life feelings Extreme

Learning to Embrace Self-Love After Years of Internalized Ableism

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I’m extremely fortunate — I have a family who constantly shows me love, friends who never fail to remind me how much they love me, and a boyfriend who makes me feel like the most unconditionally loved woman in the world.

But some days, I feel empty, like the love others express just can’t seem to fully sustain me. And as I look in the mirror and agonize over my appearance, berating myself for every last perceived flaw, I realize what’s missing — I’m wholly lacking in love for myself.

It isn’t difficult for me to piece together how and why I began burying myself in every cold criticism imaginable. I grew up navigating disability in a world that favors “able” bodies, and society’s subtle messages surrounding disability seeped into my life until they became all I heard.

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