Thursday, October 22, 2009

Toni-ism 09: Love Yourself First

It sounds so simple, but it's really the hardest thing to do. I didn't come up with this phrase, but I firmly believe in it: You have to love yourself before you can love somebody else. RuPaul made the phrase popular, but it's something we all have heard in one variation or another.

Growing up, I had serious depression issues. I remember thinking that there was no way I would ever be able to sustain any relationship because there was something wrong with me. I was too skinny or too gossipy or too much of anything that was a turnoff. Part of it came from some of the things I saw growing up. My brother's father was an abusive guy, but only towards myself and my mother. My brother never got so much as yelled at by his father from what I can remember. When I was a kid, I didn't know that he wasn't my father too (long story), so it made me think that abuse=love since I saw my 'dad' hurting my mother physically sometimes, but moreso mentally and emotionally. I thought that was the way it was supposed to be.

I went through my early teen years thinking that, if I was just everything that everyone wanted, I'd have the love that I so eagerly desired. I started giving myself emotionally to every person that came into my life, resting my happiness on tehir shoulders. That's not fair to do to anyone, but as a teenager, what do we really know about relationships? I know I was kinda clueless, but maybe that was just me lol. Anyway, I thought that the key to happiness was to have someone tell you they loved you.

When I was 17, I attempted suicide for the first time. I can't really say what led up to it, because I think I was just fed up. I felt that all of the people in my life were just there out of a feeling of obligation. I didn't think that anyone could love a girl like me. I felt that I was so flawed, I'd never be able to live amongst others and them not see the fucked up person that was me. I didn't realize that I was getting back what I was putting out there. I didn't know that, because I didn't think highly of myself, no one else did either. Sure, I had tons of 'friends' and went on dates and had boyfriends, but I never really felt loved. My best friend saved my life that day, by the way. She stayed with me all day and wouldn't let me go to sleep (I had taken pills) or anything. Lucky for me, her mother was a nurse, so she knew what to do.

As I grew up and went through things, I realized that the reason I wasn't happy with anyone else is because I wasn't happy with myself. I didn't love myself enough to know when to stay and when to leave. I didn't have hte confidence and security to put myself first. Once I realized that love starts with me, my whole life changed. I became more confident and realized I could make it on my own because I had the love of God and loved myself enough to make sure it happened.

When you reach the point in life where your love of self is strong, you find the strength to stand up for what you want. Now that I love Toni for who she is, I'd never tolerate abuse of any kind from anyone, whether they be family or stranger. Once you love yourself, it makes you strong enough to love someone else. Otherwise, you'll just be their puppet, letting them string you along on their own journey, when your journeys should be joint.

Love yourself first. Know your worth. Allow no one to make you feel like you aren't worthy of love. These are things I tell myself every day. I'm not saying that I have all teh answers, because Lord knows I'm a mess, but I know what's worked for me. I love myself enough to walk away from situations that I may have tolerated a few years ago. I love myself enough to fight for what I believe in. I love myself enough to love my son with everything I have. I love myself enough to love you.

Well, lovies, that's all for now. Until next time....

Con mucho amor,

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