Dear friend, DO YOU LOVE YOURSELF? Let me say up front, this has absolutely nothing to do with being arrogant.
Understanding that we can’t love another without first loving ourselves is the foundation of any healthy relationship. Self-love means to value, honor and respect one’s being, i.e. body, mind and spirit with full awareness of one’s own inherent worth.
This concept of self-love is grounded in the premise that we must accept and love ourselves without conditions. This kind of love expresses a quality of spirit, allowing us to embrace our shortcomings and doubts by acknowledging our individual strengths and what some call weaknesses but what I prefer to call areas for potential growth, without judgment.
Self-esteem is about demonstrating positive regard for ourselves, regardless of our physical and emotional attributes. Whether we are beautiful or plain, brilliant or average, personable or introverted, healthy or ill, we need to regard ourselves in a positive light. Our strengths and our areas for growth, along with our gifts and our imperfections, all complete the symphony of who we are – a special human being.
Self-love is being our best friend through all the difficulties in life, not only when everything is going well. We crave the kind of nurturing love we expect a parent to have for a child and since many of us never received this as children, we now need to parent ourselves, to be loving, nurturing and accepting especially during difficult times. As we begin to parent ourselves, we will feel safe and the barriers between ourselves and others will diminish.
This is essential for intimacy and friendships. Most of us come from dysfunctional, critical families. We were judged by some outside standard that parents, society and friends dictated. Who we were as individuals was not taken into account. Love also came with conditions. “You look wonderful but…. and “How come you didn’t get an A?” Love was expressed through judgment rather than through compassion and acceptance.
Most of us felt and still feel that we have to earn love and that we are only lovable if we meet certain standards. In response to this, some of us become overachievers; afraid to stop striving for fear that we won’t be admired or loved. Others stop trying altogether stating, “Why even try, I won’t be successful anyway.” If our parents, who loved and wanted the best for us, were judgmental and critical, what can we expect of others? We must learn that a healthy relationship involves accepting, encouraging and understanding, not judgment and power struggles.
Loving ourselves means striving for excellence on the path to “becoming the best possible me.” It is knowing that within realistic limits, we can accomplish anything.
Consider the mistakes we make each day. Many of us feel that we are damaged or unworthy if we can’t do or accomplish some specific task. We can’t fully love ourselves because we don’t understand what making a mistake actually means. When we make a mistake, we know what to do; we just don’t know how to do it. To avoid a mistake, we must simply learn new skills, not beat ourselves up. Making a mistake is not a no-win situation, it is an opportunity to learn appropriate actions to achieve success.
For example, let’s suppose you have been attracted to critical men or women who continually disrespect you. A variety of explanations can be offered for selecting these partners, such as critical parents or childhood rejection. Most of us choose to be victims in these circumstances because we don’t know another way to assess the situation. When this happens, we often blame ourselves or another and feel so ashamed that we even go into seclusion. When we feel strong enough, we will come out again, but repeat this destructive pattern. Coming from critical parents, this behavior is all we know.
However, there is another way. To change this pattern, we can declare ourselves incapable of doing it better at this point. We then must become introspective to uncover a new approach to handling the challenge, or find someone to teach us the appropriate skill. The loving way to look at this break-down is as an opportunity to learn and grow and I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT.
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Until next time, make this a week one in which you are living your life to the fullest.
With appreciation and gratitude
Nigel St. Hill is an author and a life coach helping women who are ready to discover their path to love, happiness, success and abundance , so that they could live the life of their dreams. He is the founder of http://www.moneyandabundance.com and author of the book, Money Management Caribbean Style and several ebooks including 12 Secrets to Creating Money and Abundance Caribbean Style, 8 Money Management Secrets for Caribbean Women, Creative But Practical Ways to Save money, 8 Simple Ways to Live a Healthy Abundant Lifestyle, 9 Types of Relationships That Don’t Work and 7 Steps To Becoming An Empowered Single Woman https://www.amazon.com/author/nigelsthill .