You’ll never feel more love than what you think you’re worthy of.
Think of self-love as receptors in your brain for love (a concept that I just came up with as a metaphor). Without these receptors, you could be flooded with love from all directions, and you wouldn’t feel a damn thing.
Or how about this one…
Everything you eat is broken down into glucose in your bloodstream. When diabetics test their “blood sugar,” they are literally measuring how much sugar (glucose) is in their blood.
Insulin is the enzyme that converts that glucose into energy and makes it into usable fuel for your cells. Without insulin, you could eat all the food in the world, yet your body would starve to death because it couldn’t make use of all the glucose amassing in your blood (which could actually kill you in short order).
Without insulin, you cannot receive nourishment, and you die.
Similarly, without self-love, you cannot receive nourishment, and you die… only this is an emotional or spiritual death that leaves the body roaming the earth thinking it’s unlovable.
Man, that’s fucking dark.
If you read my blog, you may have seen me refute the idea that “You can’t love anyone until you love yourself first.” This isn’t the whole story.
The capacity to give and receive love is learned only through being loved. This is why a loveless childhood can seemingly ruin everything. So what I’m not suggesting here is that you just pick yourself up by the bootstraps and start loving your damn self already. It’s not that easy.
However, I do suggest surrounding yourself with people who are willing to show you love, guidance, support, acceptance, and nurturing. Could be friends, therapists, mentors, etc. But the catch-22 is that if you don’t feel lovable, you may not be comfortable allowing other people to love you. This is why the people who need the most help are the least likely to ask for it.
Ultimately, I don’t think it’s bootstrapping strength that’ll pull you out of this existential dilemma but a kind of surrender that occurs for many at their emotional rock bottom. An exasperated giving in to the possibility that perhaps they are worthy of love like everyone else.
Concentrated pain and desperation often make us feel the most unlovable. However, they are also quite frequently harbingers of the type of humility, willingness, and surrender that is necessary to reconstruct a new reality for yourself starring you as someone who matters.
It’s like Carl Jung wrote years ago, “Only the paradox comes anywhere near to comprehending the fullness of life.” We have to let go of our desire to feel valuable in order to feel valuable — to stop pursuing happiness in order to find happiness.
Crossing the Line of Unworthiness
All babies enter this world immediately worthy and deserving of love, care, nurturing, and affection. These are biological imperatives, as much as the need for food and warmth. Imagine a doctor or midwife delivering a baby and saying, “Aw dang, this one’s super unlovable! You’d better adopt it out and try again.” Utterly preposterous, no?
Love is literally your birthright.
So what could possibly happen somewhere along the way to strip you of that fundamental human dignity? You make a mistake (like everyone else on earth)? Someone doesn’t have the skill or capacity to love you (not your fault)? You gain a few pounds? After being left alone with your pain, you turn to self-destructive coping mechanisms that you then shame and blame yourself for?
Where is that imaginary line you crossed, where you went from inherently lovable to irredeemably not good enough?
When did you learn that love is something you must earn or deserve by some means beyond your control?
These are not rhetorical questions. I’d like you to seriously answer them for yourself. You were not born unlovable. I promise. Who taught you that shit?
I further challenge you to share your answers with someone. Me. Therapist. Best friend. Someone safe. This is definitely a conversation worth having.
For some, it may be the most important conversation you ever have.