I truly believe in the statement that to Love someone else, you must first love yourself. A friend of mine told me this in ninth grade, and it changed my life.
You see, as a child, I was often picked on, ridiculed, and generally disliked. It happens to a lot of kids, and some, like me, start to believe that what is being said is true. I felt valueless, and was searching for my value in someone else. When I couldn’t find someone else, it made me feel worse, not only worthless, but alone.
She told me, in wisdom beyond her age, that in order for me to love someone else, or for them to love me, I had to first love myself. This was an enormous task, because you see, I didn’t even like myself.
So, I worked on it, I tried to find something about myself that I liked, any small thing, the edge to start peeling away at years of disliking who I was. Fortunately, it was about this time I started playing guitar. Through this wood and steel, I found my edge. I found something I could like about myself, and also something for people to like about me.
Slowly, over the next year, I found more and more things to like about myself, and at about the same pace, I found more people who liked me. The friends I made during this period continue to be my strongest friends. They are the ones who helped me to get past accepting myself, into liking myself, and finally, into loving myself.
As time went on, I went from being the person with one friend in the entire school, to never being without a friend. I remember dreading the first days of classes, because I thought that I was a burden on people, sitting near them. I had to look for one kind face, and if there wasn’t one, sit somewhere where people didn’t want me, or at least I thought they didn’t. I’m not sure which was the real truth. Now, I love myself, so people have started to love me in return. I walk into a new room, and there’s almost always someone who is genuinely happy to see me.
Really, everything I am, and everything people see in me, is owed to a girl who I rarely talk to anymore. In a way, this is a token of my gratitude to her, for taking the time to tell the kid that no one loved, that to be loved, he had to first love himself.
This I Believe.
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