From the beginning let me tell you this article is NOT about being selfish. It is about love, and getting the most of it by giving the most of it. So let me start by asking you a series of simple questions. When do you think you are able to feel love, show love, give love and experience love more?
- Happy or sad?
- Comfortable or uncomfortable?
- Confident or not confident?
- Calm or not calm?
- Angry/upset or not angry/upset?
- Sense of achievement or when no sense of achievement?
I can go on with different states of mind and emotions, but the message I hope is understood. Simply, a better you means a better relationship. So, with that in mind, let me explain a bit more about self-love. Self-love is the ability to honor yourself, love yourself, and be proud of yourself no matter what. It is an ability that becomes missing as we grow older and is often lost at the most critical of times. We have a general tendency to judge ourselves, pull ourselves down through ridicule and shame if we make mistakes and suffer from low self-esteem. Call it genetics, environment and upbringing, expectations and pressures…The truth about us is that we rarely know how to love ourselves. And when you do not know how to love yourself, how can you possibly love someone else in the best possible way?
Self-love starts and finishes with you…in a good way. So, here are a few things you can do to improve your appreciation and understanding of who you are and what you are all about.
- Know yourself: truly know who you are. Review your values and what you stand for. Are you proud of yourself? Do you feel good about yourself? Are you up to your own standards? If yes, then that is wonderful. All of this only works with a very strong touch of realism by the way. If you are not okay with who you are, work on becoming okay but understand that you should never talk negative, feel negative or look at things in a negative way for that only increases misery and reduces your ability to work with yourself to better yourself. We all need to better ourselves and it is a journey that never ends.
- Know your limits, understand what you need as a person, and figure out then what you want. Work towards those goals and do so with focus. Do not get distracted by new shiny things that fall in the category of “want” because if you do, you may achieve them and find out they are not fulfilling because they are not things you need or you may not get them. Either way you end up with a hollow feeling that reinforces the idea and belief you are a loser.
- Take care of yourself: Spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. A better you across all stages and phases leads to better giving by you and tolerance and acceptance of others. (Which is what a relationship relies on by the way!)
- Forgive yourself: Too many times we are so hard on ourselves and we are our worst critics. We come down so hard on ourselves and without you knowing, those expectations are projected onto others. Imagine a relationship (with your partner, children, friends and family, co-workers) working under those conditions!
- Keep your purpose in life clear, and live it with passion. And when you do you will feel so good about yourself. No challenge would be too great and your confidence will skyrocket.
With that in mind, remember that the road to loving anyone starts with loving yourself.
Happy Valentine’s everyone.