After taking a few days off writing as I traveled, I am back at it. It’s strange how difficult it can be to get back on track once we interrupt a pattern. Today I want to write about a topic that has been on my mind a lot the past few days. Since reading a friend’s post on Facebook about a book she was recommending, Love Yourself: Like Your Life Depends on it by Kamal Ravikant, the topic of “loving yourself” has been brought to my attention from several other close friends and clients. To be honest, the book was well written and the topic made complete sense, yet I find myself resisting the concept put forth in the book that loving yourself is as easy as telling yourself over and over that, “I love myself”.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a day reserved for LOVE. Most often on this day, we focus on romantic love and love for those closest to us like close friends and family. But NEVER, not ONCE, in my 48 years, have I celebrated or even considered the concept of “loving myself” on this day.
There are experts all over the world that have written and taught us that in order to love someone else, we must love ourselves first. It sounds good, but what does it mean to “love yourself?” The second commandment states that “you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31 Since God wants us to love your neighbor as yourself, doesn’t it make sense that we better figure out what “loving yourself” really means, and more importantly how to do it?
Think about it. How many people, including you, not only have one thing but a list of things that they don’t love about themselves? I’m too fat, I don’t like my smile, I hate my nose, I’m disgusted by my body, my laugh sounds stupid, I am too short, I am too tall, my hair is too curly, my hair is too straight, I am too smart, I am too dumb, you get the idea. If we truly despise ourselves this badly, we may be better off ignoring God’s advice to “love your neighbor as yourself”. In fact, maybe many of us are all too good at following God’s commandment and that is why the hate we feel for ourselves ends up being projected on to others in our daily life.
So then, what does it mean to “Love Yourself?” Is it as simple as looking in the mirror and saying “I love you” or as Kamal Ravikant suggests, repeating “I love myself” over and over in your mind until you believe it to be true? Since what works for one person, may not work for another, I don’t want to reject either of these tactics as a possible way to create self love. In fact, they may be an important piece of the puzzle but in my mind there has to be more.
The last couple days, while working with my coaching clients, we have discussed the importance of intention. It is my belief that the only way to achieve a desired RESULT is to first create an intention and then take action. If I apply the same thinking to “self love”, the first thing we need to do in order to love ourselves is to set the intention that we desire to “love our self”, in the first place. Setting the intention to “love our self” brings the desire to our attention. Once we do this, our conscious and subconscious minds look for ways that we can accomplish this goal. Then, when we see the opportunity to “prove it”, we must take ACTION!
For example… I LOVE cupcakes. They are soooooo good. The idea of a cupcake makes me smile. My favorite part about a cupcake is the layers and layers of frosting on top! MMMMmmmm (Did you know that when a person craves sweets, it is actually a really good indicator that they crave “love” or “sweetness” in their life?) The problem with cupcakes, or any sweets for that matter, is that they are not good for us. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with having “a” cupcake now and then, having a cupcake or a combination of many sweet foods on a daily basis, can certainly take its toll on your body and how you feel about yourself. Trust me, I know! With the intention of “loving myself” in mind, when the opportunity to partake in a delicious cupcake presents itself, saying “no thank you” would actually be an opportunity to show self love. The same could be said about how we allow others to treat us at home, at work or in a romantic relationship. Saying “no thank you” to an unacceptable behavior or action doesn’t only show self-respect but it builds self love. Each time you take action and “prove it”, you begin to love yourself a little bit more.
Proverbs 15:13 A Happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. Let me ask you, what could make your heart happier than truly loving yourself through intended actions each and every day? Loving yourself means putting yourself first, not because you are selfish but because God wants us to love others as we love ourselves and if we don’t know how to properly love ourselves, we certainly won’t be loving each other as God intended for us to do.
Have a great day!
PS- Happy Valentine’s Day!