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All You Need Is Love

I am such a loving person. My family jokes that I have ALL the love languages…but giving presents is my favorite! I meet you once, and I’m ready to put you on my Christmas Card list. I have doctors, teachers, therapists, tons of people. In fact, if you’re not on my Christmas Card list, send me your address, I would love to add you! One time, I was on the phone with a customer service agent from my bank for half an hour and I was ready to marry him. I love hard and fast. The thing is, I am very good at giving love, but receiving it is much more difficult.

I recently had a get-together with some of my friends to celebrate my 40th birthday. First of all, it was almost impossible to narrow it down to ten loved ones. My list is so long. But then, once I had the list set, I started making presents for everyone. I wanted them to know how much I loved them. I ended up with just a poem and a hand-made bookmark, but I had much more planned. My best friend reminded me that they were coming to celebrate ME. That they already loved me. I didn’t have to prove it to them.

So why is it so hard?!

The truth is, I don’t feel lovable. I get so angry and disgusted with myself that I can’t imagine why anyone would want to love me. The other day I called my car repair company, who I hadn’t seen in two years, and they were so happy to hear from me, they had been worried about me. There’s a joke that “everyone loves Liz”, and I laugh when people say it, but it just doesn’t feel true. No matter how many times I hear it, I just don’t believe it.

Right now, I’ve got the flu, or some sort of similar bug. I have plenty of food in my house, but I can’t eat. I’m pretty much stuck on liquids, and my favorites right now are Diet Pepsi and smoothies. I have had several people offer to help me out, drop things off, but I haven’t been able to take them up on it. I just feel so guilty needing something. So, my poor mom has to do it all. She is exhausted, and has to work, but she is the only person I feel safe asking for help. Picking up and dropping off drinks is a form of love. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to do it for someone else, so why is it so difficult to accept it myself?!

It’s not that I never received love growing up. Lots of people have loved me since I was born. It’s just that over time, my self-esteem became less and less and I stopped believing what people were saying. So how do you fix it?

I think the biggest thing is not NEEDING other people to love you. When you only feel good about what you are doing when people are telling you, it’s never going to be enough. I’ve got to get to the point where I love myself, and am proud of the things I am doing. That I can recognize myself, not require external recognition.

I’m trying, but it’s really hard.

Right now, I’m trying to appreciate myself in small steps. I wrote a blog post. Amazing! I did a load of laundry. Great job! I feel, in the depths of my soul, that I should be able to do much bigger things, but right now, I can’t. I need to stop measuring myself against my former co-workers, my family, my friends, and be proud of myself for each step I can take.

It’s going to take some time. I’ve been putting myself down for 40 years, so I’m not going to fix it in one day, but the rewards will be unbelievable. I won’t need to call people for approval. I won’t feel terrible about everything I do. I will be able to enjoy the success of just being me. It sounds pretty exciting, doesn’t it?

So, if you are in the same boat as me, you know that it’s pretty miserable. I don’t want to be stuck here, how about you? I’m going to take small steps, and just work to enjoy being loved just for who I am, not for what I do. I am so grateful for all the amazing people in my life that love me, and I just want to feel it. I love loving, so I can only imagine how great it will be to experience love! And I hope you can, too.

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