Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. - Marianne Williamson
Self-love is such an important topic for me that I decided to give it its own separate page. When it comes to self-development, self-love is simply my favourite subject. The reason why I am so much into it is because I have known both – not loving myself and falling in love with myself and I know what a tremendous difference it makes in your life.
First, let’s make it clear what self-love really is. Self-love is unconditional self-acceptance, both of good and of dark side of self; acceptance of all our flaws, quirks and weirdness. You may want to ask me, “But if I fully accept myself, I will never want to make any changes and to grow and I also can be not nice, nasty and disrespectful to other people and still be ok with it because I love myself anyway”. So here is my answer to this: it is not going to be this way. When you don’t like some features of your personality or some of your habits, but you nevertheless accept them, you may decide to make some changes in the way you behave, but you will do it from the place of love, not from the place of fear. Say, for example, you are always running late and it affects your professional and personal lives because you risk to lose your job and also your friends are getting annoyed with you being late all the times. So, you have a choice here: to leave everything as it is but as a consequence you might lose your job and ruin the relationship with your friends. Or, you decide to make changes because you are aware that leaving things the way they are will affect your life in a bad way, so you may try to wake up earlier, go to bed earlier and maybe leave your home 10 minutes earlier than usual. But the biggest difference is that you will implement those changes without bullying yourself and calling yourself a looser or a messy person or any other mean words you are calling yourself all the time. You will accept what is, you will try to change things and will move forward. All this will be done while being in total peace with yourself. Now, say, you were rude to someone, whether it was a friend, a family member or a customer service representative. You allowed your dark side to take over you and you either said something or did something which now you regret about. The truth is, we all know when we are wrong. Deep inside we always know this. And we also know that ideally, we should apologise. But how often do we really say out loud “Listen, I am sorry, I think I was wrong and I didn’t really mean what I said” or we just explain to the other person what made us react in this way? There can be so many reasons why sometimes we are not nice to people; we are all human after all. We are not supposed to be perfect and there is an equal amount of light and darkness in all of us. So, two possible scenarios here. If you don’t love yourself (meaning you don’t accept your flaws), you will pretend that nothing happened and you will hide the memory of this incident at the back of your mind, because admitting to another person that you were wrong will make you feel not good enough. You already feel “not good enough” (because you don’t love yourself), so to add one more proof of being not good enough to already full collection of your flaws would be unbearable. Plus, you are trying to hide from the whole world your not-enoughness, hoping that nobody ever finds out about your flaws, so there is no way that you would admit to someone that you actually did something wrong (= you have flaws). And this is second scenario which is possible if you truly love yourself: you admit to yourself that you were wrong, but you don’t feel ashamed because you know and accept your flaws. The next step – you apologise because saying out loud to someone that you were wrong doesn’t make you feel a not good enough person. You restore the peace between you and that person and you learn your lesson. Next time you will do better. By the way, the more we accept our flaws, the more we can keep our dark side under control. But this is a topic for another conversation. Let’s stick to self-love here.
Another big advantage of loving yourself is that self-love makes you become less judgemental (or sometimes even not judgemental at all) towards other people. You know why? Because when you accept yourself fully, you automatically accept other people and all their weirdness. And let’s admit it, we all weird in our own way.
And the last, and probably the most important thing about self-love: when you fully accept your-self and you know your worth, you set very defined boundaries about how you want to be treated in life. And you apply those boundaries to everybody: your family members, you partner, you children, your friends, your colleagues and so on. Having boundaries doesn’t mean that automatically people will stop trying to treat you unfairly sometimes, but the big difference here is that once it happens and you notice it, you will let them know that what they are doing is inacceptable and if they keep doing it, you will just walk away. You will walk away without feeling guilty or questioning yourself whether you were right or wrong or maybe you should have compromised. Saying this, I don’t mean that life is only black or white. Life has its shades but when we have been treated badly or unfairly, usually deep inside our gut we know it. A passive-aggressive partner who stops talking to you without explaining the reason or a friend who wants to see you only when he/she needs something from you or an employer who is trying to dismiss by proving that you are unable to do your job. Does it ring a bell? I am sure that you have been in at least one of those situations. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.
Oh, I forgot to mention another big advantage of self-love – you truly believe that you deserve the best in life, so you allow yourself to wait until a really beautiful person comes to your life and becomes your partner, you allow yourself to follow your passion and by doing this to fulfil your purpose. And you know what following your purpose make to you? It makes you feel of service and as a result of it, you feel happy. Do you remember how you usually feel when you help someone? Right, you have this feeling of satisfaction inside of you because you have just done something meaningful. So, by learning to love yourself you will develop this very strong belief that you deserve to follow your passion in life and to do what you really love to do which will align you with your purpose and will bring happiness into your life. I hope it doesn’t sound too complicated and it all makes sense. Self-love is a must-have if we want to have a fulfilling and meaningful life. The good news is that you can learn to love yourself in any age; it is never too late. But in order to get “there”, you will have to do some work. You will have to find and name all the things that you don’t like in yourself and which make you not good enough person, then find the proofs that those parts of you are really not good enough (often you won’t find enough proofs or there will be no proofs at all) and then you will have to learn to accept and after that to love those parts of you. As a coach, I am not able to do this job for you, but what I can do is to facilitate the process and by asking you right and challenging question to fast-track you towards total self-acceptance.