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why do you make it hard to love you

When someone says they love you, is your first impulse to argue that they can't? One night when I was 21, a man with curly copper-penny hair told me:
I love you. Under the streetlight, in his tan nylon shirt, he sounded so confident. I said: I love you too. But even as I said it, I felt conflicted and sneaky and deceptiveвlike a liar. But I wasn't lying. Really. He was sweet and smart and thus difficult not to cherish. My problem was that I hated myself almost more than I loved him. The old clichГ that says you can't love others if you can't love yourself: Well, it's almost true. You can love others if you cannot love or even like yourselfвjust not wholeheartedly. Loving someone without loving or liking yourself is like trying to sew while blindfolded, or eat spaghetti with a golf ball in your mouth. The quest is much desired and not impossible. You need to sew. You're hungry. This person is really special. But something stands in the way. What obstructs love is not as tangible as golf balls or blindfolds, but worse because what obstructs love is stubborn and invisible. Self-loathing feels legitimate and valid: That's its trick. That's why we cannot simply tear it off or spit it out. It hypnotizes us. We trust it. So when we are told I love you, our first impulse is to argue. No, you don't. You can't. Because I don't deserve you, because I'm bad/weird/ugly/mean. Or because you have a sinister motive. Love me? Youвre joking. Loving others should be a pure, simple and exquisitely easy action: Whether at-first-sight or accruing slowly over days or years, once love arrives, it should beam like a lighthouse, straight and sure and bright and true.


At least, I think so. But. Those of us who donвt feel worthy refract every emotion involving others through our emotions involving us. Because our negative self-images seldom reflect reality, we tend to transform all relationshipsвand potential relationshipsвinto bizarre obstacle courses lined with pitfalls, tripwires and trick mirrors. Self-loathing makes us certain of nothing, makes us afraid and too easily ashamed. Self-loathing makes us second-guess ourselves and others, turns pleasure into performance, punctures joy. Self-loathing makes love difficult and makes us difficult to love. It makes us needy, sluggish, argumentative, often withdrawn. Whoever loves us has to do a lot of pleading. Because we believe our self-loathing is justified, each might-be-love becomes a tug-of-war between our potential partner and it. Which is to say: and us. The upside is: Whoever chooses to love (not abuse or use or take advantage of, but really love) someone with low self-esteem proves himвor herselfв heroic, simply by doing so. Persistent. Patient. Brave. So when such people summon the courage to say they love us, who are we going to believe: these heroes, or our own lying, self-loathing eyes? What if each of us could grow a new pair of ears? Functioning separately from our regular ears, these new ears would be disconnected from our inner critics: could not hear those constant insults, whines and warnings but could hear only the words of those who love us, uninflected and direct.


How would loving words sound if we weren't always trying so hard to fight them, debate them and drown them out? What if we learned to trust our new ears, learned to listen to those loving wordsвand accept them with grace? I have almost reached the two-year mark of my start to vegetarianism. The decision to change my eating rituals was pretty abrupt, as I had no idea what I was doing or what I would eat in place of meat. As some of you may know, people give up meat for reasons, like to save animals, to take care of the planet, or purely just for health reasons. I was aware of all of these reasons and I, personally, began this dietary change for every reason I just mentioned. I brought up in one of my previous articles that I was enrolled in a nutrition class during my freshman year of college. While we learned about the different nutrients and how they function, we also learned about heart disease, different cancers, and what causes them. This encouraged me to change not just my eating habits, but also my lifestyle. I grew aware of things that my prior ignorant self had failed to recognize. Ever since I began that class I have wanted to teach everything I learned to everyone I knew. The summer following my freshman year, I began introducing new foods, meals, and recipes to my family and friends.


I also began to be more physically active. My new dietary restriction and physical activity became things that I truly looked forward to. It was all so exciting to me because I knew that I was growing towards a healthier future self. Not only that, but everything I was doing, whether it was eating healthy or working out, were things that made me feel good instantaneously. While I really enjoy sharing everything I have learned with friends and family, I have been wanting to create my own outlet. I wanted this outlet to be a place where I could inform and inspire people, while also just having a place to log my health and wellness journey. What I want people to get out of this is that we should all be engaged in the health and wellness scene. That being said, I finally created a blog where I would get to share my journey with everyone. My blog is called Simply Well because I am pursuing a life that is simply. well! From healthy (and yummy! ) food to self-care practices, and even a little fitness inspiration, I share some things that I bring to my everyday life that maybe others can too. While there is an (@_simplywell), I also have an actual site that accompanies it. I hope that I can encourage others to simplify their lives. I hope to remind others that their lives are in their OWN hands and that their life is ENTIRELY up to them. And I hope that the I have created can inspire people to live a life that is authentic, fun, and simply well.

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