Do you understand true Self-Love?
Self-love is probably one of the simplest but least understood topics that I’ve come across in my interaction with clients, friends and family members. There appear to be several schools of thought that go to extremes like defining self-love as something selfish or self-absorbed or loving yourself above everyone else in your life.
I seem to meet a lot of men and women who tell me their lives are overwhelming due to the incredible amount of responsibilities they have as fathers, mothers, professionals, etc. These responsibilities leave them with little to no time for self-love.
With an endless catalog of material and information about self-love, I began to tease out what self-love really means to me. Self-love, I believe, is not only loving yourself more but consciously loving more of yourself. There is a Buddhist saying that states “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
The real secret that is unlocked through self-love is the simple fact that it’s difficult to truly value others if you don’t value yourself. Self-love is the most important ingredient in building your self-esteem, confidence and security and assures that you are the most important part of your universe.
Self-esteem is defined in the dictionary as regard for one's own well being. The question I often ask is if a person does not properly or positively regard their own well being, how can they adequately regard the well being of others?
I believe there are 3 distinct steps to reinforce the values and ideals of living in a healthy state of self-love.
The first - approving of yourself, Now! - Not when you lose weight, get a better job, feel like loving yourself more, or any other internal or external circumstance. It’s a decision to unconditionally, from this very moment, approve of yourself the way you are.
The second step in the cycle - accepting the fact that you are a work-in-progress. Whilst approving of yourself at any and every moment, you must also realize that perfection is a myth, yet, we must always strive to develop ourselves physically, spiritually, and mentally, as there is always room for improvement. Self-love will push you out of your comfort zone and make you want to improve on your weaknesses, learn new skills and become a better version of yourself constantly.
The final step - It's important to realize that you are complete by yourself. As human beings we are all connected and dependent upon each other, however, there is a difference between complimenting each other and needing someone else to feel complete. I personally believe that self-love involves getting rid of negative influences in your life that affect you, without trying to take on life all by yourself.
The right attitude towards self-love is seeking to love and improve yourself so that you can truly benefit and serve other people adequately.
Maxwell Matts had the best analogy to wrap up put this into true perspective. He stated that low self-esteem and a lack of self-love is like driving through life with your handbrake on.