Love yourself so you can love others
“You can search the whole world and you will never find anyone more deserving of love than you.”
This quote stands in contrast to the many messages we are bombarded with daily. Buy this, wear that, read this, if you want to be popular; if you want to be accepted, then you must follow the rules, etc. Our culture is conditional: Unless you do this, don’t do that, believe this, don’t say that…you won’t be acceptable. The list of conditions is endless. Most of us spend our entire lives trying to gain approval or avoid disapproval.
As a result, we have fear, anxiety depression, confusion, and lots of anger. Low self-esteem and negative thoughts and feelings result; we betray ourselves and abandon ourselves and have no idea who we really are. We have “masks” for every situation. When we identify with our masks, as we most often do, we have no way “home” to our real or true selves. It is a fact that at one time or another we experienced disapproval, rejection, shaming, or been made to feel guilty and inadequate.
There is another way. Love yourself. It requires daily practice. It requires consciousness and awareness that we are not our masks. We must become aware of the effect of constantly betraying ourselves to satisfy someone else or the pervasive culture. We have to stop trying to meet everyone else’s demands. Begin each day with a question:
“How will I love myself today?” or “What are the most loving things I can do for myself today?”
When you love yourself, you up your self-esteem meter
Loving yourself brings a sense of compassion, self-empathy, curiosity and appreciation to your self.
Today can be the beginning of defining yourself accurately: You are enough, you are more than okay, and who you truly are is fine. Coming to accept these truths takes practice, and you might encounter feelings of grief and sadness which result from not being in reality and not being true to yourself.
The way of the past as a perpetual victim (to circumstances, to the opinions of others, rejection, being shamed, judged and constantly diminished) has to yield to a new powerful way of living where you are the creator of your life, the author and authority of your life. Gift yourself with love, acceptance and compassion. Be your own best friend, be true to your authentic self rather than looking to someone else for what they can’t give you.
Create the gift of true friendship with yourself and then expand your circle with people who are willing to accept you just the way you are.
Love yourself. Thank yourself for your gifts and talents and for the gift you are to others. Share yourself with the world and you won’t feel a need to please everyone else.
Originally published July 1, 2019; updated July 14, 2021.