What does it mean to love ourselves? In many ways, it is a worn out
expression. It has come to be like background noise…something that is
heard and not heard. It has become a cliche, an irritant to the senses.
The expression “self-love” seems to have joined the ranks of words like
“really” - still in our vocabulary, yet used in whatever way fits the moment.
In order to be meaningful, self-love needs to be defined. This is not the self-love that is expressed by taking a warm bath or getting a massage or taking a walk. This is the deeper expression of how we feel about ourselves. It is about having a deep and abiding place inside which is a refuge for us. It means finding peace within ourselves, to be able to rest comfortably within the depths of our being. It is knowing that there is place inside of you that is always there for you.
This kind of self-love requires more than doing things for yourself, it requires cultivating a certain way of being with ourselves.
Here are three ways we can begin to build self-love.
1: Choose Yourself:
Every day, we make choices. We do not have complete freedom and unlimited choices, but self-love relies on choosing what's right for ourselves and our needs whenever possible. For example, even if you hate your life circumstances and can’t change it right now, there are things you can change.
You can choose how you take care of yourself.
You can choose how you talk to yourself about the situation.
You can choose to put self care before your own need for pleasure. You can choose to do the important thing in the moment, such as going to bed early instead of playing a video game. You can make regular exercise a part of your routine instead of watching TV.. You can practice mindfulness.
You can choose to stay present to your life and begin to work toward change.
Good choices beget good choices. Good choices make you feel proud of yourself.
You can learn to choose yourself in every way.
2. Take Responsibility for Loving Yourself:
Mark Manson says it well in his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“We all love to take responsibility for success and happiness…
But taking responsibility for our problems is far more important, because that’s where real learning comes from. That’s where real-life
improvement comes from.
To simply blame others is only to hurt yourself."
The truth is that when you become an adult no one can be responsible
for you. No one can love you, for you. Feeling loved is something
for which you are responsible. Everyone in your life can love you,
praise you, think you are the best and if you do not love yourself,
it will never be enough. The love you feel from others will be temporary
and after the glow is gone, you will crave more. The goal is to love
yourself the way you want another to love you.
Somedays it is stronger than others.
Somedays you feel it
Somedays you have to remind yourself that it is still there.
3. Learn to Think Highly of Yourself:
Refute self-criticism. Do not tolerate self-judgment. Do not let others lead you into shame about thinking you are terrific. My favorite definition for humility is having a proper estimation of your self worth. That does not come from judgment or criticism. It is being able to see yourself, know your accomplishments and strengths, as well as knowing where you need to learn and grow. It is a part of life, it keeps life fresh and exciting and gives you something to look forward to in your future.
As human beings we have flaws, wounds and painful feelings. Even so, we deserve love, especially from ourselves. The journey to self-love takes a lifetime. There is always more we can learn, more care to give and more kindness to show.
Because we are human, we are enough.