Photo by BK
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha
[-]I have yet to really figure out why I’m so ruthless with regard to my own mistakes but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. If our culture’s lack of self-esteem is any indication, this seems to be a challenge for many people.
I’ve heard it said that until you can love yourself, you can’t truly love others. I’m not sure how much I agree with that. In fact, I’ve come to think of maternal love as loving someone else more than you love yourself.
What I do know is that struggling to love myself makes showing up in the world a big challenge. Showing up as my authentic self requires so much effort. In fact it’s nearly impossible when I don’t feel self-love.
I strongly feel that lack of self-love holds us back. It prevents us from connecting with our purpose and doing great things. I may be over-generalizing but the scarcity of self-love in our society seems to be at the root of so many common problems.
It’s important to understand that loving yourself doesn’t mean you are selfish or a narcissist or that you don’t take responsibility for your mistakes. It means that you treat yourself fairly and with respect.
Self-love means that I forgive myself for my errors and continue striving to be the best person I can be. It means I believe in myself and put the same effort into my well-being as I do for my loved ones.
It should come as no surprise that the practice of self-love is far easier said than done. But, in my often-imperfect journey to loving myself, I’ve learned a few things along the way:
1. Challenge the notion that there’s any merit to being hard on yourself.
Beating yourself up may have the short-term effect of making you work harder or be more diligent. But in the long run, being unkind to yourself causes resentment, a sense of defeat, and eventually some emotional scars.
2. Add a new twist to the Golden Rule.
We always teach children that they should treat others the way they wish to be treated. A good rule as we grow up is to treat ourselves according to the same standards we treat others.
You probably aren’t the kind of person who would call their child, mother, or best friend “stupid,” so, why would you say that kind of thing to yourself?
3. Know that forgiving yourself doesn’t mean lowering your standards.
There is nothing wrong with striving to be the best you can be. However, it’s important to cut yourself some slack when you fall short of expectations.
Making a mistake or not being perfect is simply part of being human. If you didn’t do your best, it’s okay and it’s really not the end of the world. Dust yourself off, keep moving forward, and love yourself for all your imperfections!
While it’s definitely not easy at first, I promise that learning to love yourself really does pay off. The love and kindness we have for ourselves may eventually allow us to change the world!