While the title may, on first examination, seem selfish, loving yourself is a huge step to take in the order of your life. Loving yourself makes you a person who has more to offer the world in general and helps to make you complete. From childhood, we learn who other people see us as. Our parents may be critical in their attempt to care about who we turn out to be. In doing so, many parents make children look inwardly and dislike who they are, trying to reach other people’s expectations, and seeing their measure of self-worth being eroded by criticism which may or may not have been well intended.
During the course of a lifetime, a human being will, with luck, go through over eighty years of life. During that time, it is easy to take away the years of childhood from the equation, since these are the years when we learn to be who we are, and cannot count very much in self love, since this takes maturity and understanding of life which a child has not yet realized. Therefore, if we look logically at the situation, for seventy odd years of our lives, we seek to be happy and content and able to life worthwhile lives. Those things which detract from that happiness are the following:
*Criticism taken wrongly.
*Measure by other people’s standards.
*Wanting to be someone else.
*Having expectations which are too high.
*Not being able to accept ourselves.
*Having no goals in life.
All of these prevent a human from loving themselves but they don’t need to. If you take them one by one and use each of the events as a positive instead of a negative, this helps you to see that you are indeed a person who merits self love. It is the understanding process which enables you to realize your own worth.
Criticism taken wrongly.
When criticized for something, as an adult, learn to accept criticism for what it is. Criticism is the view of someone else. You have views as well. Does their argument hold fast over your own? Is there some reason you are being criticized? Looking into the roots of criticism helps you to become more whole as a human being and more open to the opinions of others.
The balance goes wrong when you think that others are always right. They aren’t. Where you achieve balance is in looking at both viewpoints and either learning how not to be wrong, or that your approach is the right one for you. Stand your ground without being stubborn, and suddenly you learn that perhaps they have a point, and there is something you can do to make yourself a better person. It is this aspect of criticism that makes a human being more valuable and more able to love themselves.
Measure by other people’s standards.
When measured against others, it is hard to love yourself. Every day we see great people who we admire and are in awe of. Not everyone can be that influential, though each of us has a part to play in life. Look at the value you have to those around you, and the picture becomes clearer. They love you and by being yourself, you have a right to their love. If they love you, then is this not a good indication that you are a person worthy of love? Loving yourself opens up doors you will never discover by being discontent with who you are. God makes each person individual. That is one the most important things to remember, and perhaps you are an individual who doesn’t particularly shine when measured against others, though when you learn self-love, you shine inside just as much as anyone else.
Wanting to be someone else.
Have you ever heard people say how much they would like to be slim, have curly hair and be as beautiful as the models who grace the pages of magazines. The look is only surface. Each of us has quirks. There was rather a clever line in a movie when a lover said to his lady about how her wrinkles were proof of where she had been, rather than how old she was. Self love is getting comfortable with our own little quirks and individual traits. Celebrate that hair. Celebrate the softness of your skin. Celebrate that you can walk and talk, hear and see, because even those who cannot will find that one thing inside them to celebrate.
Having expectations which are too great.
One of this writer’s favorite sayings is Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. To a certain extent this is true, although we all do have expectations. When you get goal posts too high ever to be reached, you also set yourself up for disappointment when you cannot reach those goals. It is far easier to hard little steps within your life to celebrate. That first pound that you lose on a diet is a huge hurdle. Why not celebrate the ounces? Each time you set small goals you set yourself up for positive feelings inside which make you celebrate and love who you are and what you can achieve.
Not being able to accept ourselves.
Too many lives are wasted by refusal to accept who we are. In that seventy years on earth, each human has time to learn that who they are is indeed who they are. There is nothing we can do to change that. The best way to self acceptance is to take an honest look at who we are and learn that although we may not have all the features we would like, we do have something more important than that. It doesn’t come in a neat package, and in fact cannot always be grasped. What we have a soul and a being. It is that being or soul which defines who we are.
To love yourself, you have to learn to see that person that hides behind the skin, and to have that feel good experience of understanding that even though the skin you are in may not be the most desirable, the you which lurks inside is as desirable and lovable as any other soul on earth. Nurture it. Teach it to measure itself by interaction with others, and final conclusions which show as a mirror who we actually are rather than what our outside appearance may lead others to believe. Once you master this, you begin to love yourself, and accept that you are an individual in your own right, with thoughts and ideals which make you unique.
Having no goals in life.
If you are walking and have no map, how can you find your way? People spend their lives walking in circles and constantly disappointed with the results of their lives, simply because their lives have no goals or no destinations. How can you get there, if you have no idea where you are heading? To get over this, set little tiny goals and celebrate reaching them. This is one of the best ways to learn self love and the discipline of self love.
Loving yourself presents you to others as a whole human being. You are not defective, and if you present yourself to others as being so, how can you merit their love? Shine for who you are. Love yourself for who you are, and instead of presenting half a person, what you present is a very whole person capable of loving, and capable of offering something complete to those around them. Self love is a huge step for any human being, though once mastered, opens the door to happiness during the course of a lifetime.