A lot of times we are so focused on “out there” when it comes to relationships that we neglect to shift our focus inward and delve into the notions of self-love and self-respect, yet these are the foundational building blocks on which any successful relationship is to be built.
You have to have a healthy level of self-love first, before anyone else can love you in a way that will make you feel fulfilled.
Unfortunately, a lot of times we clutch at external things, almost like clutching at firewood in order to build a bigger and better fire, but unlike firewood where you can simply visit this site and get as much as you want… love must first come from within, rather than outside yourself, trying to build something up with external components.
In some ways, you could view self-love to be the same as self-esteem, however, self-esteem tends to be more about how competent we feel we are in terms of tangible output and how much we value the impact and contribution we make. Self love, on the other hand, is more about self-acceptance and loving ourselves just the way we are.
Louise Hay, who is one of the world’s leading experts in this area of self-love states: “Self love is a deep appreciation. When I talk about loving ourselves, I mean having a deep appreciation for who we are. We accept all the different parts of ourselves—our little peculiarities, the embarrassments, the things we may not do so well, and all the wonderful qualities, too.”
She goes on to explain that, many of us make self love conditional by creating unnecessary rules, such as that we will love ourselves when we lose weight, get a better job, or drive a better car… meaning, it’s constantly being put off until tomorrow. We put external conditions on our internal sense of self-worth, which is what creates unhappiness, as it’s like a carrot dangling in front of a donkey’s nose… it’s always just slightly out of reach.
Self love is an unconditional sense of love and acceptance for who you are, where you’ve been, what you have and where you’re heading. It’s a sense of emotional security that allows you to recognise that you are good enough as you are!
A lot of the time, when someone treats us without respect (e.g. by cheating on you) we take it extremely personally; as if their behaviour is a direct reflection of our value. Indeed, when we are treated without value by a person close to us we can feel like we have no value. This is why so many people struggle with break-ups.
It’s understandable and normal to feel this way, but there are two points here – firstly their behavior reflects who they are, not who you are, or what you deserve… and secondly, in order for people to treat you with respect, dignity and consideration – you need to respect yourself. Unfortunately, without meaning to, people will treat you without respect and consideration; the popular term “they’ll walk all over you if you let them” comes to mind. That’s not to say you have to be militant in the enforcement of your boundaries; it’s more that you must have a healthy level of self-respect in order for people to treat you with respect.
Remember, life has a mirror like quality to it, in that it reflects back to us what we feel on the inside. If you don’t respect yourself – expect others to reflect this back to you. Similarly, as soon as you start treating yourself with respect the people in your life will either adapt their behaviour to this or leave your life and make way for someone that can treat you with the respect, consideration and dignity you deserve.
It’s all too easy to focus on the negatives in life and so many of us take the good stuff for granted!
Think about how many green stop lights you notice compared to the red ones. With a red stop light, particularly if you’re late and rushing to get somewhere important, you’ll get frustrated, tense and agitated to the point you really feel that red traffic light. Meanwhile, all the green lights barely go noticed.
The same can be said for life. Think about how easily we take for granted simple functions such as being able to walk, talk, see, and drive a car. It’s all too easy to take the good stuff for granted, in that we fail to appreciate the positive stuff, particularly within ourselves.
When you start noticing, recognising and appreciating the good in you – rather than looking at yourself through critical eyes you will have a much happier relationship with yourself.
Diaclaimer: This is a collaborative post.