Self-Love, Self-Esteem, Self-Respect, Self-Awareness.
These are buzzwords in my line of work.
They are used too much and with such casual reference that sometimes, even when I use them, I’m not sure I am really connected with the immensity of what it is I am talking about.
And for many of my clients, and many of you, the idea of loving yourself is, honestly, too far-fetched. If your relationship with yourself or your body has been one of deep conflict, love feels like “too much”. That’s okay. You can start with seeking neutrality – a truce in the war with yourself. From there, one day, perhaps you can find love. If the word love triggers you too much, try using the word respect instead. If this is you, check out the blog I wrote about starting with self respect in lieu of self love. Then come back and read this article, because just because something seems impossible now doesn’t mean it will always be impossible.
Taking take the time to learn to love yourself (notice I said take the time to learn, instead of just doing it) is probably one of the most fundamental decisions you will ever make. Move at your own pace. Just try keeping an open mind.
Here are the top 3 reasons why I have come to believe that self-love is fundamental.
1. Without Self-Love, Nothing Much Sticks:
It is much like the foundation that we pour before we build the house. Without it, the house is shaky and subject to falling easily when the elements set in. With a foundation, there is security from below (or within) that provides us with the strength to hold steady when the outside world gets rocky.
Think about it, You can get the fancy degree, the great job, the perfect mate, or whatever your idea of “success” is, but unless you really love yourself and approve of who you are, you are never going to allow yourself to receive this and be okay. So you can be working and working to create this life but unless you stop and get conscious and throw “learn to love and accept myself” on that to-do list of yours, a lot of that work will end up being in vain.
How many times have you met the person who appears to have “it all” on the outside, only to later realize that they are struggling like hell on the inside?? I know it’s often complicated as to why, but I guarantee you that within the equation that amounts to why the person is suffering, a lack of self-love exists.
2. Every Kid Needs Love:
Every child needs love. It’s true. Have you ever heard of failure to thrive syndrome?? Scientist have proven that a lack of love, or an adverse emotional or social environment, can cause growth failure even in a child who is eating enough.
If you are asking what this has to do with you, being that likely, you are chronologically an adult, then let me explain.
Every single one of us carries within us the beliefs and feeling of our “inner child”. (I have some good blog posts about inner child work right part1 and part2). If the language is too touchy-feely for you, then just refer to this part of yourself as your “little dude”, or whatever floats your boat. I don’t care what you call it – but I do care that you acknowledge it and begin to show it love.
We are grown up kids. We still need the very same love that all children need when they come into this world. We may be wearing a bigger flesh suit, but our soul – the part of us that yearns to connect and be seen by the people in our life – still exists just as it did when we were children. And that inner child (or little dude) needs YOU to step up and begin letting him or her know you are there for them.
Self-love allows us to thrive. It is to our heart and soul as oxygen is to our lungs and water is to our cells. We need to know the one person we will spend our entire journey on this planet with loves us. Ourselves.
3. The World Needs Love
Self-Love is Selfless. Deciding to love yourself is not only about giving yourself the love you deserve, but it is a decision that goes back out into the world exponentially.
- It eases the resistance and suffering that comes with disapproving of who we are. When we are free of this conflict, we are free to be our best selves, and this world desperately needs this positive influence.
- When you are a happier person, you spread that happiness out into the world.
- When you are accepting of yourself, you unconsciously give others permission to be accepting of themselves.
- When you refuse to give in to the critical and judgmental attitudes in our culture, you diffuse the power that they have. When many of us do this, it changes the cultural norm – but it has to start with the individual. You could be the one person who tips the scales. Someone has to be.
- We pass our beliefs and our behaviors on to our children and those people in our lives that look up to us. When we embrace self-love, we teach it to others.
Self love isn’t some meme on facebook. It’s a journey, a process. It doesn’t stop once you get there and it isn’t something anyone else gets to define for you. But it is a goal you are worth trying to reach, and I hope you keep your mind open to the possibility of meeting yourself with love one day soon.