November 20, 2020
How do we learn to accept ourselves? To love ourselves for who we are? Warts and all.
My journey to self acceptance and unconditional self-love took place mainly over the course of high school, college, and medical school. I have ADHD (the inattentive type) and dyslexia, which is now called reading disorder. They have influenced my life since I was very young and over my lifetime I’ve come up with many coping mechanisms and tools to help me manage and thrive.
But as a kid and especially as schoolwork required more reading and as material became more challenging in high school and beyond, spending hours reading the same chapter in a book and highlighting the lines in a million different colors and still not remembering any of it got frustrating. I got angry. There were times when I just got so down on myself…even thinking about it now and remembering that time in my life… I’m tearing up while I write this…
I felt so inadequate and so small. Only a few people know what a struggle that was for me. Not even most of my closes friends… I kept in secret all the tears I shed and how often I’d beat myself up with negative thoughts. It was a hard time for me as a student. But it was an even harder time for me as a human in that uncomfortable mind muck of self pity.
But I had those few people I needed. I had Alana and I had Laura. People with whom I could be totally and completely myself. People who loved me unconditionally. And who I loved back. And slowly I learned to look at myself differently. My mindset shifted. To one of self-appreciation and self-confidence and self-worth. Realizing that I have all these gifts and traits that I’m so grateful for and that these things that make life more challenging are part of me too. And probably always will be. So if I want to love myself then I have to love my whole self. Warts and all.
So I let my ADHD and my dyslexia sit with me and accompany me every day all day long. Now I see them not as these terrible insurmountable obstacles in life but as companions coming along for the ride. Now I not only accept myself. I love myself. All of myself.