Then you aren’t alone.
The lack of self-compassion is an unnamed epidemic. You might hear about wonderful people that love themselves. But it doesn’t sound realistic. It’s not easy to love yourself, it might even sound impossible. It was for me for years, even now sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s hard to be compassionate to others, harder to be kind to yourself.
There’s a famous poet and meditation teacher, Stephen Levine, that said:
One of the most important paths to healing is to love oneself
Chances are, you’re too hard on yourself. You probably wouldn’t treat a friend as badly like you do to yourself, and if you did, you might not have friends. At least at some point in everyone’s life, we call ourselves awful things; a$$hole, idiot, stupid, etc.. But you weren’t born doing this. When you were a baby, you were totally full of yourself. Look at young children, they do whatever they want without much shame. When, though, did these people start feeling like this? When do we start treating ourselves like we suck?
Part of the human condition that we’re plagued with is the lack of self-love. But you can get over it, it’s possible. But don’t bully yourself into it, and be patient. With time, we can aspire to accept ourselves. The dark bits too. In a poem by Derek Walcott (a Nobel Prize winner in literature) we can see this process described with beauty:
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
-Derek Walcott, “Love after Love” (1976, 74)
You can forgive yourself and look at your life without judgment. You deserve it.