I will not be surprised if the title of this paper makes you uncomfortable, or dismissive; after all, advocating self- love is a tired subject, and nothing more than a pitch for self-centredness. And who needs inspirational lessons on what comes to us naturally, any way? The world is packed with enough selfishness which comes out of self-centredness and we are often perpetrators and victims of selfish deeds.
You would be right if you thought I was encouraging you to love yourself to the exclusion of others, which is the definition of self-centredness, but please hear me out, for I am in fact, encouraging you to do the opposite. I am encouraging you to love yourself deeply, so you can love others. I am asking you to look upon yourself, think about yourself, and treat yourself kindly, for that is the only way you can be kind to others.
You can only give what you have. If all you have for yourself is hate, or unkind thoughts, you are not likely to give love, or exude peace, or to seek the good of others.
If you cannot take the success of another without feeling pangs of envy, if you cannot take a compliment without feeling someone is out to mock you, or laugh at yourself because you did something and got it so wrong, or accept failure in yourself, you are unlikely to excuse other people’s failings or celebrate their strengths.
You cannot be responsible for how people live their lives, you can only regulate your own conduct.
There are many circumstances that generally poison our lives, and make us difficult to relate with. In my plea to you to love yourself, may I suggest that you hear me on these matters and use them as guides for a happier, more meaningful life, where you are at peace with yourself and with others?
Rejection: Our fears colour our lives, and often our relationships. One such potent and destructive force is the fear of rejection. Most people live with some form of this fear, some more than others. It is born out of feelings of inadequacy. These feelings are introduced in us even before we understand the world around us; the dolls everyone has but we do not have, the lovely dresses everyone has on for which they get compliments and we do not have, exclusion from play at pre-school, school, work, or other social things, all leave us with questions from which we draw the conclusion that somehow, we do not measure up.
Some react to this “realisation” by also excluding others, so as to pre-empt rejection, others react by clawing their way into acceptance - barely, but most react by simply withdrawing from the society of persons one perceives to be ‘better’ than one. Once this attitude takes root, it does not matter how successful one becomes or where one goes. It simply takes root and rules one’s life. Sadly, the consequence of this is that one never really feels safe in the love of others.
Dear lady, I daresay that because you cannot believe that others can love you, warts and all, you dare not yield to love when it is offered, for fear of it being withdrawn.
Dear lady, you have two choices, you may choose to believe that you are deserving of love, or reject it altogether in the expectation that it could never be genuinely offered to you.
You can only choose the first, if you choose to let go of the feelings of inadequacy, and love yourself. That is the only way you can trust in the love of others enough to receive it.
Anger: Make no mistake, an angry woman has no boundaries. If you are angry with yourself because you cannot forgive yourself for a situation you find yourself in, whether it be solely of your making or not, you are likely to lash out at people who seem to have it all together. Your anger will breed the need to hurt others to get even. Unfortunately, you will trample on people closest to you. This compulsion to hurt, to make others as miserable as you, will stop at nothing until relationships are destroyed all around you, and brings you to the place of despair. Please lose the anger you have directed at yourself first, and then at others because of circumstances that leave you in despair. Choose to forgive yourself and move forward. Love yourself enough to do this.
Competition: Unless you learn to be content with whatever station you find yourself in, you will always look over your shoulder to see if someone is catching up with you, or passing you by, and you will never be content as long as there are others ahead of you. There will always be someone you perceive to be greater than you, and you are not last in the pack, I assure you. While it is a positive thing to use the success of others to motivate you to attain heights, it becomes negative when their success provokes you to envy what they have. Envy is destructive, and like anger, has no borders. Stop comparing yourself with others. Remember that everyone has his/her path through life; your destination will very likely be different from this person whose full story you will never know.
While you must do everything in your power to get a good education, a good job with all its perks, and strive have a comfortable life, be kind to yourself by celebrating what you do have rather than constantly complaining about what you do not have.
To love others, you must love yourself enough to give and receive love. Love yourself, for that is the mirror through which others look at you; love yourself, so you can mirror that love as you deal with others.
“Though much is taken, much abides.” -from Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson