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Do we ever learn how to love ourselves?

Updated: Jul 20, 2020

In a world that doesn't allow you to fit in and find your place, sometimes it is difficult to accept and love ourselves. But we were not always like this.

We are not taught the course of self-love at school nor at home. We normally learn to be loved in a conditional way, by having to "do" or "be" something to be accepted.


The Baby Wisdom

Every single one of us comes to this world already loving ourselves completely. When babies, we truly love and accept our bodies. We kiss and play with our bodies all the time. Babies don't judge their own bodies, by calling it fat, ugly, this or that. They don't even judge or are ashamed of their own feces.

They are also not afraid to express their feelings. You always know when a baby is happy or sad. Although they are completely transparent about their emotions, they are always loved anywhere they go. When you go outdoors with a baby, people pass by and always have that "ohhhh" look when they come across the baby. They are cute exactly as they are. We smile when they smile. We don't want to see them crying or sick - it breaks our heart, right?

So what happened to that innocent baby, to all that love we had for ourselves?

We believe that workouts at the gym is a must, along with the good salary, the car, the house and the expensive vacations all around the world. We believe we must have all that in order to be accepted and loved by our community. And it never comes for free... we have to continue doing, buying, fighting, begging, having, pretending and sometimes pushing our own happiness aside in exchange for love and acceptance from others. And sometimes it's never enough.



Growing up & creating the belief system

When we grow older, our parents, our friends and our environment teach us different things about love. It might have happened that your parents told you that nobody will accept you as long as you don't change an specific behaviour and you should give your toy to your friend and please them first - since he is the visitor. That's how we learn to share, become polite and gentle with the people around. They were maybe correcting us and criticizing this or that so we could learn how to behave in front of others. They might have neglected our feelings many times when trying to teach us how to be strong, by telling us not to be a "drama queen", "childish" or "immature" whenever we felt sad or angry for whatever the reason.

Even those lovely things that our parents tried to teach us, things that really helped us fit in the world, could somehow change our perspective about ourselves and about life in a way that creates specific beliefs that can cause suffering throughout our life. 

For example, by hearing that nobody is going to accept us depending on our behaviour could have created a belief that we have to "do something" to deserve love and acceptance - maybe we learned that love is conditional.

By learning that we have to give the best to others first, we could have created the belief that others come first. We are always behind - and we will become adults without limits or people pleasers so we can maintain our relationships.

By learning that if you cry you are a "drama queen" or a "baby", you could have created the belief that you shouldn't have emotions or demonstrate emotions - what creates an adult who lacks empathy and struggles to understand their emotions.

These are just some examples of limiting beliefs that are created in every situation of our life and that can bring us to suffocate our uniqueness and become pleasers in a world that is never satisfied with what it is receiving.

It is important to observe ourselves and the way we treat ourselves so we can identify which patterns and programs we have created - and it's impossible not to create something because the belief system is created by absorbing outside information and creating a shield. Yes, the objective is to protect ourselves. Protect ourselves from being alone, from lack of love and acceptance - and from being criticized.

The most interesting fact is that by protecting ourselves sometimes we ed up creating a web that is actually keeping us from accepting and loving ourselves, our uniqueness and our talents.

That beautiful baby starts to hate his/her body because he/she is not going to the gym anymore because of too many work hours to buy that house that his/her wife/husband wants so much. And we get trapped in the web of self-abandonment and self-negligence. We get trapped in the stressful life of pleasing everyone except us. We get trapped in the suffering of being rejected by that person that we did everything for, thinking that they would love us.



What to do when your belief system is causing you to suffer?

I got to the edge. I got to the day when I gave up. I didn't want to live anymore. Until I saw my beautiful angels crying in my mind because I wasn't there for them. Then I decided I was fed up with pleasing others. That I had to figure how to love myself again.

It is  not easy to undo what we practiced for years and years. Even if it means punishing, criticizing, sabotaging, and neglecting your own self.

You have to destroy the walls of "protection" you have spent your life creating, and love that unique being in front of the mirror.

How?

First by observing your self-talk. How do you treat yourself? What happens when you make a mistake? Are you kind and compassionate with your own mistakes? Is it easy to forgive or do you keep blaming yourself and feeling ashamed in your own skin? Do you compare yourself with others?