Self love. An interesting concept. Often misunderstood and mistaken for pride, arrogance or ego. Oddly enough, self love is one of the most selfless concepts there are. Let me show you what I mean.
Let’s look at a few general definitions of self love first.
- According to dictionary.com, self love is described as
- the instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare or well-being, especially an excessive regard for one’s own advantage
- conceit; vanity
- Merriam Webster defines self love as conceit and regard for one’s own happiness or advantage
- Oxford dictionary says self love is the regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic)
Does not sound that selfless, right? It seems like self love rather has a negative connotation. And it makes sense. The world we live in is quite confusing: on one hand, you are encouraged to think: work hard, fulfill your dreams and be happy; you come first. On the other hand, you should not be arrogant or egocentric, instead know how to collaborate, work in teams, support others, be environmentally friendly, support your community, etc. because this is what employers in particular look for in candidates. So where does the concept of self love fit in the midst of these world views?
One very important point to understand is that self love does not cancel humility or kindness. You cannot love yourself and be egoistic; this is actually a sign for lack of self love. How can I say that, you ask?
I’ve touched on this in last week’s post, however, let me reiterate: You can only love others to the extent that you love yourself. So, you can only love yourself to the extent that you love others. Consequently, your self love actually includes your love for others. It is because your perception of others is a reflection of you.
Please read that last paragraph again.
For illustration purposes, imagine this: Way ahead of the deadline, you have completed a very complicated and critical task given by your boss. As a means of recognition, you receive a very expensive Rolex watch (as opposed to a watch from the nearest drugstore, for example). The way you will see, deal with, take care of the Rolex will differ significantly from the way you would treat the no-name watch. Why? Because of the value accredited to it.
Now, that is a watch. But we are talking humans now. You are a human, and so are „the others“. Depending on your concept of human beings, you will accredit a certain importance to humans. I will go from my own perception of humans from here on out.
We all come from the same source, are made of the same „fabric“, and have the same „brand“ on us, so to speak. The potential, capacity, aptitude and ability of the human being is unprecedented – his uniqueness is undisputed, not found in any other species on planet Earth; that all makes him tremendously valuable. Out of all species on this earth, therefore, the most powerful and substantial is the human – because of his value.
The problem we have as people is that we do not value ourselves as we should. We do not acknowledge and appreciate our value as we merit – to the extent of our actual worth. Most of the time, we spend time criticizing, gossiping and looking at flaws – of ourselves and others. But with that mindset, we won’t be able to love ourselves or others as we should, ever.
So what is “the cure”? What will help us love ourselves and others so we can truly be happy, peaceful and fulfilled?
The answer is knowledge.
Your knowledge of your worth is what will enlighten you, what will open you up to the fact that you and others are worth loving. You only need to make sure to feed your mind with the right kind of knowledge about yourself. Remember my post on thinking? You have to choose to think the right things about you. Here are 8 practical guidelines to help you love yourself:
#1: Acknowledge that humans are the most important species on this earth
Personally, I believe humans are the peak or crown of creation, our source being God himself. We all have capacities and potentials that are enormous due to our divine source; we are basically little gods on this earth. The earth was entrusted to us to cultivate it, to make it a joyful, peaceful, heavenly place to live and thrive in; we are capable of building or destroying it. Hence, the value accredited to us is God-worthy! How incredible is that. The issue is, we set ourselves limitations that make us goldfish in small glasses while we actually belong into the ocean, where the sky is the limit and creativity is the ordinance. Heavy stuff. But acknowledging that will create in you a much deeper form of respect and awe for human beings – including yourself!
#2: We are all equal but different.
You are you for a reason. You are not Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Gigi Hadid, your house mate, colleague or anyone else because in you is something that is uniquely accustomed to your body, mind, spirit, experience, surrounding, background, etc. That does not make you less important or worthy than others, nor does it make you the opposite. You come from the same source as those people and have the same capacities. You need to figure out how to use them in your own environment instead of envying what others have done with theirs. Find your thing, and do your thing. And the best way to start is by working – because work reveals your potential, enlarges your horizon, pushes you to build new skills, grow and learn more about yourself, build and explore your interests, while doing your best. So maybe don’t see work as a place where you build your career and climb up a ladder – see it as a place where you build yourself. Your career will be built automatically, like a side effect.
#3: Find your purpose
We say we have many interests, don’t know what our goals or passions are, are confused, don’t know what to do with our lives, etc. That is why work is so important. But not just work, also the way you look at work. Do you properly observe yourself while working? Do you ask for feedback – on your work, attitude, leadership style, communication style, interests, potential jobs that would suit you etc.? This is not for people to decide for you, but to inform your decision and have a holistic view on what effect you have on people, dissecting that info for yourself. Spend time to learn more about yourself and try things out. Especially while you are young, your time alone allows you to explore yourself – make use of it, so that you will have a sense of purpose and usefulness to humanity as you grow older.
#4: Think and focus on the right thing
Your thinking is you. As I have once outlined, the way you think is the precondition for what you will do and why. As you find work to find your purpose, be focused on it. No matter what you say, the thing that dominates your actions is your thinking faculty. Your focus (on your work, your purpose) will predict who you go out with, what you wear, if you take care of your body, how you speak, who you spend time with, etc. Because when you have a goal, you will find out what it takes to reach it. Say, one thing is to read 2 books per month. You will not be able to go our every night because you decide to reach your goal of reading two books per month. Focus on that, and it will be easier for you to say no when you need to.
#5: Time is life
Every minute of your life is important. Do you really believe that? Ladies, if you do, you won’t just go out with any biomass of a man, clothed in an attractive body, just because he looks good. Gents, you won’t just be tempted to do whatever if any friendly lady asks for your attention. It is difficult, but here is the thing: set yourself boundaries. Sit down for once, and define your values. In accordance with your goal and purpose-seeking, what will you never do and what will you do? Most importantly: why? And how does that bring you closer to your goal? Be flexible, but not at the cost of others or your goal. Just as you, others should pursue their goals too, even if they are unaware of it. Time is life. Don’t waste it. Don’t waste yours. Don’t waste theirs.
#6: Make knowledge your goal
In whatever you do, seek understanding. Seek to know more. Be humble, don’t think that you know it all, even if you think you do. You will discover that no matter how great your expertise is, you will always learn new things, if you open up your mind to it. The greatest problem of our society is ignorance – the opposite of knowledge. Knowledge of ourselves and our worth, knowledge of other people’s characters, knowledge of what it takes to make peace with others, knowledge of emotional intelligence, knowledge of other cultures, knowledge of financial laws to not be broke all the time, knowledge of certain requirements for whatever we want in life – we do not seek knowledge. We just do because we feel or have heard. And then we wonder why things don’t work. Knowledge is light. It helps you to see. Make knowledge one of your goals that will last as long as you live. Knowledge is timeless. Be curious. Be a lifelong learner.
#7: Be wise
Your knowledge in itself is good. But putting it into practice is even better. Wisdom is knowledge applied. Therefore, purposefully acquire the knowledge you have. You see, everything you do has to have a purpose. So if you want to increase your emotional intelligence, for instance, do that in order to apply that knowledge in your relationships – with your family, friends, colleagues, strangers, anywhere. Know that it does not bring you anywhere to worry about everything. And decide to not worry. Know that constructive conversations are not made while you are emotionally agitated. It is an exercise, so you have to do it constantly, daily. You are usually impatient. Practice patience daily to train yourself and become more patient over time. If you know that, to read two books à 200 pages each, read 15 pages every day to reach your goal. Touch your goal daily, and it will become one with yourself. Be wise and apply your knowledge, don’t just have it laying around for nothing.
#8: Have the right kind of love
Have it. Don’t seek it. It comes from within you – your spirit, your source. Cultivate it. That is how you will receive it – by giving it. Love is not selfish, and does not look for its own advantage first. Love is outward-oriented, while you cannot be properly outward oriented if you are not inward-oriented. It sounds paradoxical, but how can you be a source of love, help and support to someone if you are totally sick, angry, miserable or poor? In order words, whatever you do, do it for the love for others. You want to help people have healthier bodies and raising their awareness of their bodies? Become a yoga teacher or fitness trainer to express that love. You want to help those who are poor? Become an expert in financial literacy, teach others that financial knowledge and help them build, increase and cultivate their finances. Want to help families stay together because you know how detrimental this is to themselves and their kids if they have any? Study relationships, study those who are experts in your field of interest and help those in need of your knowledge in your community and/or beyond. This is love.
The truth is this: When you realize how much you are worth, and the value you therefore bring to others, you fall in love with yourself.When you realize how much you are worth, and the value you therefore bring to others, you fall in love with yourself. Click To Tweet
Please read that again. Better even: meditate on that last sentence in bold letters! Imagine that. You are worth God. You are worth saving lives. What an incredible truth! What intrinsic joy and happiness that truth creates – if you allow it to grow in you. Believe it. And your belief will create the fact.
With that, dear ladies, I will close up this short series on why we women end up with the wrong guys. We need to be our love interest first, because of others, because of ourselves. Let us walk in the knowledge of our worth. Let us be wise. This will not only help us identify and attract the right people in our lives (including men), but it will create a happiness in us that will be intrinsic, unshakeable and self-sufficient.
With love and gratitude,