How Do I Love Myself When I Don’t Know Who I Am?

I know that I am needy and I am not ashamed. I like being adored but so does everyone because —doesn't it feel so good to be needed?


When a person, who has been in constant denial of her emotions, is forced to face it, they are often faced with an outburst of mixed emotions. Anger mixed with love, compassion with hatred, loneliness with anxiety; and our mighty depression reigns the throne. These emotions hinder the judgement skills of humans. Wondering how I know this so well? Unfortunately, I am talking about myself.


How Do I Love Myself When I Don’t Know Who I Am? A person who has been in constant denial of her emotions when suddenly compelled to deal with them is often faced with a sudden outburst of mixed emotions. There is anger mixed with love, compassion with hatred, loneliness with anxiety; depression has to reign the throne. This intertwining of emotions that is thrown at the person, dealing with this range of emotions starts to cloud the judgement of human beings. Unfortunately, this person I am talking about happens to be me.
Art by Vanya Goel

While I stare blankly at the pillow, I think about the concept of intimacy and love. I yearn for that one touch that I have never experienced before— the one that’s worth a million unspoken words. Will I ever experience what my mind desires more than the rest of me or will I sublime into nothingness?


The unhealthy pressure to love myself when I am alone at all times is becoming suffocating. It is akin to a slab of steel forced on my chest. I can feel my ribs crushing and this shattering pain travelling to my heart till it will crumble into just another bloody mess on the floor. I will be shrouded by flies yearning to taste the bitterness of my heart. I would have done anything to turn this emptiness into a sweetness that can only be familiar to those whose lips have tasted the fragrance of a mango.


While the entire ‘Love Yourself’ campaign seems healthy and liberating, it is not. We are all broken. I did not realise this until I watched an episode of Euphoria's recent season. I am talking about the scene where Kat was imagining that she was surrounded by a lot of women chanting‘Love Yourself’. Kat looked traumatised because she could not understand how loving yourself can be a single process? How do you accept your flaws and your strengths when you do not even know what they are? When you cannot accept yourself, how is loving yourself an option?


What if one day I just wake up and everything I found riveting was not interesting to me anymore? The idea of newness is electric and it is something I want but I cannot help but feel terrified at the same time. What if I do not like the changes or what if the change itself despises me?


I have never feared anything more than failure and rejection in my life. The idea that someone won’t accept me for who I am, won’t love me, and would rather reject me sends a shiver down my spine. Not succeeding in life, not being able to make something of myself is my second nightmare.


I am a good conversationalist but it doesn’t come easy to me. While I enjoy the silence in between, I find it hard talking to people. I have to convince myself that no one is going to harm me if I socialise. Socialisation seems like an arduous task and after socialising for a couple of days, I need a day to recover. On such days, I just sit on my bed and watch a movie or a show, trying to mentally prepare myself for the next time I go out.


Let me be clear: I do not hate socialising. I like meeting new people and hanging out with my friends but at times I have to really put the effort into socialising, something that tires me out. I think it is important to keep up appearances. If someone repeatedly asks me to hang out with them, they are going out of their way to ensure they are still connected to me. They might have issues that they are dealing with and the least that you can do is respect them because they are trying to make time for you.



A few days ago, I decided to go on a trek to Himachal Pradesh with my friends. To enjoy the snow that Himachal experiences year after year, we tried to climb as high up as we could. However, for me, it was more than just about snow. The trek had more than just a literal meaning for me, the metaphorical meaning meant more to me. Climbing the mountain was like a new challenge for me.


I was physically climbing a mountain to metaphorically get over my fear of rejection and failure. Albeit, I didn’t succeed in getting over my fears even after completing the trek. However, I realised that I have what it takes to face my fears. If I can climb a mountain, cross areas where landslides had happened just a few hours earlier than me crossing it (multiple times) and still make it alive, there is nothing in this world I cannot do.


We end up living by proverbs and idioms so much that we tend to forget that all humans are not the same. If we are all not alike then why do we end up following the same rules?


Just like Cinderella’s glass slipper didn’t fit anyone else but her, not all the sayings that were established in the past are fit for the ones living in the present. Figuring yourself out is a terrifying task and it is not going to happen overnight. Some days you might be struggling with old problems, other days you might have something new to deal with.


I think as the day passes by, I wake up a more mature person than the previous day. I am learning how to deal with my internal issues while keeping a happy appearance on the outside. I think I am growing up a little as I write this and you are too while reading this.


Edited By-Shivangi Tripathi