How To Be Loved

8 Apr

Is there anything worse than being offered nice, pat aphorisms instead of actual advice?

For example, when you don’t get into your post-secondary school of choice and suddenly everyone and their mother gives you some variation on the old everything happens for a reason theme.

Or when your high school best friend is a jerk to you again and, instead of sympathizing, your mother reminds you that a leopard never changes its spots. Like, great, Mom, I just wanted a hug and maybe some chocolate, not a biology lesson about large jungle cats.

Or else how, when you were a kid and you were feeling kind of bummed out about the fact that your birthday party or whatever had just ended and all of your friends had to go home, some asshole grownup decided to remind you that all good things must come to an end. Like, no shit, Sherlock, I didn’t think I’d managed to bend the time-space continuum in order to create some kind of eternal birthday party. The fact that I knew that it was going to end didn’t make saying goodbye to my friends any less sucky.

For me, though, the worst saying was always, always, “You can’t love someone until you learn to love yourself.”

Seriously, hearing that is like the auditory equivalent of biting tin foil.

First of all, it always seems to come up whenever one of two things happens:

a) You’re experiencing abnormally high amounts of self-loathing

(slight digression: define “abnormally”)

b) You’ve just had some kind of romantic experience that ended badly

I used to get so irritated when people told me that I couldn’t love anyone else until I loved myself. I mean, first of all, it’s demonstrably untrue. I’m a chronic self-loather, and I fall in love at the drop of a hat. Seriously, a dude just has to say something smart, or be nice to a small child, or stand so that the light is hitting him in just the right way, and I’m done. Gone. Smitten. Head over heels.

Second of all, whenever I would hear this, I would think great, thanks, you’re basically telling me that I’m going to be single for the rest of my life. I mean, sure, it would be nice not to hate myself, but self-love isn’t really something that I see happening for me anytime soon. Don’t get me wrong, my therapist and I are working on it, but let’s be realistic here: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and those Ancient Romans had way more stick-to-itiveness than I do.

And you know what? I would even argue that it’s actually easier, in some cases, to love someone else when you don’t love yourself. Because what else are you going to do with all that pent up love and affection you’ve got stored away somewhere? And if that person doesn’t reciprocate, or treats you badly in any way, that just goes to show you that you weren’t really worth anything in the first place after all. The cycle perpetuates itself, and everybody wins. Except you, of course.

It’s also just kind of a weird, victim-blamey thing to say to someone. Like, maybe you could have love if you would stop feeling so shitty about yourself all the time. Just make a choice to be happy! Bootstraps, people. BOOTSTRAPS.

It wasn’t until I started dating Matt that I suddenly realized what this old saying actually meant. It’s not about being unable to love another person while you hate yourself because; it’s about how hard it is to be loved by someone else while you’re stuck in a deep pit of self-loathing.

Matt started using the L word (no, not lesbians) pretty early on in our relationship. And it made me uncomfortable, but it took me a while for me to figure out why, exactly, that was. I started feeling weird about him, started picking apart his behaviours, looking for something wrong with him. I called my friend Debbie, who had known him slightly longer than I had, and asked,

“What’s his deal? Is he some kind of weirdo or psychopath?”

“No,” she said, “he’s a totally nice guy, as far as I know. Why? Did he do something.”

“He keeps telling me he loves me.”

Debbie just laughed and said,

“Well, that’s nice, isn’t it? I mean, isn’t it?”

It didn’t feel nice, though. It felt weird.

I don’t remember what triggered it, but sometime during our first summer together I had some kind of epiphany. I realized that I was trying to figure out what was wrong with Matt because there was a part of me, a fairly big part of me, that didn’t believe that a sincerely nice, normal human being could actually love me or want to be with me. I figured that anyone who said they loved me and meant it probably had bodies buried in the basement or wanted to have sex with their mother or actually thought that Atlas Shrugged was a good book.

But Matt is nice, and (mostly) normal. He wasn’t the one who was fucked up. I was.

To be depressed is to constantly have his very calm, very rational voice whispering in your ear, telling you how awful and worthless you are. It’s being trapped inside an airless glass room, watching everyone around you pile up success after success while you can barely button your shirt or tie your shoes. It’s knowing that you are not capable of doing anything, not one single thing, of value.

Depression is mistrusting every good thing that happens. Depression is realizing that, when things seem to be going your way for once, this is always the part of the movie when aliens attack and destroy the earth. Depression is the need to constantly be on the lookout for the secret trap door, for the ulterior motive, for whatever the catch might be.

Depression is the certainty that you’ve finally taken off the rose-coloured glasses are seeing yourself quite clearly for the first time.

Depression is being sickened by your own reflection.

So how can you ever trust a person who loves someone like you?

And I’ve been wondering, lately, if it’s ever, at any time, possible to be depressed and love yourself? If you are someone who is clinically, chronically depressed, does that mean that you’re stuck with self-loathing for the rest of your life? Are misery and self-love ever able to co-exist? Or are those states totally, fundamentally contradictory?

I guess what I’m really trying to get at here is this:

Will I ever like, maybe even love, myself?

And I try. I really do.

I make lists. I remind myself of all of the good things in my life. I try to view my successes in their own right, rather than seeing them as opportunities to fail even harder somewhere further on down the road. I give myself pep talks. When all else fails, I call my mom.

Being depressed means that I have a hard time accepting anything positive. Good news makes me feel sick to my stomach. Compliments make me deeply uncomfortable. Smiling makes my cheeks ache.

And, after eight years of being with Matt, accepting the fact that someone else loves me is still a struggle. I ask him, often, if he still loves me. I make him promise that he’ll never leave me. I bury my face in his chest and tell him to wrap his arms around me as tightly as he can.

Other times, when I’m in a real low, I don’t even want him near me. I don’t want to be touched, I don’t want to be held, I don’t want to be loved. His affection for me irritates me, sometimes even angers me. When I’ve reached rock bottom, all I want is to be totally and utterly alone. Preferably forever.

I’m hard to love.

And I have a hard time being loved.

Eight years in and I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m still waiting for the bodies in the basement to be discovered, or else for the Oedipus complex to be revealed.

Still.

I want to ask if this is going to get any easier, but I would guess that the truth is that it’s a process. You learn to stop the negative self-talk, and you learn to let other people get close to you. You learn to accept that good things happen, too, sometimes. You stop balking at the idea of happiness, that elusive state which somehow manages to simultaneously be the goal that you’ve spent the majority of your life chasing and also the thing that terrifies you the most.

You stop giving all of your love away and learn to keep some for yourself.

Maybe that’s the secret to being loved.

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69 Responses to “How To Be Loved”

  1. inkyviolet April 8, 2013 at 3:37 am #

    thanks. this actually helps me a lot to understand someone with whom i was in love, but who rejected it and me. i’ve been trying to put it to rest…and i think i finally can. good luck to you.

    • bellejarblog April 10, 2013 at 1:21 am #

      Thank you – and I’m glad! It’s always good to find some kind of closure 🙂

  2. juliegreenart April 8, 2013 at 3:45 am #

    I think you’ve picked the saying apart perfectly. You have to reserve some love and respect for yourself if you are going to be in the most loving and fulfilling relationship that you can be and one that doesn’t frustrate another because they don’t know you trust them or are completely open to them – but it’s a work in progress for everyone and it’s wrong to say you can’t love without loving yourself, because you can, and we are always learning with one another. But I do think you’ve got to know yourself and love yourself enough that you can trust another with you and sure, that takes time, and you can be with someone else while you are learning all about that. It’s great for someone to know that you accept their love and you won’t keep trying to make sure that they will stick around because you know that you will be adequate either way. Does that make sense? Great article anyway.

    • juliegreenart April 8, 2013 at 3:46 am #

      P.S. Love the pictures and wish you all the best with Matt. You are amazing I’m sure.

      • bellejarblog April 10, 2013 at 1:24 am #

        Thank you! The pictures are from a super old-timey photo booth, and I really love the way they came out!

    • bellejarblog April 10, 2013 at 1:25 am #

      “But I do think you’ve got to know yourself and love yourself enough that you can trust another with you and sure, that takes time, and you can be with someone else while you are learning all about that. It’s great for someone to know that you accept their love and you won’t keep trying to make sure that they will stick around because you know that you will be adequate either way. Does that make sense?”

      That makes total sense. You’ve articulated it really well! This is exactly what I’m trying to work on 🙂

  3. mieprowan April 8, 2013 at 3:58 am #

    I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve gone through so much hell. Yes, most people don’t know how to give advice. Good advice is either encouraging someone to do something they are inclined toward that you think would be good for them, or involves specific information the person you are advising has a reasonable chance of not knowing or not having considered.

    Otherwise, one is best off saying “I’m really sorry this happened to you, that’s really hard.” The message this sends is: I care and I’m not here to judge, or to try to make your pain about myself.

    Nobody needs the rest of it, the nagging, the posturing, the sanctimony. We need people to care when we are in pain, and we need people to say nice things to us about ourselves.

    Did I mention that you’re a terrific writer and that I’m just delighted to have discovered your blog?

    • bellejarblog April 10, 2013 at 1:26 am #

      Thank you!! And this is totally perfect:

      ‘Otherwise, one is best off saying “I’m really sorry this happened to you, that’s really hard.” The message this sends is: I care and I’m not here to judge, or to try to make your pain about myself.’

      I think you hit the nail on the head with that!

  4. Ali April 8, 2013 at 4:01 am #

    ]Other times, when I’m in a real low, I don’t even want him near me. I don’t want to be touched, I don’t want to be held, I don’t want to be loved. His affection for me irritates me, sometimes even angers me. When I’ve reached rock bottom, all I want is to be totally and utterly alone. Preferably forever.

    I’m hard to love.

    And I have a hard time being loved.

    Eight years in and I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop.[

    Isn’t this already love? To know you could be truly yourself without fear of losing someone?

    beautifully articulated…

    • theasceticlibertine April 9, 2013 at 2:11 am #

      Seconding this quote as one that I identify with completely. Some days I want to be as alone as a person possibly can, and others I want to be loved and understood and known and never left. I don’t suffer from clinical depression or mental illness but I have my own cracks and fissures, as we all do. I think every human is difficult to love. And that’s what makes love kind of a miracle to me, as utterly dorky as using the word “miracle” makes me feel. Loved this post.

      • bellejarblog April 10, 2013 at 1:54 am #

        Yeah, sometimes you just need to be by yourself. Especially if you’re a boring old introvert like me 🙂

    • bellejarblog April 10, 2013 at 1:33 am #

      Thank you! And yes, I am lucky to be with someone around whom I’m totally comfortable being myself 🙂

  5. hitandrun1964 April 8, 2013 at 4:24 am #

    Great and love the photographs!

  6. SunbonnetSmart April 8, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    Ahem. I stopped being depressed when I realized it was a self-serving habit. But, you agonize about it in such a magnificent way, I’m sure it’s all happening for a reason.

    This piece is just great. The chemistry between you and Matt is engaging, the photos delightful. How nice to have them for Theo. But, you could write great pieces without agonizing as well. And you do. Sometimes I wonder if you are like those opera singers in days of yore who felt to have a full bodied voice, they had to be full bodied. Operas singers were heavy. Very heavy. As you are very deep and grave.

    And, then one day, Maria Callas, a great Greek beauty with a profound voice came along. She was elegantly slender, svelte and the love of Aristotle Onassis. She proved one didn’t need to be heavy to have a beautiful voice and was the toast of Europe. She “lightened up” opera and its divas.

    Thanks to YouTube, here is Maria Callas singing “Suicidio!,” a happy little ditty which you should like. 🙂 *giggle* http://bit.ly/11HLezd

    So, just for academic exercise, I maintain, you could write as well, who knows, maybe better, if you didn’t agonize so. Agony is happiness lost, not a muse. Love and lightness ARE muses, eternal and infinite. All good things never end. They have a self-sustaining spirit that never waivers, unless, of course, one blocks them by agonizing. I wonder if you would enjoy this book: http://amzn.to/10JR8ND It’s one of my life favorites.

    Loving you, not as much as Matt, but loving you, Fondly, Robin

    • bellejarblog April 10, 2013 at 1:41 am #

      Thank you for the beautiful music! And I will definitely check out that book.

      I am for sure feeling better. But I do find it helpful to write about my depression.

      xoxo much love, Anne

  7. Abigail April 8, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    Beautiful, as usual. I wonder, though, how the whole blogging thing effects the self-loathing and depression stuff for you? I find it to be an odd mix. It can explode my worst neuroses and make me feel like shit; other days, or hours, it is cathartic and energizing, makes me feel less alone. I just started, though, so maybe things even out a bit…???

    • The Real Cie April 8, 2013 at 4:57 am #

      That’s how I find it works for me too, Abigail. It can either bring out the Beast or the Best.

    • bellejarblog April 10, 2013 at 1:43 am #

      I find it very cathartic. I also find it helpful because it links me up with wonderful people like you who have experienced similar things! At first it was pretty scary, but now it’s easier. I think. Hah!

  8. Jane April 8, 2013 at 4:54 am #

    I’ve just started reading your blog….thank you. For describing what I have felt. And for naming this hopeless (until now) “love yourself first” quagmire I’ve struggled with too…..hearing that glib thought and feeling mostly like “we’ll I’m fucked then, because I’m not sure I can love myself” ….but I know I’m loving. Anyway, thanks. Love, Jane

    • bellejarblog April 10, 2013 at 1:54 am #

      Thank you for your lovely comment – I hope things are better for you soon! ❤

  9. The Real Cie April 8, 2013 at 4:55 am #

    I feel you with so much of this. I have rapid cycling type II bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and OCD. Add to this the fact that I’m a plus size woman in a society that despises larger people. The idea that I’m ever gonna find love is slim and none, and Slim done got the fuck outta dodge a long time ago.
    But the idea that because I despise myself, always have, I can’t love anyone else? That’s absolutely crazy. Mind you, with romantic love, I pick predators, so it’s not a good place for me to go. I’m like some sort of rabbit hopping around in front of a starving jackal going “oooh, me, me, pick me!” So I opted out of the game 13 years ago. Never looked back until last year when I briefly let an old mistake back in. Some people may get smarter with age. Me, I’m not so sure.
    But yes, I am capable of love although romantic love does not work out. I love my son with all my heart and soul and have tried my hardest to make sure that his tendency to be depressive doesn’t get the better of him. At least he understands that he has this tendency. He doesn’t despise himself. He’s working towards some very lofty goals (pre-med) and he never quits. So I guess I did something right.
    It’s a hallmark of a good post when you give someone verbal diarrhea! 😉
    Seriously, this struck a chord in me. Thank you.

    • bellejarblog April 10, 2013 at 1:55 am #

      Oh man, it sounds like you’ve travelled a really rough road. That rabbit and jackal analogy is pretty brilliant, though. I’ve felt that way too!

      I’m glad things are better with you now ❤

  10. The Real Cie April 8, 2013 at 4:56 am #

    Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    Read this post. Just read it!
    Dear Author, I feel you with so much of this. I have rapid cycling type II bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and OCD. Add to this the fact that I’m a plus size woman in a society that despises larger people. The idea that I’m ever gonna find love is slim and none, and Slim done got the fuck outta dodge a long time ago.
    But the idea that because I despise myself, always have, I can’t love anyone else? That’s absolutely crazy. Mind you, with romantic love, I pick predators, so it’s not a good place for me to go. I’m like some sort of rabbit hopping around in front of a starving jackal going “oooh, me, me, pick me!” So I opted out of the game 13 years ago. Never looked back until last year when I briefly let an old mistake back in. Some people may get smarte with age. Me, I’m not so sure.
    But yes, I am capable of love although romantic love does not work out. I love my son with all my heart and soul and have tried my hardest to make sure that his tendency to be depressive doesn’t get the better of him. At least he understands that he has this tendency. He doesn’t despise himself. He’s working towards some very lofty goals (pre-med) and he never quits. So I guess I did something right.
    It’s a hallmark of a good post when you give someone verbal diarrhea! 😉
    Seriously, this struck a chord in me. Thank you.

  11. AmazingSusan April 8, 2013 at 4:56 am #

    “is going to get any easier?”

    Ummm. No. #TheVoiceOfExperience

    “learn to keep some for yourself.”

    Perhaps not “the secret,” but useful.

    What worked for me? !) Leave normal behind. 2) Let life “pull/guide/shape/evolve” where you should be going 3) Be a square peg in a round hole.

    http://amazingwomenrock.com/heres-to-being-a-crazy-one-a-misfit-a-rebel-and-a-round-peg-in-a-square-hole

    You are exactly where you are meant to be right now. Have faith. You are amazing 🙂

    P.S. Also, fitting in is vastly overrated (so are virginity and being right #justsayinginpassing):

    http://amazingwomenrock.com/fitting-in-is-vastly-overrated-its-proven

    P.P.S. Keep writing ❤

    • bellejarblog April 10, 2013 at 1:56 am #

      HAH! This is perfect: “Also, fitting in is vastly overrated (so are virginity and being right”

      I will definitely take a gander at the posts you linked to. I really love your writing!

  12. Shelby Henry April 8, 2013 at 6:00 am #

    This entire post was really great, but the last two lines- absolutely beautiful. I will carry those words with me. Thank you.

  13. Writer / Mummy April 8, 2013 at 6:34 am #

    What a beautiful and thoughtful post full of aching sadness and a final note of hope. I truly hope you find your peace and the ability to spare some love for you. I could relate to much of what you have written (although not to the same depths) and I wouldn’t know where to start offering advice (although the human instinct is to find some way to make it better). The best I can say is keep striving. Read the Desiderata. Keep breathing.

    • bellejarblog April 10, 2013 at 2:04 am #

      Thank you so much. I love the Desiderata and I love that you mentioned it! ❤

      • Writer / Mummy April 10, 2013 at 6:55 am #

        I quote it to myself all the time! 🙂

    • NO ULTERIOR MOTIVE April 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

      If you haven’t already, if I might suggest and be so bold, here is a link to a short back-story I wrote about Desiderata. If you don’t want to read the back-story, just play the 4 minute Desiderata recording in the article. I’ve also printed the words, if you care to copy them. Desiderata speaks for itself. I hope you find the same calming and peaceful feeling I get every time I hear it; I listen to it frequently.

      http://noulteriormotive.com/2012/08/26/desiderata-something-thats-desired-as-essential/

  14. Mari April 8, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    Thank you for writing this awesome blog, I’m so glad I’ve found it.

    In this particular post, there’s one thing that’s bothering me:

    “You stop giving all of your love away and learn to keep some for yourself.”

    All through this post you write like love is something finite, something that you have a certain reserve of that can be divided – that if you give all your love away, there’s nothing left for you. But surely, that’s not the way love works, is it?

  15. secondinfancy April 8, 2013 at 7:53 am #

    I really liked this post. It definitely hits the nail on the head about the constant feelings of self-doubt and a crippling sense of inadequacy in a relationship.

    Going back to an earlier topic in the post, I, too, find it irritating when people say I have to “learn to love myself” before someone else can love me. As though “loving yourself” is like this finish line or some goal you can attain in just twelve short weeks and that the main motivator behind “loving yourself” should be the promise of romance with someone else.

    Although my mental health is (for the most part) somewhat “stable,” my significant other’s is not. He struggles with bipolar disorder and I can tell how much it hurts him when he’s going through an “episode” of depression and his ability to be loving and affectionate shuts down. I am 1000% patient with him and I never take it personally, but it really sucks that he feels so guilty about his behavior. At the same time, others have told me that I’m “enabling” him by being so accepting and patient but I feel like as long as he isn’t being abusive or cruel, I’m okay with giving him space or offering a patient ear when he needs to get some of his darker feelings out.

    Anyway, sorry for the anecdote. Your post gives me hope though. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be loved. I’m sorry that sometimes the struggle seems unbearable.

  16. kyrielleadelshine April 8, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    I hope you don’t mind me saying — I think your perspective in your head is fooling you because I see a world’s worth of value just in this one post that you’ve written. Thanks for sharing, it reminds me of many parts of myself and it’s always nice to not be alone (especially in the miserable, self-loathing parts).

  17. Amanda April 8, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    This is so well written and articulated. I relate to everything you wrote here and often struggle with the fact that someone normal still loves me.

  18. no step too loose April 8, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    I really enjoy your post and the pictures! Wish you all the luck and love! 🙂

  19. Victoria April 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    Danielle, you absolutely nailed it, eloquently. Most all of my life had that theme running through it… “there must be something wrong with anyone who is attracted to me”. And, the, “can’t love another ’til you love yourself” drove me to viciousness! Still manages to raise the hairs on the back of my neck. It did eventually prove to be all backwards. You do learn to love yourself, by loving another. And the ‘another’, shows you how to love yourself. We are loveable; worthy of our own compassion.

    Beautiful photos, too. And thank you for a great chuckle this morning, when I read this: “…or actually thought that Atlas Shrugged was a good book.” Brilliant!

  20. mariechoupette April 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    a very great article! congrats 😉

  21. egoodrich244 April 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    I hear you on a lot of this stuff! Depression really can really do a number on peoples’ ability to be happy and allow others to show genuine affection, let alone accept it. For me, it sometimes helps not even to just self-affirm but when I think about the times where I feel the happiest, it’s when I just shut it off. I don’t mean numbing myself so much as not dwelling on trying to stay positive or banishing/pushing out negativity. I find it works well for me to try and just be. I really like the thoughts you present here, Danielle. Keep up the great work!

    -Eric

  22. NO ULTERIOR MOTIVE April 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Above Ali said… “beautifully articulated…” He’s correct. It’s obvious you’re not afraid to face your true feelings about another person. Fear will just breed more fear, so I compliment your wisdom, and those pictures are showing off your love for each other. FYI…My wife and I dated, hung-out together, for 4 years. Keeping in mind, of course, both of us are a long ways from being perfect, here’s what I did before I asked my wife to marry me, 44 years ago. I pictured myself living without her in my life, the rest of my life. I decided that would never, never work. Out of all the women I had know (I was 26 at the time), I decided, she was the only lady that fit in my picture, the only one that would allow me to be me…no camouflage allowed. I of course decided I felt the same about her. Then, one day I asked her, “I know you and I will share the good times and money, but will we also be able to share the bad times and the bills?” The key word is share. I didn’t say a word till I heard her answer. Well, we’ve been married 44 years. And, by the way, the day I met her, I was not looking for a wife and she was not looking for a husband, we were both as independent and cocky as could be. Next to God, she’s the best that has ever happened to me.

  23. nurseplummer April 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Insightful post and love the joyful photos. Your writing is so engaging, no matter the topic. Much of what you’ve written here, I get and have also experienced. The aspects of insecurity in a treasured relationship can rear its ugly head at times whether one is clinically depressed or not. The “I am not good enough and have to do better” has been my companion for decades. Glad you shared and very glad you have a love you treasure. And, glad that your husband is the way he is too, as you are so worth it!!!

  24. Fiona @ lifelyricslemoncake April 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    This made me cry, it spoke so clearly to me. I think I am depressed, though I have never really done anything about it. I just agree with you so much. Thank you for writing this. I think I’m going to share it with twitter. Pictures are gorgeous and full of love. Keep up the good work.

  25. selectivelyrussian April 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    You are wonderful, and so is your writing! Now THAT is something to be proud of. =)
    xx

  26. KT McVeigh April 8, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    When I go to her feeling the way you describe here, my mom always tells me I have that old Groucho Marx attitude- that I don’t want to be a member of any club that would have me. It’s a self-esteem issue for sure, but the only way I know of to overcome it is to drench yourself in self-love and remind yourself that you’re worth it.

  27. brennalayne April 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    This is lovely and devastating and so, so true. All of it. I wonder sometimes, in our supersizing culture of validation, if we place too much value on happiness–not meaning or fulfillment, but hyper-chirpy narcissistic happiness. We take in a constant stream of messages from a media telling us that money *can* buy happiness, that if we’re not happy it’s our own darn fault, that happiness is the only ideal state. I think transcendence comes in other moments, too. You’ve made some pretty gorgeous and meaningful words out of the crap you’ve had to struggle through.

  28. reneejohnsonwrites April 8, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    Beautifully said. Perhaps it is through loving others that we learn to love ourselves – not the opposite. Let’s make the new mantra!

  29. Olivia April 8, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    Thank you for this. I obviously didn’t write the post, but I may as well have. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not the only one that feels this way. Best wishes to you dear.

  30. Jeannee April 9, 2013 at 2:36 am #

    I especially resonate with what you wrote about depression! Have shared this on my Facebook page. God bless Lauren “Someone like you 18” whose twitter feed caught my eye even more than the items of clothing she was wearing today, that referred me here!

    • maureen stclair April 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

      your blog is full of self love! to take the time and share with the world your reflections means you must know love and feel love for yourself deep down. otherwise where would you find the courage? perhaps it is in the way dominant culture defines self love?? and how we try to fit ourselves into that definition. your blog defines self love for me! bless up. one love. maureen

  31. Celeste April 13, 2013 at 4:54 am #

    You knocked this shit out of the park, woman. I followed a link here and I am so glad that I did.

  32. shereadstoomuch April 14, 2013 at 3:56 am #

    Beautiful! I especially loved this; “You stop giving all of your love away and learn to keep some for yourself.”

  33. CMCK April 17, 2013 at 2:40 am #

    You are my alter ego. Love what you have written.

  34. Vodka Blog April 18, 2013 at 1:54 am #

    I found this post via Jessica Stanley and, aside from putting into words exactly how it feels to be depressed and in a romantic relationship (specifically the part about wanting the person as far away from you as possible when you’re at your lowest), it also reminds me of a poem I just posted by Warsan Shire called “For Women Who Are Difficult To Love”.
    The best line – “you can’t make homes out of human beings”
    Anyway – here you go. Thanks for writing this post.
    http://thevodkablog.com/2013/04/11/for-women-who-are-difficult-to-love-warsan-shire/

    • bellejarblog April 18, 2013 at 3:09 am #

      Oh holy shit this made me cry. Thank you. I literally cannot believe she’s only 24.

    • Coolpeoplesuck June 1, 2013 at 12:20 am #

      Seriously, self loathing is what defines us, you have many friends out here. Sincere good luck with your relationship. xx

  35. Rosie April 28, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    Reblogged this on FEMBORG.

  36. leejtyler May 29, 2013 at 1:14 am #

    I adore this. I’m trying to read from start to today and finally decided I would read from Matt and you and then to the marriage and then to Theo. That’s my plan at least. (Yeah, right.) Love your writing!!!

  37. Flo me la June 14, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    “Like, great, Mom, I just wanted a hug and maybe some chocolate, not a biology lesson about large jungle cats.” Haha! The first part of this post is hilarious(-ly clever).

    “You can”t love until you learn to love yourself” reminds me a bit of people who say you have to “choose hapiness”, and that you CAN always choose hapiness. It’s like a big slap in the face for anyone who’s ever been depressed. And shaming people for failing to love themselves or failing to be happy is like double punishment – if you’ve already had bad luck in life, do you really need people making you feel even worse about it? Makes me kind of angry.

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