Can you look in the mirror and say “I love you” to yourself and genuinely mean it?
More to the point can you do it without cringing or feeling silly. Part of the reason we cringe is due to misconceptions about self-love. We feel silly because we have been lead to believe that loving yourself is a bad thing.
Before we dive into the misconceptions about self love let’s quickly clarify what it is in the first place.
Self-love is about being confident, respecting yourself, knowing who you are and having high self-esteem.
Let’s look at some of the damaging misconceptions that hold us back when it comes to loving ourselves.
1. It’s selfish
This is the biggie. I can’t think about loving myself because it’s selfish. It’s self-absorbed. It’s all about ME, ME, ME.
Being selfish is NOT at the core of authentic self-love.
We tend to classify anything to do with our own thoughts and opinions as selfish, particularly if our thinking is slightly out of the norm. I’m not really sure why we think along these lines.
I do know one thing. This is your life. Do you want to spend it following someone else’s plan or do you want to be free to follow your own?
There is enough love to go around – you can care about yourself and other people at the same time.
2. It’s being narcissistic or vain
Self-love isn’t about narcissism or vanity
For starters people assume that self love is all about loving what’s on the outside. This isn’t about having better legs than the girl standing next to you at the bar or having better abs than the guy working out near you at the gym.
YOU are so much more than how you look. So much more!!! Unfortunately we seem to live in a society completely obsessed with appearances, so we often loss track of this basic fact. There is a lot more to self-love than the outside package that we present.
Self-love isn’t about LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT HOW BEAUTIFUL I AM.
More often this sort of behavior is based on insecurity (and yes sometimes it is pure vanity).
Often the people who come across as vain are actually the most insecure. The look at me dance is part of a craving for attention.
People who struggle with insecurities constantly seek outside validation. Because of this they secretly lack confidence and continuously need to be topping up their reserves. A tiny criticism can shake them to their core.
Vanity is often a cover for the fact that people don’t think they are good enough. They are terrified someone will find out their facade is all for show.
Of course there are some true narcissists out there. Many of them are fueled by arrogance more than anything else.
3. It means you think you are better than everyone else
Just because you love yourself doesn’t mean you think you are better than other people.
Here are some of the expressions people tend to use.
- She’s so up herself
- He really loves himself doesn’t he (usually stated with a sneer)
- She’s full of herself
- He’s got tickets on herself
The people they are talking about are often overcompensating to mask insecurities. Granted some are egotistical and believe they are better than other people, but that is not self-love in its purest form.
If you love yourself you are more likely to have a balanced point of view. You respect the rights and opinions of others as well as your own. You understand that each person is unique and powerful in their own way.
4. People won’t like you
If you treat yourself with respect and kindness there is a much higher chance that you will treat other people the same way.
What’s not to like about that?
If you are arrogant, manipulative or mean – you are right people generally won’t like you as much.
5. It’s for people who have nothing better to do
You might have looked at the title of this post and shrugged it off. You might have thought I don’t have the time for this emotional crap.
You might have children to take care off, a business to run and elderly parents to look after. You could have school, university or a fantastic group of friends that you would rather be hanging out with than thinking about how you feel about yourself.
If you have children you have a pressing reason to get honest about your level of self-love. You are a role model. You are their foundation for the beliefs they will carry into adulthood. They will take on board what they see from your behavior and actions.
Your levels of self love will be projected onto your children.
Regardless of whether you have children, having a strong sense of self-love is important. Make the time, it’s a vital investment in your future.
6. It doesn’t matter
I beg to differ on this one. If people had more self-love in their lives so many of us wouldn’t be walking around bitter, lonely, sad or crying out for attention.
With more self-love there would be less affairs, less heartbreak, less pain.
People would stand up for themselves and walk away from crappy relationships. They would have enough respect to not put themselves in dangerous or reckless situations.
People would not settle for scraps of love because they crave external validation and attention. Instead they would be sourcing a sense of approval, joy and acceptance from inside themselves.
What’s the alternative to self love?
If you think self-love has its downside wait till you get a look at its nasty cousin self-loathing. Self-loathing consumes people. It makes them miserable, sad and depressed.
Ditch the misconceptions and make the decision to choose self love. You will be much happier that you did.
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