Where is the love? 

Growing up, my self-esteem was low. I was tall, lanky, and to make matters worse, psoriasis covered 90% of my body. I also dealt with the pain of abandonment issues due to my parents’ challenges with drugs. Honestly, there were times I hated myself and questioned my existence. I would often ask God, “why me.” I would pray for my psoriasis to go away. Now decades later,  I still continue to struggle with the disease.

As I became an adult, I still struggled to find love for myself, and I attributed it to my psoriasis. I figured if I could get rid of my disease, I would not only be more desirable to others but also myself. I lacked self-love, worthiness, and self-esteem, and I attributed all these negative self-views to my psoriasis.

In my mind, if psoriasis left, I would be more beautiful; thus, I would love myself more. 

Then two years ago, it happened. I found a treatment that cleared my psoriasis 100%. I was elated at the ability to walk into a clothing store and shop for whatever I wanted without thinking about my spots. I loved the fact I could go to the pool without being stared at or wear a pair of shorts without psoriasis making me stick out like a sore thumb.

However, although my skin was clear, I felt more attractive, and I could wear what I wanted, I still struggled with self-love. I continued to feel unlovable, unworthy, and not good enough.

Through therapy and lots of self-evaluation, I realize the lack of love for myself had absolutely nothing to do with my psoriasis. I have all this unconditional love I give to others, however, I struggle to provide that same type of love for myself. In the last two years, I’ve worked tirelessly to find love and appreciation for the woman who I am as I am. Thus far, I have made many self-improvements, but self-discovery continues to be a never-ending journey.

A lesson learned

The biggest lesson I’ve learned with being 90% covered with psoriasis to being 100% clear is that love for myself cannot be contingent upon where I think I should be, or what I think I should be. Self-love should be available right now, right as I am. The lack of self-love existed when I was 90% covered, and the struggle to find self-love remained a challenge when I was 100% clear; therefore the problem never had anything to do with my psoriasis, at the core of it all, it’s me. Once my skin cleared, I realized I had deeper issues to sift through that were much larger than my psoriasis.

The message of loving myself, right now, as I am has grown beyond psoriasis. Even when I encounter individuals who say I’m too this or I’m too that or I’m beating up on myself for past mistakes I have to find the ability to love myself, right now, right as I am, even with all the imperfections.

Being comfortable with you is not about being perfect. Loving yourself as you are, does not mean you are neglecting or unwilling to change in the areas that need improvement, it simply means you recognize your significance in this world, acknowledge your value, and healthy happiness for yourself is a priority.

The other important factor? Surrounding yourself with people who love you as you are.

Years ago I worked in radio. The station sponsored an annual Mother’s Day event where nominated mommies received a full makeover. These moms got their hair done, facials, makeup, and a new wardrobe. There was one particular mother who went blind six years prior due to diabetes. The dynamic of this particular mother was interesting to me because she couldn’t see her final results. She looked so amazing, yet she couldn’t see it. Everyone around her was telling her how beautiful she looked. One of the radio personalities asked her how did she feel, and she said, “I feel beautiful.” That moment will forever live with me. She couldn’t see how beautiful she looked, but because of the nice, loving, and positive people around her, she felt beautiful. That moment made me realize the importance of keeping those around you who strive to make you feel loved. It made me think about how other people can see your talents, potential, and beauty… But at times you walk around with a blind eye, unable to see what everyone else notices.

I realize as my self-love manifests, it’s imperative to surround myself among positive, loving people who have my best interest at heart.

Do you struggle with self-love?