Self-Love…The Neglected Affair! — We are a society that loves our “labels”. Some have argued that mankind would have remained lost, if it wasn’t for the “sign posts” or “labels” we created along the way to guide us. If we took time to peel back the layers of mis-truths we have often incorrectly chosen to believe, we would quickly come to realize that mankind doesn’t need “sign posts” or “labels” to guide us, if only we would learn to stop building psychological, relational, societal, educational, political, or religious walls to hang those “sign posts” or “labels” on.
True success, true forward growth or thinking on any level is always hampered… always diminished… by the degree of pretentious beliefs (limitations) we create or embrace along the way. Of those pretentious beliefs, there is none more paralyzing than that of “self-doubt”.
From our earliest years, many are raised and trained to conscript to certain molds in lifestyle, behaviour, and thinking, where as a child or youth the expectation is placed upon serving our parent’s choices rather than the parent championing their child’s true sense of individuality in their own decision making processes. When this occurs, interesting things begin to happen. In this environment, one of the “sign posts” or “labels” we begin embrace and hang on the wall of our psyche is “self-doubt”, or “low self-esteem”. For some, it’s a sign or label emblazoned, like a flashing neon light. A sign post upon which every label in our life is nailed. Every direction we take in life, is chaotically lit up by the heavy flickering of our “self-doubt” or “low self-esteem” sign post. Over time as “label” upon “label” gets nailed to our self-doubt “sign post”, the load becomes too great, too imbalanced, and our world comes crashing down.
Not all problems in life originate from our childhood experiences. The vast majority of people have grown up in happy healthy homes, but somewhere in their teen or adult years, they became exposed to a widening circle of people which included relationally unhealthy people (toxic people). Add to the mix the heavy bombardment of media messages telling us we are too fat, or too skinny, or the intimate domestic partners who, for whatever reasons, choose to relate in abusive ways. Even with the greatest of childhoods, in these situations, it’s easy for our life sign post to become laden with toxic labels, and slowly begin to teeter back and forth as the firm foundation of our self-esteem loosens.
Story books have shared the experience of that great philosopher, Humpty Dumpty, and from his example we know that sometimes, when we pile our life’s sign post too heavy, and when it crashes to the ground, not all the pieces can be put back together again. How important it is that we learn early in life the importance of avoiding such a personal crisis.
Self-Love…The Neglected Affair!
Today, a new label has begun to pop up across society, the label which has many people struggling in their ability to accept it as healthy, or shun it, identifying it too quickly as its first thought of toxic cousin. That label… “self-love”.
Loving one’s self is different from being arrogant, conceited, or egocentric. It’s not the narcissistic style of self-love, that some of us immediately think of. Healthy self-love is all about caring for, and about one’s own self, including taking ownership of one’s life.
Healthy self-love empowers you to…
- feel good about yourself;
- feel proud of what you can do;
- believe in yourself, even when you don’t succeed at first;
- see your own good qualities, such as being kind or capable;
- feel liked, loved, and respected;
- accept yourself, even when you make mistakes.
In sociology and psychology, self-love reflects a person’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own self worth. It is a healthy balanced perception of oneself as well as a nurturing attitude towards the self. Self-love encompasses beliefs such as, “I am competent”, “I am worthy” and brings to our life emotions such as triumph, despair, pride, and shame.
Self-love is not about losing or winning. Self love is made up of those few moments in time which are followed by an eternity of situations from which we grow into something better, something healthier.
In the busy pace of our day to day world’s where our energies are consumed in meeting the needs and expectations of others, we often and all too easily forget to maintain a balance in making sure our own needs and personal desires are met. Incorrectly we assume that society’s expectation for us to conform to societal imagery of what it thinks we should be, takes precedence over the priority of being who we really are.
A lone song bird, in the midst of crows, will never be able to live up to the true expectations those crows might have for it. A song bird doesn’t “Ca-a-a-w”—a song bird sings, for it knows only one thing, how to be a song bird among the crows.
Self-Love…The Neglected Affair!
Self-love is all too often the most neglected love affair known to mankind. It’s the love affair that empowers you to be the absolute best at who you were meant to be. (Notice the words, “…WHAT you were meant to be…” were not used, but instead, “…WHO you were meant to be”.)
Self-love is not about being a better accountant, mother or bus driver. Healthy self-love is about being the unique person you were born to be, irregardless of your profession.
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.” — Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
In a world where we busy ourselves, loving and investing our time in those around us, it’s important to take time to keep the relationship we have with others and the relationship we have with our own unique self in balance.
Some of us struggle in knowing how fall in love with our self once again. Re-kindling the flame of inner passion begins with:
Taking time to forgive yourself. — No matter what others might lead you to believe, every one of us makes mistakes in our personal lives. We make mistakes in relationships, the way we handle our finances, our career choices, our educational choices, our personal choices, and so on. Self-love empowers us to move forward in a healthier way. When we take time to forgive ourselves for our past mistakes, we release ourselves from the bondage of guilt, and enable ourselves to make a life course correction, redirecting our attention to new efforts which produce healthier results.
Putting yourself first from time to time. — There’s a lot to be said for a martyr, but little is said of a fool. When you choose to walk through life putting everyone else’s wishes first, and your wishes constantly second, you end up crushing your own spirit, and stifling the gifts you were born to share with this world. Self-love calls you back into relational balance, where you understand the health of taking out some “me” time.
Learning that’s it’s okay to say to yourself “I love you”. — It’s awkward at first, but why do we wait so long to hear someone else say the words, we all too often fail to say to our self? Learn to look in the mirror and say out loud, “I love you.” If we don’t, we’ll stand in front of the mirror and rehearse in our mind how we are noticeably getting older or heavier, how we have another pimple on our nose, and how yellow our teeth are looking. Learn to say, “I love you.”
Doing something you love each day. — There’s only so many hours in a day, and most often we spend it all on others. It’s okay to spend some of that time doing something you genuinely love doing.
Cutting out the toxic or negative influences. – We focus globally, a great deal of the time on climate change. We know our weather patterns are changing. Your inner world is also being impacted by a form of climate change – the type of change brought on by negative and toxic people. Love yourself, by devoting your inner world to healthy climate change, by removing the negative influences from your life.
Loving others as much as you love yourself. – Relating to people on a healthy level requires a little give and take. We cannot live healthy lives loving only ourselves, we must learn to walk in a life of balance, loving others as we love ourselves. If we cannot love other’s, then we must ask ourselves, are we truly loving ourselves?
There are many affairs which people shamefully hide deep inside the boundaries of their private worlds. Don’t let your self-love become your most neglected affair.