I often talk to clients about the importance of “loving ourselves.” They often nod their heads in agreement -after all, it sounds good – but, if the truth be told, most of us have no idea of how to go about doing this thing called “loving ourselves,” and for many of us the whole idea sounds a bit egotistical and egocentric besides.
So what does it mean to “love ourselves?”
To love ourselves does, in truth, mean to put ourselves at the top of our own priority list. Loving ourselves means to understand that we are the ones in charge of the quality of life we experience, and therefore it is up to us to initiate the life we want.
I have come to see that loving ourselves IS the single most loving thing we can do, not only for ourselves, but for those around us too, for if we don’t love ourselves enough to take care of ourselves, then there’s a good chance someone else will have to take care of us instead! It’s that simple. For this reason alone, I am a great believer in being “self-centered,” i.e. “centered in ‘self.’ ”
So how do we go about loving ourselves?
The primary way we love ourselves is by assuming complete responsibility for ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, for our attitude, our health, AND our behavior.
To assume self-responsibility is to free ourselves from Victimhood. There is no greater act of friendship towards ourselves, or others, than to take responsibility for ourselves because it paves the way for personal freedom and happiness!
We are the only one who can live our own life. No one else can do that for us and we can’t live anyone else’s. This awareness seems fairly obvious, and yet many of us seem to fail at truly getting it.
We seem to think instead, that if we take care of others long enough and good enough, then they will return the favor. That’s our idea of how it’s supposed to work! Only it doesn’t work like that at all. When we neglect ourselves to take care of others, neither of us profits.
Usually because we think it is selfish to make choices based on what’s best for us, we tend, instead, to base our decisions on what others want, “need,” or on what we think they will approve of. But then we end up feeling unappreciated or resentful towards them when they don’t appreciate the sacrifices we made for them (as if they “made” us do it). And we blame them when things don’t work out the way we think they should.
But when we “take care of” others at our own expense, we are not loving ourselves. Instead, we unconsciously teach those we sacrifice our needs for to treat us with the same lack of disdain and unimportance with which we treat ourselves.We model to them how to discount and neglect us, so why, then, would we be surprised when they mistreat us too?
Make a decision to start treating yourself better by loving you first, and you may find that the love you feel inside for you overflows into your relationship with others in ways that are mutually loving to you both.
Remember, when we do what is truly right for us, whether or not they agree with us, everyone wins!
Try it and see for yourself!