Let Me Tell You A Secret

Image Credit: Used with permission by Penny Redshaw. http://wwwmotivatinggiraffe.com http://www.facebook.com/motivatinggiraffe
Image Credit: Used with permission by Penny Redshaw.

Let me tell you a secret. Why? Because as my favourite giraffe (Motivating Giraffe) tells us, “If we knew each other’s secrets, what comforts we shall find”. It’s true, isn’t it? Generally if we share our secrets with another, more often than not, we find that we are not alone in that secret.

Sharing secrets (although maybe we word it differently) is one of the things that blogging can be about. Well, for me anyway. You might look at it another way, but for today I am going to share a secret with you.

My secret is that I don’t love myself.

I’d like to. Well in some ways, but I have no idea how to love myself and frankly, there is nothing I can see that is worth loving. After all the years of what I will loosely call recovery, I haven’t got this one sorted.

I don’t mean to get anyone down, or even myself, but it’s just the way it is. Books, websites, speakers, recovery programmes, even Facebook memes tell me to love myself but it’s just not that easy.

I have never loved myself. Actually I grew up in an environment that told me to love other people, not myself. As, say a three-year-old, I had little chance of understanding what that was really about but by the time I was 28, and leaving that environment, I was quite certain that if I had learnt one thing well, then it was this: I loved other people but I hated myself.

I was an expert at putting myself last. Actually I had loved other people and not myself so well that it eventually led to my depression and attempting to take my life.

Life has moved on since then.  Many hours of very good therapy, hospital and other therapeutic programmes have saved my life. But I still haven’t got it. I still read and hear that I must love myself, but actually…  I still don’t.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate myself now, except for the days when BPD and depression really kick in. But I still don’t like myself, let alone love myself. No one has actually sat me down and told me how to let go of the stuff I don’t like and find the stuff I do like.  I assume that if I did that then I would have some chance of learning to love myself.

What I learnt as a three-year-old, or four, or five, or six, and so on is pretty well fixed in my mind. While they might have been teaching me about Christianity, what I was learning was how to live my life. Actually nothing to do with Christianity, and I’m not convinced that it was what I was supposed to learn. They might not have meant to teach me to hate myself, but that is exactly what I  learnt. It’s just amazing that I got so far (to 28) before I crashed.

So what do I do here? Is this about repeating positive affirmations? Maybe reading the right book (it would be good if I could concentrate)? I just don’t know how to do this because whenever I try ‘loving myself’ I just feel like I am fooling myself.

What I know is that if this was about learning to love someone else, it wouldn’t be so hard. Just being with them would be a good start. But what if I had to learn to love a person I didn’t like? Would that work? You know there are times when I simply can’t bear to be with me. Let alone like or love myself.

I’m not so much looking for advice because I suspect I have to work this out for myself. I’m simply sharing my secret because I suspect I’m not alone in this.

There are a lot of mostly rhetorical questions here, so while I love comments, please don’t feel like I’m wanting you to share anything you’re not comfortable with.




11 thoughts on “Let Me Tell You A Secret

  1. I get it. I once had these New Age friends suggest a meditation where you met your inner child. People came back saying how they found their inner kid and played together or hugged or cried…

    me? I did it. I “saw” her… I started hitting her. I was SO ANGRY at her.

    What kind of messed up person beats up their inner child???

    1. Actually I can relate to that. It makes perfect sense. I know we’re “meant” to love, etc our inner child but sometimes it’s impossible to do if all that came from her is grief. So my conclusion? You’re no more messed up than may of us.

  2. You’re certainly not alone in feeling this way at all. There are plenty of days when I can’t think about liking or loving myself never-mind comprehend how anyone could feel that way about me. But the mind being such a powerful tool, I suppose anything, even that, is possible! 🙂

      1. What are we supposed to be achieving though and where does that pressure come from? getting up and going about my business is a great achievement most days, especially when I’m not too fond of myself, or maybe at the moment I’m still at the point of always putting myself down and that being “normal”?

  3. Maybe it’s not all about the indoctrination as a child, perhaps you don’t love yourself for some other reasons. I’ve found that getting to the root cause of something like this can often help us find the answer. It’s not something we can learn. Although knowledge raises awareness for sure, but loving ourselves comes from somewhere within, but I’m still trying to figure out how or where….but, it does seem to be slowly happening of its own accord through therapy.

    My secret is that I cut off my emotional attachment to every living soul (apart from my cats and dog!) for over fifteen years, but I didn’t realise this until last week, a poignant moment in therapy

    1. Hi Cat, I don’t necessarily blame the childhood indoctrination for how I feel about myself now. But then I’m not sure what I blame. It just is. And you are probably right that in time it may change. Unfortunately I had to stop therapy because of the cost. If only my therapist would come back to me and offer me a very cheap rate, but I don’t see that happening. I think he sees paying for therapy as somehow valuing myself enough to reach out for change.

      Thanks for sharing your secret. It makes perfect sense to me.

      1. Your Therapist has a very convenient theory for his costs! It’s a huge commitment and sometimes just no doable, but blogging’s the next best thing, IME

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