Love Thyself First
EVERYTHING YOU DO COMES FROM SELF-LOVE! A bold statement; I KNOW!
Many, many moons ago I embarked on a journey of self growth. From this journey I have learned that self-love is a MUST and connected to each and every thing we think, do, and feel in and about life. This secret that I have learned has led to the manifestation of wonderful things.
My real a-ha moment came about nine months ago but the circumstances leading to this moment started about six years ago. A string of volcanoes erupted. The first of which seemed big at the time but little did I know how much worse things were going to get. From break-ups to death the last six years have sent me on an emotional, physical, and spiritual roller coaster. I have questioned everything I have ever believed in and I have been tested in ways I never thought would be possible. One day this journey will be told in more detail but for now know the quick and dirty version so that I can get to the real topic of discussion…SELF-LOVE.
In 2009, things were going swimmingly. I was in a wonderful relationship I thought had a bright future. I bought a beautiful home. I was getting into better shape physically and I had a stable job doing what I loved. I had no idea what I was in for starting in 2011 and in the next five years that followed. The timeline goes something like this: break-up of said relationship, start of a new job as a supervisor, diagnosis of right hip labarum tear followed by surgery and 12 weeks of recovery, my dad diagnosed with cancer and died about one year later, a good friend my age diagnosed with cancer and died seven months later, three or so additional family members died within a very short period of time, a broken foot requiring two separate surgeries and substantial recovery, another break-up, being completely unhappy with my career and job that was very stressful and in a very unhealthy environment, and debt acquired from the three surgeries and time spent on short term disability, I didn’t work a full year for three years in a row due to injuries and losses. I was spent literally and figuratively. I lost all self confidence I had, I was depressed and miserable, and I was fearful of everything including death.
Then nine months ago, I replied to a post from a fellow life coach. She was asking for volunteers to help her acquire the required coaching hours needed to complete her training. I responded with the intention to give back knowing what it was like to be a student. I remember prior to one of our first calls thinking “I’m not prepared for this call and I should cancel.” In hindsight what I now realize is that my ego was playing its nasty game of resistance. Thankfully the ego did not win. In my time spent with this wonderful likeminded coach, she was also a social worker; I was able to really open up leading to a tremendous breakthrough. My problem wasn’t just rooted in relationships like I thought. My problem was rooted within. I was lacking self-love. This lack affected every aspect of my life. I was able to see how everything was connected to this one thing called self-love. It was like playing a game of connect the dots of my life. My a-ha moment had occurred. My new intention was to create my self-love.
Think of self-love as the center of a wheel. From that center radiates spokes connecting to the wheel. Each spoke represent various facets in life: family, social, occupational, living environment, romantic, etc. When the center of the wheel is missing or damaged in some way the wheel is not going to work properly.
If you love yourself, you love everybody else as you do yourself. As long as you love another person less than you love yourself, you will not really succeed in loving yourself, but if you love all alike, including yourself, you will love them as one person and that person is both God and man. Thus he is a great and righteous person who, loving himself, loves all others equally.
There has been an evolution of the term self-love. Erich Fromm in “The Art of Loving” describes early traditional views of the term to be seen as “sinful to love oneself” and that “self-love is the same as selfishness.” Fromm indicated that Freud saw self-love the same as narcissism. Wikipedia cited self-love as “a moral flaw, akin to vanity and selfishness” from Roget’s Thesaurus.
A re-evaluation of the term is explored by Fromm in his book. He states, “Selfishness and self-love, far from being identical, are actually opposites.” Fromm chose to use Meister Eckhart to express his reinterpretation of self-love “If you love yourself, you love everybody else as you do yourself. As long as you love another person less than you love yourself, you will not really succeed in loving yourself, but if you love all alike, including yourself, you will love them as one person and that person is both God and man. Thus he is a great and righteous person who, loving himself, loves all others equally.” Dictionary.com defines self-love as “the belief you hold that you are a valuable and worthy person.” This is my favorite definition.
Related articles: “JAMES MASKALYK ON HEALTH, CONSCIOUSNESS AND LIFE”
I ask you the reader, what words come to mind when you think of self-love? The answers to this question are the key to knowing if you are in an abundance state or lack state; whether or not you have self-love or there is an absence of self-love.
How do you know if you are in lack? When you are in a place of lack you may experience any or all of the following: feelings of jealousy, judgmental thinking about yourself or others, problems with mood such as, depression, anxiety, panic, and/or anger, negative self talk like “I’m not good enough,” “I’m always at fault,” “I’m unlovable,” and the list goes on.
How does lack show up in your life? Lack can show up in many different ways. For me, lack manifested itself in unhealthy relationships, injuries, debt. Other ways include: poor diet and eating habits, overuse of substances like alcohol or drugs, physical health problems, difficulty with sleep, people pleasing behaviors, abusive relationships with partners, friends, family, or work, difficulty setting boundaries, blaming behavior, etc.
Why is self-love so important? Becoming a true deliberate creator starts with self-love. Everyone placed on this earth deserves all that he or she desires. Abundance, freedom, happiness, confidence in you and your choices, acceptance, love and being loved all starts with self-love.
So many years of education yet nobody ever taught us how to love ourselves and why it’s so important,
I couldn’t have said it any better. I share this often with my clients. It’s not about placing blame but becoming aware, enlightened, and educated. Our parents, their parents, and the parents of generations past all did the best they could with the tools they had at the time. As each generation comes to pass we learn. Each experience we have as individuals in life presents itself to learn a lesson. My lesson was EVERYTHING YOU DO COMES FROM SELF-LOVE!
To that end here are some tips to start working toward self-love or to help you continue on your journey.
Build awareness and insight. Meaning, take time to notice what you are thinking, what is triggering your moods, are you making decisions for you or to please someone else? Learn what is a “yes” verses what is a “no” and set boundaries. Start small if this is new. My homework for those new to this challenge is when going out to eat be the one to pick the restaurant or say “no” to just one thing.
Take responsibility for your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Notice if you are blaming. Accept where you are in your journey. Be gentle and celebrate your successes. When you successfully say “no” for example, give yourself a high-five or a piece of chocolate. I favor chocolate.
Surround yourself with those you want to emulate. Work with a therapist, mentor, or a coach. Most of all have fun! I heard a fellow therapist once say, “It’s just not that serious” and you know what, it’s not unless we make it so. I was officially offended by that statement being one who took things too seriously in my earlier years. Now having grown and matured I see that statement for what it was meant for and love to throw in laughter whenever I can. I typically see my life as a half-hour sitcom; gives me a good chuckle. And laughter releases good chemicals in the brain; in case you needed the scientific reasoning.
Once I made the decision to jump into the ring with both feet and fight the ego of resistance I made the decision to win and I have been winning ever since. Now this does not mean that I don’t ever feel sad or struggle; quite the opposite. I still have my moments but my moments do not last quite as long and I don’t beat myself up about them any longer. I take them in stride and am open to the lesson. I am on a continuous journey that never ends. But my ability with help to unblock an area in desperate need of tending in turn started me on my journey to create my self-love. And this led me to successes and wins and the knowing that what I want is within my reach.
Only if I ask will I receive. For example, I was finally able to leave the stressful job in favor of a job in which I get to work from home. This has allowed me to recover in many ways, emotionally, physically, and financially one step at a time. The lingering pain in my foot one day just disappeared and I was off to restart my training as a runner. I have built a wonderful loving relationship with my three-old-year dog, Randi, being that I’m much calmer, happier, and more patient. I’ve been able to enjoy our time together and watch her go from being an anxious puppy with a past trauma to a confident independent fun and sassy 65 lbs love bug.
Making the decision to love you opens the doors to so many adventures. I challenge you! Take back your life if you feel you lost it like I did. It’s all worth it! SELF-LOVE is the START!