I recently read a blog by a man describing his wife’s body. It was like reading the most beautiful poetry. Every curve and wrinkle and bone or bulge was described with love and admiration. He was saying how much he loved her body and how much she hated it. He was saying that her body never ceased to amaze him…that he could walk into a room and see her and have his jaw drop even after many years of marriage. And he struggled with how incongruous it was for him to feel so much love and desire for her and to feel her anxiety and dislike for herself. How could the two realities co-exist so completely?
I have often wondered this myself. Do others ever see us as we see ourselves? Do others love us for the same reasons we love ourselves? And most importantly can you feel and internalize love from another when you don’t feel it for yourself? I think you can, though it takes a bit of work. If you admire certain things in your friends and partners, you might come to realize these are not qualities they admire much in themselves. But you admire them nonetheless. We should not rob or taint each other’s experiences. Though it may be difficult to let in someone’s opinion of you that may be so different from your own, it can be very healing, particularly if you admire that person. You might realize you respect their views in general so why not respect their view of you. It takes practice, but little by little you might allow their perspective in and turn down the volume on your self –hatred long enough to hear, internalize and maybe even believe another point of view.