This was going to be a post simply about honesty. By the necessity of my own mind it morphed into something more about learning to let yourself be loved for people who struggle with self-hate. It is still about honesty, about why being honest is important, but it goes past that to why learning to be honesty, truly yourself is important for people who struggle some days to even like themselves.
This of course has to start at the point of being needy. When you struggle to like yourself, every person around you who shows open dislike towards you, their singular comments or quick looks are amplified 100 times over. Hell, to be perfectly honest, you are probably misinterpreting some of those statements or reading to much into completely unemotional glances. It is important to feel as though people around you like you.
More importantly. You really need them to like you for you. No amount of play acting, or cover stories, or disconnected smiles makes you feel better about it. If you aren't being yourself when somebody expresses to you that they like you it becomes meaningless. It becomes essential to feel as though you are being yourself. If you aren't being genuine in your head there is no why the person you are with could possibly be being genuine. (If this is something you struggle with personally I know that you will still struggle to accept they are being genuine even when you are - we'll work on it.)
Finding yourself, specifically trying to cultivate the person you feel like you are without the self-hate, is hard. Certainly I've been working on it a while and at times I still fall through the cracks into the dungeon of my own making. However, from very early on, you are rewarded with people who seem to like you - now it's for being you. Something about the honesty replaces one of the layers between you and being able to accept praise. Now, though you might not understand it, people do seem to appreciate the 'real you'.
A word to the wise. Never try to quantify why it is that those people like you. How or why they've chosen to be your friend. This is a dangerous thought pattern and generally will lead you back to self-hate through your inability to explain it or feel worthy of it. However if you are thinking these things I find it useful to express these doubts to your friends (not all of them just one or two of those closest ones). They won't be able to answer the question very well. They'll call you a nice person, a good friend, funny, smart and a whole lot of other adjectives you probably aren't able to believe. However then, either to them or to yourself, try to explain why you like that person. You'll find you use most of the same words.
It's a very old saying 'honesty is the best policy' and I'm happy to agree with it. If you are being honestly yourself you'll still have the people who like you and the people who don't like you. The big difference is you won't feel as though the people who do like you, like a lie and don't really like you. Let that light shine through.
What does being honestly honest look like for me? The version of myself unrestrained by the negative emotions is a bubbly, friendly sort of a person. That that person has somehow managed 21 years of perfectionism, varying levels of social incompetence and a few irrational fears like using the telephone amazes me. However she is there, and much of the time I am able to, in good moods, be her among my friends. Still in training of course, a lot of the time I can't or don't live her out, but it's a work in progress.