Since the beginning of the year, we have been asked to love ourselves, to work on being more loving to ourselves by many authors. I am sure that most of us would think “I do love myself!” followed quickly by the thought “isn’t self-love selfishness, conceited or narcissistic?” The concept of self-love can be a double-edged sword. It should not be sullied by selfishness, conceit, nor pushed aside because self-love is vital for our health and happiness. We should be striving to love ourselves as much as we love our pets or children. No conditions placed upon it, and no limits.
The very basis of self-love ensures that we are capable of unconditionally loving others and receiving unconditional love from others. Self-love is not about self-actualizing, but rather benefiting all of humanity.
We are raised with the notion that love has everything to do with how we express ourselves towards others. And in turn how others express themselves towards us. Never was it brought forth to us about how we expressed ourselves towards ourselves. It meant that it was ok to have harming self-dialogue, no one bats an eye around that. It might explain why as a society we started to seek love through material items, and external relationships. We seek out better jobs, better bodies, better vehicles, better homes, better vacations, better clothes, all for the sake of attempting to fill a void that never quite gets satisfied. It is a continuous circle of thinking life will be better just as soon as I get_____.
When we fall in love with someone, we enjoy this incredible rush, you all know what I am talking about. If someone could bottle that feeling and sell it, they would be very wealthy! You might think that this has everything to do with the other person, but it does not. They contribute to that feeling, however, the more we love ourselves, the more we can accept someone else’s love. We are experiencing our love reflected back to us.
We devote a lot of energy to making relationships work. More often than not we compromise or sacrifice something to ensure the other person feels good and also to gain their adoration. Moments creep in where we get upset with the other person for not reciprocating, well, to your eyes. We want them to make us feel good about ourselves. Placing the responsibility on them to make us happy, content, and even worthy. Sacrificing in exchange for love is learned at a very early age.
Our ego gives us a false sense of being loved by convincing us that the more we do, the more we are loved, and also that the more someone does for us, the more they love us.
Given the number of people, who on any given day, are searching for love because their relationships fail, leads me to believe that we all need to start understanding just how important self-love is. How many people are in counselling because they feel unloved? How much anger is there in the world because people are waiting for love and not receiving it?
Love is not outside of you. It is what you are. It is about self-worth and creativity, and it is unconditional. Humans place labels and conditions around what love requires. The expression of love takes many forms and cannot be given to you from another person unless you have the capacity to allow it in. You have to love yourself to accept what others offer you. They can reflect love to you. However, it is still your love that you are experiencing. Hence why each person experiences love differently. Unconditional love does not mean, contrary to popular belief; that you are willing to do anything for another. It means that you want what is best for everyone involved, including yourself.
By committing yourself to doing what is most loving for you, you bring harmony to all areas of your life. It means being present, not abandoning yourself, and understanding that the one person who can make you feel whole and happy is yourself. The more you can accept/embrace the totality of who you are – embracing all of your moods even if you don’t like the characteristics presented – you expand your capacity for love. Our emotions get triggered without much thought from us. We cannot help whether we feel angry or loving, and certainly, we can’t control other people and their perceptions, but we can accept them for what they are.
When you are no longer seeking love from outside sources, you will discover you are happy to be you. You will not seek out others to fill voids because there will not be any to fill. Our world today needs people who are secure in themselves. When we fully love ourselves, we no longer desire to give our power away to others. We can stand up against anything and join with others to have our voices heard.
So how exactly do we work on loving ourselves? In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert “Accept the glorious mess you are.” That is where you start. Every single aspect, and appreciate the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Be nice to others but first to yourself – improve your self-talk and quiet your inner critic. Speak your truth, decline invitations, even if that means upsetting someone. If you lie to others, you are lying to yourself.
Understand where you are placing your energy, on all levels, emotional, mental and physical. Do they bring your joy? If not look to change them up.
Don't do something just because someone tells you to. Do you want to do it? Good, then do it, otherwise, say no. Don't wait to do what you want to do, just go for it. If you continually wait for others to do things with, you will end up with a life full of regrets.
Stop comparing – appreciate what you have – life is not going to be perfect there will always be something to deal with, live your life the best you can and forget about what others are doing.
Be discerning. Listen more to your gut, your intuition and less to your ego, brain. If you get a bad vibe chances are you are getting it for a reason. Don't think you can change or mold something into something it is not. You can only change yourself. Same goes for sharing your dreams, desires, listen to your gut before you share. Not everyone will have your best interest at heart and would just as soon cut you down.
Meditation – even if you believe you can’t meditate, take time each day for quiet, peace comes from within and meditating helps bypass fears and touches the source of our true selves.
Make friends with yourself, heck fall in love with yourself. Keep in mind that self-love is not arrogance or grandiose thinking you are superior to others. It is simple, quiet and non-judging. Realize that the art of self-love cannot be mastered overnight, nor will it happen in a month or year, it is a lifelong commitment. Life is such that others, ourselves or even life events will continue to present opportunities for growth, and self-love is not immune to experiencing those lessons.
Copyright (c) 2017 by Marlene Cobb. All rights reserved. You may quote, copy, translate and link to this article, in its entirety, on free, non-donation based websites only, as long as you include the author’s name and a working link to http://www.merrlina.com All other uses are strictly prohibited.