Quite a few months ago, I was wrapped in a whirlwind romance. He came into my life like a tornado, stripping back all my layers of caution and swept me off my feet, until I landed flat on my face, heart in my hands.
Upon reflection, I now recognize the aged old truth that, “one who does not love oneself, cannot love another.” For you see, this man suffers from extremely low self-esteem, he does not love himself, he does not recognize his worth and all the wonderful things that make him who he is. So in his lack of love for himself, he latched onto a woman bursting with love to give. And once that love was consumed, he was out the door, seeking the same intensity of love elsewhere.
When one does not recognize their worth, it is easy to seek it through the attention and love of others. Most people don’t realise that this is what they are doing. They feed on the love and attention that this other person or persons are giving them. They love the love and attention that’s being given and confuse it for loving that person. Realistically, what they are in love with, is someone loving them more than they love themselves.
At first, I was devastated, angry and heartbroken. At first, I didn’t understand. I felt empty, my world was shaken and I felt as though I had lost my sense of worth. Actually, I loved myself a little less if I’m going to be completely honest with you. How could someone do that? Perhaps I wasn’t worth it after all, is what a small voice inside me said. Heartbreak can do all sorts of things to your self-esteem. Heartbreak can rock your world so much that you don’t even recognize yourself.
This made me realise something very important. I could of went out and sought to fill the small hole he had made in my heart with the love and attention of another. I could have found my worth by consuming the love of someone else and continued this vicious cycle. Because that is what it really is, isn’t it? Whether you are rebounding or just one with low self-esteem – It is just a cycle of consuming someones love for your own benefit or to ease the pain. When does it stop though? At what point does one realise they are doing this? At what point do we realise that we are actually hurting those people that have real feelings and love for us?
It must be different for everyone. A light bulb moment that goes off in your head that tells you what you’ve been doing. Maybe it never goes off, maybe you will always be that person or maybe you’ve never been that person at all. For me though, when the light bulb went off and I realised what he had done to me, I immediately felt a sense of remorse. It made me think back to my earlier years and the men I had dated. I was him 10 years ago. I was someone who had hurt people. I was someone who had consumed a persons love because I didn’t know how to love myself.
I immediately wanted to call every man I had ever potentially hurt and apologise for putting them through that. My remorse, was overwhelming. How could I do that? How could I be so selfish? The honest answer is that I just didn’t know what I was doing at the time. I didn’t know I was consuming someone else’s love to help me love myself more. I didn’t know I was accepting love from wherever I could get it because I didn’t know how to love myself.
In a world so full of broken people, it’s easy to become broken ourselves. It is easy to pass this hurt onto others, intentionally or unintentionally. It is easy for this vicious cycle, propagating more broken and hurtful people, to continue.
So how can we ever hope to stop this, with 7.6 billion people in this world and every one of us on our own path and trajectory in life? Everyone at different growth stages, some only figuring out who they are and what they are worth in their late 40’s or 50’s? Some, born knowing, yet are rebounding and just can’t help themselves? People that just want to hurt other people in general?
When does the cycle stop?
To be honest, I have no idea. It looks pretty dismal to me and I actually don’t know if it will ever stop.
But, I do think it can get better and here’s possibly a good starting point…
- Taking a cold hard look in the mirror…
Do you actually love the person you are and who you are striving to be? If the answer is no, it may mean that you need to make some changes in your life, but recognizing your lack of self love comes first.
2. Ask yourself, how do you really feel about the person you are with…
Are you in a relationship because you just want to feel loved? Do you just like the attention? Is it when you are lonely that you feel the need to have this person near? Have you thought about the pain and hurt you will cause this person when you walk away?
3. Making the conscious decision to not continue this cycle and choosing and learning to love yourself first.
Sometimes it’s hard to be alone. We were made with the intention of pairing off and sharing our lives with a special person, so loneliness can be consuming. But choosing and learning to love yourself first and foremost by being the best version of you that you can be is probably the best place to start. Focusing on you, is a conscious decision to discontinue the cycle.
Of course though, it can be hard to recognize that there is something missing inside you and recognize the lack of self love. I don’t have any answers on how to do this. For me, it was God that showed me my worth and my family and friends that reinforced it. Somewhere along the road, I stopped being that person and starting loving myself more. Somewhere along the road I started being confident and happy in myself. Single or in a relationship, I bring my own joy and I am in love with myself and everything I am striving to be.
If you choose you, then learn to love you for all that you are. Remember that you don’t need a man or woman to justify your worth.
YOU are already a treasure.