Self-love: fact or fiction?

I can remember having low self-esteem ever since I was a little kid. I constantly hold myself to unrealistically high standards, always expecting that I should be great at something even if I've never done it before. If I got a 99% on a test, well, that means I would cry about that 1% I missed leaving me just short of perfection. Thought that I messed up during a Christmas solo at school, but it was actually the CD skipping? I would then proceed to bawl my eyes out in the wings the moment I stepped off the stage. Why have I been such a bitch to myself my entire life? Still to this day I can't figure out what it means to actually like myself or feel comfortable in my own skin. The ever-elusive creature of self-love has been impossible for me to catch, no matter how hard I try. I go through so many different emotions when it comes to seeing myself in a positive light. Even my body image. I'm never happy with myself even if I'm in the best shape of my life. Why, though? I've had countless people try to encourage me that I am beautiful and tell me that I have a lot going for me, which I know I do, but I still can't figure out a way to see myself through another lens. I think it's body dysmorphia. I don't feel happy when I see myself in a mirror, which leaves me feeling very self-conscious and hyper-critical for the rest of the day. I am also an emotional eater and self-sabotage when I am going through something emotionally difficult. I dealt with binging & purging as a teenager, but it was never an image thing. It was always about having control of something when I felt the most out of control emotionally. I don't struggle anywhere nearly as much with purging anymore (only when I deal with deep depression), but binging is still something I have a hard time getting a grip on when I'm going through something. I know it's really harmful and not healthy but yet I don't love myself enough to stop and I can't figure out why or how. I think it's really important to understand and learn how to be gentle with myself and I'm still trying to find the best way for me to do that. So, if anyone who actually reads this has any suggestions or things to try, please send them my way! I'm currently learning to be as kind as I can with myself as I work through mistakes or shortcomings, and it hasn't been easy but I'm more productive because of it. I basically shut down when I disappoint myself. I don't want to keep shutting down when I fall short of my own expectations. I'm human and deserve to love myself whole-heartedly, even when I'm not perfect. I think I'm going to take this week to really dive deep into my brain and heart to try and discover the hidden truths about myself I have yet to unbury. I want to reach my fullest potential and I definitely won't get there without loving myself first. Wish me luck!

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