Some of us have been around for a long time and we’re just learning that it’s o.k. to love ourselves. We were taught never to put ourselves first, that we were born sinful or bad, that we would never amount to anything unless … (fill in the blank). If we mentioned something positive about ourselves it was called bragging and was not acceptable. We were told in school, Sunday school and at home that “Pride goes before a fall.” And we were warned about letting things “go to our head.” Praise was considered dangerously ego inflating and the rule of thumb was that if you were not told it was wrong, you probably did a good job. Self-love was BAD!
Those days, hopefully, are gone for good.
Now we know that not only is it o.k, but it’s essential to love yourself.
Why love yourself? Consider these questions:
- If I don’t love me, who else can?
- If I don’t love me, can I truly love someone else?
Call it what you want—self-love, self-esteem, self-worth—how you regard yourself determines how you will regard others and how you will respond to a relationship. It is NOT—I repeat—It is NOT the “pride” part of “pride goes before a fall.”
I’m not saying that we love only ourselves. Balance requires that we are “other-centered” as well as “self-centered” (self-centered in a good way.) It also requires that we can give love as well receive love.
So, how do we build our self-esteem, our love of self in a healthy way?
Building Self-love in a healthy way
Hara Estroff Marano, in Psychology Today states:
Self-love doesn’t happen by luck or the grace of God. You have to create it. These are among the most important elements of it.
- Honoring yourself and who you really are. Love is your birthright. As Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
- Telling the highest truth, which is that we are powerful beings capable of creating joy and success or pain and suffering in our lives. We are not destined to be victims. We have the power to choose, and this power is both the greatest responsibility we have and the greatest opportunity.
- Honoring who you are becoming. Self-love involves recognizing that you are constantly evolving and growing to become a more powerful and more loving being.
- Honoring your feelings and responding to those feelings. Remember, feelings are important signals, and even the so-called negative feelings of anger and fear serve the important purpose of alerting us to the obstacles in our life.
- Recognizing that the universe is literally made of love. “If we will just open ourselves to receive, like flowers opening to the sun, then everything is possible,” says Ti Caine, hypnotherapist and life coach based in Sherman Oaks, California.
How do you begin honoring yourself? It starts with awareness. Become aware of who you are, what your strengths are, what you like/love. Pay attention. Accept the fact that you are unique, special, one of a kind. There are some tools to help you become more aware and accepting of who you are.
Tools to help you love and accept yourself
Meditation—this is a time when you really get to know you. Silence of the mind can teach you more that you can possibly learn in a lecture. Use it as a time to commune with your inner self. Have a good chat with your Supreme Being. Do you think for a moment that the Creator made a mistake when you were created?
Journaling—writing down your thoughts and feelings on a daily basis can show you a clearer picture of your strengths and weaknesses. We all have weaknesses so don’t be afraid of them.
Gratitude and Appreciation—As you start being aware of those things you are grateful for and that you appreciate you will find it easier to be grateful for and appreciate things about yourself.
Service to others—There is absolutely no better way to feel better about yourself than to be of service to others. Not just because you receive sincere compliments but because the energy of giving creates something new in you. Try it and see.
There is never a better time to start loving yourself than right now. Go for it.