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Learning to Love Ourselves

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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!

Blessings, Lynne

5 Responses

  1. Rahul,
    Thanks for pointing that out….It’s interesting to actually learn that by taking offense/defending myself i am judging others as much as they are judging me…

  2. Hi Lynne and Tracy

    What tracy said made me recollect that phase of my life when i used to do that. What made me stop doing that was some conscious efforts to get out of the conditioning to defend anything and everything … and the simple but deep realization that “they have not lived the way i did, i rather not expect them to understand my situation in 5 mins”
    …. also .. i learnt this from lynne!…that when i take offence and/ or defend, i judge them as much as they are judging me!

    With love and gratitude

    Rahul

  3. Thanks for clarification on this.I will focus more on analysing the reasons behind my defensive reactions and uncover more about myself.Its a really helpful practise for me.

  4. Tracy, I love your honesty! It seems to me that you are really “working” to use this blog as I hoped it would be used. Thank you.

    The anger we feel towards others for not appreciating us is a reflection of the anger we feel towards ourselves for not appreciating us!

    There’s a rule of thumb that applies here: there is always truth behind our need to defend &/or deny. In other words, when we find ourselves defending or denying something someone is saying to or about us, we can rest assured there is some grain of truth in what they are saying. Why else would we feel the need to be defensive?!

    I make it a practice to look for what’s true in what others say to or about me, especially if I find myself wanting to deny or defend!
    When we can begin to see it as feedback designed to deepen our understanding of ourselves (no matter what their intentions may be! rather than as personal attack then it becomes fuel for enlightenment!
    Blessings and keep up the good work.

  5. I have often felt that my anger is triggered each time i feel unloved/unappreciated….when i feel that the other person does not fully appreciate my affection/the work i do i feel neglected and to hide my sadness or disappointment with myself i get angry and lash out…My boss used to make a joke that i am always defending myself and i would always deny it.It makes a lot of sense now because i feel that my love for myself is not enough to out stand criticism from others and hence the reason i feel obligated to always defend myself….i often feel attacked.
    As you said its very easy to assume that we love and take care of ourselves fully but for me i realize that i often busy wondering what others think of me and basing my reactions on that.It would feel great to learn to love myself enough to accept other points of views calmly and defend myself from a point of view where i feel good about myself no matter what outcome…

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