There are so many negative undertones around self love that those of us trying to go on that journey are finding ourself doing the doggy paddle at the shallow end, at best. The belief system we have grown up with has taught us that there is a very fine line between loving ourself and being selfish. This construct is inextricably woven into the fabric of our social structure, so much so that it has given birth to phrases such as ‘full of himself’ or ‘so into herself’. Receiving compliments can range from downright painful to an awkward deflection. Self-centred is synonymous with self obsessed. Being proud of ourself is treading on thin ice. Putting ourself first, well that’s almost a crime, which only a few courageous put to the test. Very often, because what the line defines is so black and white, we are too afraid to take any step, no matter how small, for our own happiness.
On social media we come across a post such as, ‘Be yourself, everyone else is taken’ and rush to like it or give it a thumbs up and then promptly forget that in order to bring any concept to reality, we have to come up with a game plan. Before I share the foundation stones of mine, I’d like to dispel a few myths about loving ourself. Certain questions regularly come up in many of my workshops and meditations. Here are my answers.
- It is absolutely okay to love yourself. You don’t need anyone’s permission except your own. Go ahead and give it to yourself.
- Loving your Self is not a selfish act.
- Because you have chosen to love yourself does not mean you automatically love others less. Love is not a commodity that runs out the more you use it. You will find it is quite the opposite. It expands and grows.
- When you learn to truly love yourself, you will love others better.
The topic of self love came up rather recently on my horizon, one that I began to consider seriously about a year ago. I had reached a point of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion and it took me a while to realise that I was giving out more than I was putting in. That I was not a bottomless energy pit became evidently clear. I had to take a good look at the choices that had brought me to this point. More importantly I had to come up with a strategy that would help to both protect and nourish me.
If we are to achieve a state of well being and maintain it, we need to establish that our mental state influences our emotional wellness which in turn impacts our physical health. Simply put, the thoughts we think create the feelings we feel which find a way to manifest themselves in our body.
So let’s begin at the beginning with understanding that we can choose our thoughts positively, that we are not slaves to the incessant chatter in our heads. Gratitude is a wonderful starting point. Next, let’s take responsibility for our own happiness and stop outsourcing it to others and holding them responsible. Finally, let’s show some respect and love to our bodies because without them, quite obviously, we wouldn’t even get to experience what it means to be alive.
With the new year just days away, let’s resurrect the truth about self love and set it in motion. Love in its purest form is never ego based. Let’s promise to stay ‘full of ourself’ so that we can live and give more fully. Let’s pledge to be ‘self centred’ so that we can stay connected to our heart and live our most authentic life. In listening to the wisdom of love we overcome the delusion of separation and remember that it is through shining our brightest that we offer the most hope to others.