Loving You When You Don’t Love Yourself

I wait for you outside the dressing room and hold your shoes because you don’t want me to see you in clothes that don’t fit. When I ask you if you need a different size, you say no so that you don’t have to admit to me that you might be bigger or smaller than you thought. You model the dress you like for me, but you won’t let me tell you that it looks beautiful. You just close the door and take it off and walk out like I never said anything at all.

I sit with you when you cry and wonder aloud if there’s something I can do for you. You always say no. You tell me things are bad for you and that I don’t have to stick around if I don’t want to. You don’t believe me when I say I do.

Sometimes floods pour out of you; not of tears but of words. You have no one, you say. You’ve pushed them all away. You’re out of control and terrified. You shouldn’t get anything good because you always fuck everything up. I listen to you, I challenge you, I reassure you. Like someday what I say will matter. It never does.

I love you, but you won’t let me. I love you, but you won’t believe me. I love you, but you can’t accept it because you don’t think that you deserve it.

I love you because you’re goofy and silly and sarcastic. I love you because you can turn my sobs into fits of giggles. I love you because you care so genuinely about the people you have in your life. I love you because I’ve seen you fight like hell to face your fears, pushing through the darkest of emotions to get to a place that doesn’t always feel satisfying.

I can tell you I love you until I lose my voice, but you’ll never hear it. You won’t let me love you because you don’t love yourself. And I know what that’s like because I used to be that way.

You do deserve my love, but more than anything you deserve your own. You deserve to look back on your life and be proud of the person you’ve become. You deserve to glance into the mirror and see a friend, not a rival. You deserve the happiness that comes from knowing that you are enough, at any moment, just as you are.

I will always love you. Even when you don’t love yourself. But the moment I will love you most is the moment when you don’t need it, when I see that my love for you is simply a reflection of your own. I can’t wait for the day when you really fall in love with a wonderful guy because you can finally see why someone would want to be with you. I can’t wait for the day when you walk down the street with the kind of confidence that makes people stare in admiration. And I can’t wait for the day when I compliment you and you say “thank you” with a huge honest smile that leaves no doubt in my mind that you understand your gifts.

You’ll get there. You’ll love yourself someday. And I’ll be with you every step of the way.


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