It is easy to get caught up in all the things you want to become, the life you want to live, the person you hope to be. It is also easy to focus on all the things you want to change about yourself and how much better you think things will be in the future when you achieve your goals. What is harder is taking the time along your journey to love yourself for the person you are right now.
There is no predefined point on your journey through life at which you finally deserve love, you deserve it as soon as you take the first step onto your own path.
You will always be a work in progress
There will never be some magical time when you have everything figured out and have reached every goal you set out to do. You will make new goals and plans as you learn more about yourself and the world around you. Your life is one continuous journey filled with long winding paths and crossroads.
Realizing that you will forever be a work in progress may make you feel disheartened, overwhelmed, scared, or paralyzed. Acknowledging that there is no great plan or final destination at which you are meant to arrive can at first feel discouraging, but it can be important to sit with these uncomfortable thoughts. When you allow yourself to accept this reality it allows you to break free from the need to validate your existence by reaching arbitrary goals.
You being a work in progress does not mean that you cannot or should not have goals and plans. It simply means that your life has meaning and is important regardless of the milestones you choose to track.
What you can do
Allow yourself to sit with the thought: I will always be a work in progress
What feelings come up? Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Let your mind wander and go where it wants to, don’t hold back and try and direct it, allow it to move freely.
What negative emotions arise? Allow yourself to feel scared or anxious. You may want to ignore or shy away from the harder emotions but it is important that you are being honest with yourself and your true feelings. Being vulnerable with yourself can be just as difficult as being vulnerable with others. Understanding the root of the negative emotions can help you find ways to work through them.
What positive emotions arise? Maybe at first you don’t feel anything positive as your mind goes straight to what scares you. As you ruminate on what it means to be a work in progress start to envision what freedom it can allow you and what possibilities it opens up.
There is no perfect version of you
There is no perfect version of yourself nor is there a perfect version of anyone else. There is no predetermined end goal that if someone reaches it they are then deemed worthy of being loved.
These words can allow you to unburden yourself from a fantasy that cannot be achieved. You can be free to live each day as its own beautiful moment. You can change direction, you can try new things, you can start new. You can choose to enjoy the short time you have by loving yourself right here right now.
You have the ability to decide that the imperfect human you are deserves love just as you have decided other imperfect humans deserve your love.
While there is no perfect version of yourself, there are many versions of yourself that you can work towards. Maybe you want to be more confident, accepting, or mindful. You always have the option to create and work towards goals that will enhance your life and the lives of others. The aim is to work towards improving yourself without becoming narrowly focused on only reaching the goal. When you have identified something you want to achieve it can be easy to fall into rigid thinking. This can mean not allowing your goal to change, keeping a goal that is no longer working for you, and not focusing on the journey towards the goal.
You can love yourself and still be working on yourself
You are not the person you were ten years ago and you are not the person who will exist ten years from now. You are not the mistakes from your past and you are not the good choices of your future. You simply are.
There is only one true version of yourself and that is the person that is existing here and now.
Loving yourself and accepting where you are right now doesn’t mean you have given up on working on yourself. You can acknowledge that there are things you may want to change about yourself or goals you would like to achieve while at the same time acknowledging that you deserve love and respect.
Think about the people you care about, you likely want them to be happy and for them to do the things they enjoy, you want to see the people you love succeed. Too often we focus on the external love and don’t spend enough time and energy on the internal love we should have for ourselves.
By loving yourself here and now you are setting yourself up for happiness and success. You want the best for those you love and that should include you. You allow yourself a more positive outlook and future when you truly decide to love yourself.
You deserve love
It is easy to get caught up in the toxic thought that you will only deserve love once you meet an arbitrary goal. Once you land that important job, or your art gets noticed, or you lose the weight, or you move out of your home town. But the problem is there will always be another goal and another reason that you feel you don’t deserve love.
It is also easy to get caught up in focusing on external love, wanting to feel needed and appreciated by others. As important as bonds with others are the most important person to love you is yourself. When you love yourself first you are then able to love others more openly and honestly.
Loving yourself means you are not giving someone else the power to decide if you deserve love. It means you acknowledge and accepted your worth and others cannot take that away from you.