even so we have not yet learned to love anyone or everyone without directing some of that love towards ourselves. In fact it comes from and to us first.
Just because we fail to recognise it at times does not mean it is non-existent. And depression is that time we fail to notice. We are good at not noticing anything then. This is why we need others to remind us of what we already know but refuse to acknowledge. It's the manner of that reminder which is at fault.
In fact, with myself Mary, I can be depressed because I'm now being creative enough.
I think with psychs or GPs telling us to love ourselves we need to at all times remain truthful to ourselves. Discount those expectations that are not realistic.
Like yourself for those attributes that you know are endearing, quality parts of your character that shine...not shine above what others do, it isn't a competition with others, its a competition between you and your best.
I have a friend with a foot injury. Her insurance just paid her out, so its a lifelong injury. She is depressed. I feel like shaking her as she has 6 beaut grandkids etc etc. But to her, her injury is huge. If I did that, tell her that her disability is minor wouldn't that be like a psych telling us to love ourselves.?
I don't love myself at all. I admire myself when I overcome problems, design caravans and build them, and so on, especially when encouraged by positive comments. But love myself? Likely not possible.
Oh Tony, I wasn't saying it's OK for psychs to tell us to love ourselves. My point is that we already do that but cannot recognise it. We need to be reminded gently, in empathy and compassion, not ordered to do so as if we are idiot children. I do not react well to that sort of thing at all.
People who are depressed etc usually have the caring gene which is what makes them vulnerable to hurt and depression. It's also a good gene because we really care and empathise with others. If we don't love each other and ourselves the world is in a bad way.
Hello lovely people, and what an interesting thread!
So much is popping into my mind. But I guess the thing at the forefront is that in order to look at this we need to define what love means. It is a bit of an illusive thing, and is often considered an action. And to me, well I get very angry at empty sentiments. I know people mean well - but to me action is always the most convincing / heart-felt.
The most uncomplicated love I have in my life now is my house-mates cat charlotte. To show my love to her i look after her needs - food, fresh water, letting her out. I give her loving attention (patting) and I really love the cat-smell of her. I accept her annoying traits (waking me up at 3am because she's cold and wants to sleep on my bed, ignoring me at times when i want her to sit on my lap etc) and I see her as a gorgeous positive little being.
So if I were to love myself, I'd say that I'd be good at taking care of my needs - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. The physical ones I do pretty well - emotional and mental - so so - and spiritual yes I'd say i meet them through following my passion and also how i see the world. So I'd say that I'm growing self love. I guess to really fully love myself would mean accepting myself as I am and meeting my needs for connection more. My negative self judgements often get in the way of connecting with people and ignoring my needs.
I dunno, food for thought anyway. I'm not a fan of fake positive psychology, where you jump to some new extreme, but I do believe in faking it till you make it and reframing things to get a more balanced and positive perspective. We can choose how we see life /events - so why not choose the version that leads to our mental health? I don't mean lying to oneself... just choosing the way that respects, encourages and supports ourself. Builds self love perhaps? Cause its all in the actions I reckon... action brings about change. Its okay if we don't always feel it.
Kindness, Christina 🙂
Perhaps it's easier to corral what you don't love about yourself.
Its my personality.
Ever tried to get along with a group of other kids and you don't because you aren't "cool". Or slim, or good at expressing humour as you are always serious? You just don't fit in?
But alone in my shed I'm in love with my creativity, my self taught abilities, my solitaire.... My spirit that nobody can harm. I'm safe from sarcasm, deceipt, rejection, theft of my goodwill and so on.
I limit my appearances in events at my small town to remain in that safety zone...too elusive to come to peoples mind when wanting volunteers (I consider bb work enough) and close enough to be respected which makes me feel good.
It isn't all about me, its all about my comfort zone which is vital.
Harking back to my youth. My mother controlled so much of my character she owned me, to develop who she believed I should be, insisted she know what i thought. No place for being alone or free.
I recall at 27yo she insisted I break up with my gf. I had to remind her that she had her opportunity to marry whom she pleased ...I will do as I please. How can a parents child ever love themselves if a parent treated you as plasticine?
" love yourself Tony" is not possible. But....I can get comfortable safe in the knowledge that it is the best I can do with the cards I've been dealt and with my ability to care for others, with that care gene (hope4joy thanks) then I can love my efforts.