Self-love isn’t selfish. Clearly, this isn’t the first time you’ve read that loving yourself is the source of your happiness, good health, and over-all well-being during this human experience of yours.
Raise your hand if you’re not exactly sure what is meant by ‘self-love’. I mean, in theory, it doesn’t sound like much of a heavy lift—love yourself. No duh. Period. The end. But, in actuality, self-love, like all the other formations of love, is an abstract concept. What does it look like? Feel like? Sound like? (see the below for some insight)
You might be reading this and thinking, “I can’t see in me what others see, so yes, I need to love myself more.” You might be arguing, “I love myself! It’s just my romantic relationships that are difficult!” There are others of you, however, who are reading these words and saying, “Of course I love myself! Confidence is my middle name,” and yet still have those moments of insecurity and uncertainty.
I understand why you might have difficulty because it’s quite interesting how this lack of love for ourselves plays out in our everyday lives. And the thing is, most of us don’t correctly identify it for what it is.
Not Seeing Your Lack of Self-Love For What It Is
We write off our inability to see our own unique beauty, to speak our individual truths; to feel comfortable in a room full of strangers; to make healthy decisions and take risks; as poor body image; a lack of confidence or shyness. Some of us ignore our constant boredom and feelings of being stuck in a rut as the cost of eking out a living or raising a family. Some are compelled to constantly prove and debate all the ways they are right as they harshly judge themselves and others. While others tolerate physical, emotional and verbal abuse from the world at large, and most, unfortunately, from those who love them, as a show of their own commitment and love.
Because we ignore our emotions and the root cause for them, we create coping strategies for running away and hiding from what truly ails us—a soul searching for love and not finding it within.
Looking For Love In All the Wrong Places
Workaholics, beauty queens, slut puppies, workout fiends, adrenaline junkies, potheads—we come in every shape and size and create a million places to hide; places in our minds and lives to give us a false sense of security and acceptance. And all the while we’re hiding, we’re seeking the love and acceptance of others to make us feel whole.
Once you stop hiding, identify the behaviors for what they really are and do the work, you’ll realize that it’s not that you don’t love yourself, it’s that you don’t love yourself enough, or as the Angels would say, with completeness. You’ll also come to understand the vital truth that the love you seek, is your own.
Here are your three basic touchstones to remembering the self-love within: Seek. Assume. Believe.
SEEK. You are love and are meant to live in joy and abundance. To get to that place, you have to come out of hiding and follow your emotions to their source. In other words, if you’re gonna hide, you gotta seek. And what you’re looking for are all the ways you block love from yourself and others. Once you remove the barriers, love awaits.
ASSUME. I think most of us are familiar with the golden rule taken from the Bible (and all of its varied spin-offs): Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Right there, in the “as you love yourself” part, sits the underlying assumption that every human already possesses self-love, which is the fuel and foundation for all that is right in the world for you and your neighbor. This jives nicely with what the angels say, your job isn’t so much to find love within but to remember it, celebrate it and share it.
BELIEVE. Believing in your own worth and greatness is always the hardest part, usually because you’ve invested a whole lot of time and energy believing someone else’s ideas about you and trying to survive in this alternate reality. My suggestion is as you go about learning the amazing truth about yourself, believe this: You can be a work-in-progress and a masterpiece at the same time.
- Being open and Honest w/Yourself about Yourself
- Accepting Yourself Faults and Perceived Imperfections
- Respecting Yourself
- Knowing your Worth and Value
- Showing Yourself Compassion
- Honoring your Values and Desires
- Needing to be Better than Others
- Being Selfish or Vain
- Being Judgmental of Self or Others
- Conditional on Certain Outcomes
- Needing Validation from Others