This is a very difficult topic, probably for all of us. We are constantly taught to love others, take care of others, look out for others, praise others… But don’t do it for yourself, otherwise you’ll be selfish and arrogant.
This creates a paradox: we can’t love ourselves “too much”, so we starve our inner needs. And then we do end up being selfish, envious, guarded, arrogant and so many more things, because we didn’t take the time and the energy to love ourselves first.
In contrast, when you take the time you need to look out and really care for yourself, you realize you become a better person to others. Sometimes that’s difficult, because you also have to stand up for yourself at times, but what happens more often is that you just have more energy and happiness ready to share with others. So love is not a finite resource you either give to yourself or to others: it’s a self multiplying resource because when you are capable of seeing such good and humanity in yourself, you can also see it in others. You become less demanding or dependent and become more self-empowered and capable on relying on yourself.
What I’m saying here isn’t, by any means, to isolate yourself. You need friends, we all do! But be your own best friend, don’t let anyone tell you they love you more than you do. Because you are “the one”. You are the one who will always be there for yourself, from birth until death. You are the one who knows yourself most vastly and you are the one who can give you the most joy or understanding. No one can know your needs better than yourself – even if they are a mystery to all of us sometimes!
You must be able to look at yourself and realize that, despite being flawed as every human being (that’s what makes us so complex! and complexity is beautiful!), you have so much power inside. You can list all of your own qualities and truly believe they are positive ways in which you make the world a better place. You can think of all the good things you have done and all the great experiences that have made you you. You can look back and see how you’ve taken a negative event and made it into something good. How you’ve kept living in spite of so much adversity! That’s strength. The ability to get back up and keep running, because you still have power left inside of you. You are an infinite resource! And you are your own power turbine.
The last important thing I want to highlight is: you want to be loved! We all do, me, Angie, Marta and everyone reading this. That’s great, it’s a human trait and it’s a power we have on our side. But you need to believe you are worthy of that love, so you can truly embrace it whenever it comes, in whichever form it comes. And, in my opinion, no one else can make you feel like you are lovable. They can help, of course – God knows I’ve been helped a lot! But to truly believe, in your depths, that you are worthy of love only comes when you give yourself permission to love yourself. Then, you learn that you are lovable: because you love yourself.
This is an enormous journey, full of ups and downs. But a journey is made of steps – big and small. Take your first step today: look at yourself in the mirror and list all the things you are thankful for about yourself. Maybe it’s a short list, maybes it’s a big one. Tomorrow, challenge yourself to find one more thing, then one more thing the next day, and so on.
Never give up looking for things for which you should love yourself! I promise you: they are there.
Stay awesome, as you are,