What would happen if you decided to love yourself? Like, really love yourself? What if you woke up in the morning and, instead of being frustrated that it’s all starting over again, you were determined to face the day and enjoy being you? That you woke up with a song on your lips, a little pep in your step, and love in your heart? Not many of us can truly say that we whole-heartedly embrace who we are, that we’ve forgiven ourselves for our shortcomings and transgressions, because we relive them with every new day. We claim that we’ve moved on from the job we lost, the relationship that failed, the poor decisions we made, yet, we punish ourselves daily. If we’re enjoying ourselves, we immediately churn up a memory of how we screwed something up in a similar setting. If we find someone who loves us for who we are today, we consistently give them reasons why we’re NOT lovable, in the hopes that they’ll prove us right by leaving. These aren’t the actions of someone who loves themselves, at least not fully. These are the actions of someone who’s still hooked on life “survival” methods that we should have outgrown – concrete walls around our hearts in an effort to protect ourselves against any more pain. In reality, we’re just rejecting potential love from ourselves, and from each other. This, my friends, is the martyr complex.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we’re all intent on being the victim, because a lot of times, no one knows when you feel you’re the victim. Sometimes you even go out of your way to prove that you’re “okay”, as to not alert someone of your victim status. If you were raised in an unhealthy environment that consisted of physical, mental, or sexual abuse, this is something that could be psychologically engrained within you, and without proper treatment, it could be almost impossible to defeat. If you’re not healed, you’re virtually incapable of loving yourself or others. Oh, but you will try. You’ll seek out other broken people, because you see yourself in them. And because you can’t fix yourself, you’ll do your best to try to fix them. You become overly accommodating, painfully generous. The great side benefit is that while you’re focused on fixing them, you can bury all of your issues (presumably) and push off working on yourself. As we know though, that’s not 100% accurate. The more likely case is that you’ll just project your issues on to them, adding on to the baggage they’re already dragging around. Hurt people, hurt people, right?
You don’t have to be dealing with extreme trauma to have this intense need to suffer. It could be a past relationship that left you with some scars, scars that scab over, but never heal. This lack of healing ultimately causes a lack of self-love, and in turn, a lack of happiness. And with every new relationship, job, or personal endeavor, the scab will follow you. Maybe you’re not the sort of person who feels therapy would help – that’s okay. But what about self-care? What can you do to stop the cycle, to begin the process that will allow you to become the best version of yourself? It’s okay to forgive yourself, but you have to truly feel that you are worth forgiving. Go on a retreat. Talk to someone. Meditate. Pray. Get to know who you are, and start to be kind to yourself. You are worth loving, even by you.