What’s In the Power of Loving Yourself?

  There is so much power in loving yourself. But for whatever reasons, sometimes we veer away from this space. Perhaps we’ve been taught to put others first. Or that loving yourself is selfish. And that’s exactly right! Loving yourself IS selfish! It’s the best kind of selfish and we should be as selfish as possible! Because loving yourself…selfishly…creates an understanding of how to love others unconditionally.

I know a man who struggles with infidelity. He says he’s “happy” with his current relationship. But he still strays quite often. So I asked him one day, completely without judgment in mind, “hey man, why do you do that? What makes you go out, talk to women and then try to sleep with them when you already have a woman who is dedicated to you?” The answers he gave me were things like, “because she doesn’t do what I want her to do at home. She doesn’t make me laugh any more. She doesn’t romance me like she used to. She doesn’t give me the attention I want or deserve.” When he was done, I told him how many times he’d used the word “she.” I said to him, “when I asked YOU why YOU do what YOU do, you offered me several things on what SHE does or doesn’t do. So do you think the issue is really with HER? Or with YOU?” My friend did not readily accept what I was suggesting which was the “problem” is not with her…but with him. (we use parenthesis with “problem” because there is no real problem, only perception and what we choose to do with it) But the point is, the underlying challenge is not with the other person…it is with his lack of true and authentic love for himself. It is no one else’s job to make YOU happy. That job lies strictly from within.

When I was in the 6th grade there was a bully in my class. I won’t call his name because I still know him and we’re connected on social media. I won’t call his name, not because I am afraid of this “bully” lol…but because I am compassionate. He would terrorize me daily. He as an instigator. He was much bigger than I was and I was honestly not confident with who I was at the time. I dreaded seeing him at lunch or at recess because I knew he found pleasure in harassing me. He would push me or look to embarrass me in front of groups of people. But if it were he and I alone, he’d want to be like normal friends. What I understand now…while he was looking to hurt ME…it was HIM that was the one hurting.

I know another lady who constantly lives with self-doubt. She does well at her job, her coworkers seem to like her well enough and she holds a mid-level executive position. However, she is constantly touting who she is, what she can do, how smart she is, what she’s accomplished, etc. to anyone who will listen. She comes off as narcissistic, egotistical and self-absorbed. So I asked her, “why do you constantly feel the need to basically share your entire resume with people when you meet them? Why do you feel the need to talk about yourself and your accomplishments constantly?” And she responded with “because you constantly have to sell yourself so people know your worth!” At that moment, my heart went out to her.

So here is where we want to demonstrate What’s In the Power of Loving Yourself.  First off, it’s okay. It’s okay to love yourself. To truly…love YOU. It’s okay to take care of YOU, pamper YOU, to treat YOU with gentleness, kindness, compassion, acceptance, love…it is okay. It’s okay to put yourself first. It’s okay to stop…and think about what YOU want out of any given situation or circumstance and act accordingly. It. Is. Okay. It’s okay to shield yourself from outside negativity that comes to you in the form of a friend or family member. You are not OBLIGATED simply because you are in those relationships to be an empath for negativity. It’s okay to NOT be that person, in the name of protecting YOU. It’s okay. This doesn’t mean you cut people off with a “talk-to-the-hand” mentality. It simply means it’s okay to protect yourself from feelings, emotions, situations and circumstances that do not align with YOUR happiness. Is that being selfish? YES! And it’s OKAY to be selfish!

When we love ourselves, unconditionally, our first minds are to treat our bodies, our minds and our souls as we would an infant child. If you have had an infant child or been around one, we are gentle. We are loving. We are careful. We watch what we say, we check our tone, we open ourselves up to love, compassion and grace. THIS is the way we should treat ourselves. Gently. Without judgment. In compassion. With love. We should love ourselves and protect ourselves from what may harm us, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. In the first example of my friend who is a womanizer, (hate giving people labels but this is for context), he does not fully love HIMSELF. Ladies…THAT’S why men cheat, fyi.

There is a part of him that is not being attended to that causes him to cheat. NOT the part he thinks should be attended to by his mate. But the part not being attended to by and for himself. When we (men AND women) love OURSELVES to the core of our true being…we learn how to appreciate and love a woman at the core of HER being and not just the surface of her body.

When it comes to my bully “friend,” there was and probably still is a part of him that is not being attended to. He was looking for acceptance. He was looking for acceptance because he didn’t accept HIMSELF for who he was. He didn’t like himself. He was levying judgment against himself for not being enough. Therefore, he looked to gain acceptance from others by portraying some tough, bully-like persona. When we accept OURSELVES, without judgment, with love, with compassion, with grace…we find true acceptance within ourselves and it doesn’t matter what others think about us.

Regarding my narcissistic friend, she too feels inadequate. She feels less than. And that’s why she makes it a point to broadcast her accomplishments to “justify her value” to people who, in the bigger scheme of life, don’t even matter. Our journey  is dictated by what we desire, intend and expect. Not by other peoples’ perceptions of the facade we create. She is missing the simple acceptance of who she is while also not loving herself to know that she is enough…just as she is.

When we truly and honestly love ourselves to the core of our being, we accept who we are. We love who we are. We take good care of who we are. Be gentle with yourself, the same as you would with an infant child. You wouldn’t levy judgment against a baby. You wouldn’t speak harshly or berate them. Instead, we are compassionate, loving, caring and affectionate with them. Be THAT same person with yourself. Protect yourself. Keep yourself out of harm’s way. Be concerned about what you read, what you watch and who you surround yourself with. Be gentle with yourself and stop punishing yourself for things you’ve done or decisions you’ve made. Love you for ALL of you. Unconditionally.  With FULL acceptance. And then you will love others in the same way.

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