We all have demons. Some of us may have more demons than others, and those demons may have more power over our loved ones than we want them to. What's worse is when one of those demons has made it so the person you love most in the world is unable to love his or herself.
You wish more than anything that you could take those demons away, but all too often you feel helpless. No matter how many times you tell your loved one how much you love them or how much they matter, their demons cloud their minds so they can't see what you see in them.
So, what do you do?
How do you love someone who simply does not love herself (or himself - this goes both ways)?
It's not easy. It will take time, growing, working and learning together, but you can learn to love someone who does not love herself. You can't destroy your loved one's demons, but there are some things you can do to help her.
1. Build yourself up so you can bear her burdens
If you want to help your loved one, you have to build yourself up first. You have to be strong enough to help them carry their burdens while she learns to love herself. You can't do that if you're not strong enough.
If you've ever been on an airplane, then you know that during their safety procedure routine before the flight takes off, the flight attendants will tell you that if there is a need for oxygen, first put the oxygen mask on yourself and then help those around you.
I use this as an example because in times of trial, you must be stable before you can go out and help others. If you help someone else before you're ready or able, you run the risk of not being able to help in a full capacity. This will not only harm the person you're trying to help, but you as well.
So as you seek to love someone who does not love herself, you must build your own mind and strength to bear your loved one's burdens.
2. Be willing to listen and be there for them when you can
Your loved one won't always want to talk, so be there when they do. When they want to talk, you need to sit and listen to what they have to say. This part is especially important - do not interrupt them. Let them get it all out. Let them tell the story while you listen. Give them time to get everything out before you start talking and giving advice.
Be sure to take their emotions into consideration, validate them for sharing their feelings with you and most of all, remind them that you are always there for them. Being a good listener is a big step in helping someone with self-love.
3. Let them know what they mean to you
I'm a firm believer in telling the people I care about how much I love them, and I think you should too.
We live in a society where for some reason, it's not "cool" to tell people that they mean a lot to you. It doesn't need to be romantic love to tell someone you love them. You can tell someone you love them because they are a very special part of your life, like your parents, siblings, close friends or your children (that's a no-brainer)!
There could come a day where you can't tell them how much you love them. One of my biggest fears is having that come true and constantly regretting not saying something I should have said.
It's very difficult for some people to verbally express these things, so if you can't form the words, let them know how much you care by doing other things. Give them a hug, a gift or a simple smile ... just show them you love them.
This is especially important for someone who doesn't love herself. She may not be receptive to the love at first, but don't let that stop you. Always share your love. When life gets rough and she can't love herself, at least she'll know you truly love her.
We may not be able to change the person we love and make them see things the way we do, but as long as we try, we're doing alright. Follow these three guidelines and start helping your loved one love herself.
Callie has two Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Communication and when she isn’t writing, she’s reading. Some of her favorite things include Harry Potter, all things Disney, road trips, and telling stories.