Accepting Yourself – Self Worth, Self Acceptance, Self Love

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    Hi Tiny Buddha, I would like to thank all of the writers and forum contributors that participate here, it has helped me grow as an individual and has become a safe haven to visit when life gets tough, so thank you! (Long post, TL;DR is at the bottom for a summary)

    This is my first post, and after some consideration, I have decided to share where I am in my life and the challenges that I am facing in regards to being happy in my own skin and on my own path. I know I am not alone in these feelings and I welcome any and all constructive criticism or feedback.

    I am a 26 year old male, who is currently lost in life. I thought I had it all figured out, and boy was I wrong. Looking back on how I acted in the past several years, I am actually ashamed of my actions and behavior. I had a girlfriend and many friends, all of whom I lost or grew apart from based on my own selfish actions. I have been single for the past 2, going on 3 years, and am wondering when the universe will allow love to find me again. During this time, I have embraced growing as an individual. But there is a catch. Every hobby I try and pick up has had some subliminal motive that I hope will help me find a partner! It is like my mind wants me to pick up all of these desirable traits – to me (reading, painting, writing poetry and short stories). I truly enjoy doing all of these activities, but only when I can share the results with someone who will appreciate them as much as me, or at least entertain the idea and discuss it with me. Is this normal or healthy? I have been under the impression that you must love yourself before someone else loves you. What exactly do they by this? I believe that I am a very lovable person, I am very hard on myself, but I tend to believe that most people are.

    I am also an individual who identifies very closely with their career. Last year, I took a leap of faith and moved 20 hours for a job. When I arrived, the job wasn’t exactly as it was portrayed, I developed a drinking problem, lost all of my motivation to be physically fit (my one true passion), and was desperately seeking out companionship. I was living in a college town and all of my associates were underage college students. Needless to say, it was a very toxic situation and I ended up resigning and moving back home where i currently reside, unemployed. How do you take out the silver lining in (whatever forces plan, wether it be god, karma, or so be it). Living in my home town I can’t help but feel like a failure. My fear of failing again haunts me almost daily. What crushes my spirit most is that all I truly desire was to be successful in my career. I am aggressively searching for a new job in the same field, but the rejection is really playing on my ego. I do not believe that my self esteem has been worse, and I am ashamed to show my face around my hometown for fear of judgement from people who could care less about me. How silly is that? What hurts me the most is looking back. I know looking back serves no one, but I just can’t help but wonder… If I had a girlfriend there, would everything have been different? would I have been able to cope differently? stay out of debt and take care of what needed to be done?

    Thank you to all those who took the time to read. I hope that every reader finds their happiness and self-peace.

    1.) When finding yourself and what you’re passionate about, how do you do that without motives to impress a spouse? (I.E. I love to write, but only when I can share it with people) Am i truly doing this for my own self?
    2.) took a leap of faith and moved across country for job. didn’t go as planned and I correlate my self worth with my self fulfillment and career. I am embarrassed for failing and what others think/say about me.


    Hi Rozay,
    First of all, thank you for sharing your story. It takes a lot to open up and discuss self-perceptions and areas of self improvement so I think this is a good starting point to hopefully find (or begin to find) peace of mind. I log on to Tiny Buddha everyday to find encouraging stories and situations that I can relate to and your story, amongst many others, is one that I can relate to. I decided about a year ago that after living in California for nearly a year, that I wanted to move back home and worried about what people would think, whether they’d deem me as a failure, unable to survive away from family, friends, etc. The truth is, whether or not they support your decision shouldn’t matter. If moving back home, wherever that is for you, makes you happy then do it. After all, even if you move back and decide that that’s not where you belong you can keep on moving until you figure out where you do belong. Remember the only thing permanent in this life is change. Secondly, I think it is very important that you stay active doing things you enjoy doing. I think at a certain point in life we all feel like we need some type of gratification and acceptance regarding the things that we are passionate about. In regards to your question about motives… This is a somewhat confusing question to me, maybe due to the word “impress”. I feel that it is certainly in our nature to desire approval of people that we care about and who care about us, but when I think of the word “impress”, the last thing on my mind is things I’m passionate about. I don’t go out to try to win someone’s approval by playing the piano, writing poems, or anything that I consider hobbies. I participate in things I enjoy doing for my own satisfaction and my boyfriend supports me whether or not he is passionate about the things I’m passionate about. Your spouse/ future spouse shouldn’t be your motivator to live a happy and healthy life. Sure, they can be a contributor to your happiness but your happiness should not rely on them or anyone else for that matter.

    I think it is normal to ask these questions, probably more than one time, throughout life. Taking leaps of faith comes with the risk of failure, but what matters is how you react to it and handle the situation.
    I hope that you find happiness and inner peace/acceptance regarding these matters. Just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone on this mission of self discovery. Don’t be too hard on yourself and embrace all that life offers you, whether good or bad it’s shaping you into the person that you are supposed to be. Let that inner light of yours shine. 🙂



    It is only human to want someone to love !

    I pray and hope you find her soon but in the mean time please take small steps to move on with life and rebuild your career.

    Listen to this song by Michael Buble called ‘Lost’ – it helped me – hope it works for you too. Here is the youtube link:

    God bless !

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 1 month ago by BenzRabbit.

    Hi Rozay,

    This is just a thought, but it sounds like there are two elements you enjoy with your hobbies:
    a) engaging in the actual activity, because you yourself find it fun/interesting/relaxing/fulfilling/enjoyable/whatever
    b) sharing the experience of doing the hobby with others, by doing the activity together, talking about it, sharing the results, critiquing each others’ work, learning together, etc.

    So here’s the thing. Being comfortable being on your own, and loving yourself, are two different things.

    Maybe you are simply more extroverted, meaning you gain energy and feel revitalized from spending time with others. In this case it would make sense that a person feels that they love him/herself and have fairly good self esteem, but also feel very uncomfortable being alone most of the time. Whereas introverts tend to treasure their alone time and thrill at getting to be absorbed by a hobby with no one to distract them, extroverts are more likely to treasure sharing their hobbies and passions with like-minded people that want to socialize about them.

    If you’re already hard on yourself and you’ve recently lost a job, a home, and some relationships, no wonder your self-esteem would be taking a hit! But this one string of rotten experiences doesn’t mean you’re a failure as a person. If you can’t help but look back, don’t forget to see all your past successes while you’re at it. You’re only 26 and you’ve had relationships, moved to new places, worked hard at a career, taken your health seriously, and focused on developing and learning about yourself as an individual. Life is a mixed bag of experiences, but you are the one who gets to decide how they will shape you, and those decisions say more about who you are than your experiences.

    Would things have been different with a girlfriend? Who knows. They could have been worse, depending on what that relationship was like. Wanting friendships, romantic love, and the respect of family doesn’t make you pathetic. It makes you human. If you feel that you are ready to start dating and looking for friends, go for it. If you’ve got some serious concerns about your self-esteem and want to work on that first, go for that. You could even balance both; maybe join a hobby group for something you’re interested in. You sound pretty insightful and competent- just a little lacking in confidence right now.

    My one piece of advice is, try approaching new relationships and interactions with people without any expectations. Try to just focus on the experience, without judging it as good/bad, enough/not enough. Remember that the other person’s reaction isn’t always a reflection of what you do, what you say, or who you are. There are a lot of factors in play, most of them not in your control. When I’m feeling like a failure, it’s easy to think people might reject me because I’m somehow not good enough. Remembering these things really helped me put my self-worth back in my own hands, instead of giving it up to others.

    That was super long, hope it was helpful too! 🙂

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