Love, is a word that is used often. It is a term of endearment that conveys great depth of feeling and regard. And we say it a lot. Especially to our partners, family, friends and children. But rarely do you ever hear people saying that they love themselves. This in itself clearly demonstrates to me, that the majority of us believe that unless we are ‘loved by someone else’ we do not believe that we are worthy of love. Or even worse, that we are unlovable. Which is just not true.
There is a big difference between the narcissistic self love, demonstrated by individuals who are extremely vain, self obsessed and selfish. To the genuine state of self love. Where an individual cares enough about themselves to not be put upon, used and abused. Self love means taking care of our bodies and our minds. It is about recognizing our own worth. True self love is not believing we are better than or superior to other people. It is more about believing we are equal to other people. That just as we love and respect others, we deserve to be treated in the same way. People with a lack of self love are more likely to suffer from low self esteem and self confidence. Will often find themselves in toxic, controlling relationships, because they believe that they do not deserve better.
Often this lack of self love stems from their early beginnings, in childhood. Where they did not receive the loving environment required, to help them establish a healthy strong sense of self. Secure in the knowledge that they were loved no matter what. I believe that the unconditional love of nurturing parents, is the crucial element in establishing this innate self belief and confidence, in the developing child. Where they are allowed to test boundaries and explore their world with confidence. Making mistakes, but without once feeling fearful of the removal of that love if they did so.
So how does someone create a sense of self love within; And is it possible to overcome a lifetime of false beliefs about themselves? I believe that it is possible. As an adult, you can reflect on your early life, your formative years. And see that how you were treated was not so much about their being something wrong with you. But a lack of emotional maturity and nurturing instincts within your parents and other adult role models. Consider the possibility that they themselves were not nurtured. Or raised in a healthy atmosphere of encouragement and support. There are varying degree’s of damage that can occur, resulting from such beginnings. Lack of self love and self respect is but one. Who knows what else they were subjected to and how it might have stunted their emotional development and inability to relate to others. If you had been born into another home or to different parents, it might have been very different. But you are the same person. With strengths and abilities, and more than likely with a empathic nature, a loving human being that would do anything to please other people. The problems occur when in your desire to please others, you stop caring or appreciating how vitally important it is to see to your own needs.
Cultivating a sense of self worth and self love is the only way to live a happy and emotionally healthy life. Without it, our whole lives are spent trying to ‘earn’ the love, affection and respect of other people. Even our strengths and positive qualities will mean nothing to us, unless they are acknowledged and admired by others. It is not enough that we know we are good at something, we only believe it, when someone else tells us that we are. Which is crazy isn’t it. Can you see how wrong that is? Liking and loving yourself can never be taken from you. If you base your feelings of worth on what others think, you will forever live a life dependent on the whims and attitudes of others. Who are in reality probably riddled with as much doubt and insecurity about themselves as you are. Self love is a life long gift, that you can give to yourself!