To Love Oneself

We all know it to be true, that to love somebody one must first learn to love oneself.


To love is not simply an act of giving oneself away, into the hands and care of someone else (that, to me sounds more like a demand than an offer) nor is it an act of ‘having’ the one you desire, which is seems to be more about greed than anything else. To me, love is about sharing. Coming together with someone else towards whom you feel attraction, affection, amusement and a sense of commonality – and seeing what lies between.


Why then do I seem to find it so hard to be ‘myself’ in a loving relationship? I become either indifferent or possessive. It is as if the ground shifts when I feel that internal pull towards another guy; I lose my sure footing. I want to be in control of everything, know everything. I develop a constant need for reassurance and affirmation.


In the end, part of loving yourself must be the capacity to affirm yourself, and somehow I seem not to have managed to develop that ability. Without the reassurance of external positive stimuli for my esteem, I tend to crumble. Like now.


Plenty of airtime is given to the fact that we gay guys tend to grow up without any positive role-models or societal messages about ourselves and that as a result of all of this lack of affirmation during our developmental phase in life we become self-loathing, sado-masochistic, attention-deprived, intimacy-averse permanent teenagers. I recognise myself and many of my gay brothers in those labels, but my question is, once all this is understood, what then? Do I just ‘suck it up’ and get on with the parts of my life where I am at least functional? How do I change any of this?


At the devastating end of yet another attempt at developing intimacy with another human being, I’m also asking myself whether it’s time, at 36, to accept that I’m damaged goods – I’m worried about inflicting myself on another person again.


Each time it gets harder.


I really don’t know what to do.

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