24 Oct Self Love
Self-love takes commitment and determination. It is challenging, misunderstood and completely underestimated in its power to change lives. Sounds like a massive statement – but one I stand by it.
What’s clear about self-love is the confusion around it, please forgive the pun. Traditionally it has been at odds with spiritual teachings on ‘good’ and ‘right ways’ to behave. The problem is we’ve been told all our lives to put others first, so that’s why we have and still do. And yet.
There’s a part of us that needs to look after ourselves, put ‘us’ first, and value who we are without feeling bad about it. This part yearns to be considered, acknowledged and placed before others. But society has other ideas.
We all do our best and recognise that each person’s best is different according to how they see things. However, self-love is not ok, acceptable or supported in any way. So, here’s a few myths put to rest:
Selfishness is not self-love
Self-promotion is not self-love
Self-adoration is not self-love
Kindness and acceptance is.
It’s taken me years and lots of angst to get this. My whole childhood was one of exploitation and never being considered, so I guess its no surprise. But really, the damage was in part due to never accepting let alone loving myself. The family did not support it, neither did the school, wider community or the church. So, when self-love was being handed out, the door was firmly shut in my face. Simply put; self-love basically equated to selfishness, arrogance and thinking you were better than others. I never stood a chance. And as a survivor, you wouldn’t have either. Over time, what became clear, was that I was always hungering after something more. I didn’t recognise it as self-love, but what I did notice was that I was feeling resentful, fed up and annoyed with people when they wanted something else from me. I realised the tank was empty, and I needed to fill it up, and soon. When I eventually did, it changed how I saw, well everything. I also recognised not just the value but the absoloute need for loving myself to be a continuing and crucial part of my life. Without it I am less, and the inner critic becomes more. Paradoxically I am not able to be as giving to others.
As a survivor, you will notice this in your own life, and repeatedly, many times over. The theory about ‘loving ourselves as being wrong’, has got to stop, its damaging and inaccurate. And, if you, like me, you have taken a while to realise this and want to fix it, here’s some simple steps to try. Start off by:
- Check in on how you feel
- Take note of that and decide on an action
- Make sure the action you choose ‘fills you up’; e.g., getting takeaways instead of cooking, watching Netflix instead of working, walking the beach VS cleaning the car
- Allow guilt to leave the building.
- Tell yourself you deserve this and are giving back to you
- Repeat these actions often
As survivors, we’re always going to fee self-recrimination and guilt, that’s to be expected. That’s to be expected, but you don’t have to expect them back quite as strongly. Now more than ever you need to give back to yourself, honour yourself and well, love who you are. You cannot give on empty, that’s not going to work. Loving yourself if as important as loving others. The sales pitch from long ago doesn’t work anymore, putting everyone first is just plain wrong. Yes, you have to respect and honour others, and sometimes consider others before you. But all too often that becomes ‘the way’ instead of ‘the choice’.
Start choosing you, it is not selfish, wrong or arrogant, rather it is sensible, wise and pragmatic. Giving to self ensures you have something in you that feels nourished supported and valued. You naturally do it for others, how about doing it for you?
Go on I dare you
Start to love you
Many others do