To love yourself is not just a self-esteem boosting piece of advice; it is a necessary quality that will help you truly love others. The Golden Rule says “love your neighbor as you love yourself”, you are likely to have heard it many times, expressed in different ways, thinking it is about loving others. Look a little closer though, and you will find that at its very centre is the command to love yourself.
First, let us dispel some myths about what it means to love yourself. Self-love is not about being arrogant or egotistical, it is not about comparing yourself to others to determine if you are good enough, it is not about always putting yourself first at the expense of others, it is not about always getting your way, it is not about always winning. To love yourself is to be in awe of the miracle of your existence. It is to accept yourself as you are; the “light” parts and the “dark” – the “good” and the “bad”. It is to be willing to receive as much as you are willing to give. It is about knowing your values and your boundaries and honoring them. It is about teaching others how to treat you by showing them how you treat yourself. It is about being kind to yourself. It is about looking after your mind, your body and your spirit; all together. It is about knowing your worth, not because of what you have achieved or what you look like or what others think of you, but because love is your birthright.
Take a moment to think of those things you most need to hear from others. Whether it’s that they love you, admire you, accept you just as you are, appreciate you, forgive you, etc. Take a piece of paper and write them down and make sure to exhaust your list; you will find that what you most want to hear from others is what you most need to tell yourself. You should now have a list of positive affirmations tailor-made for you. Repeat them every day, morning and night. You will soon enjoy a sense of self love and inner peace that you never had before. It is an obvious statement that you cannot give something that you do not possess, yet so many people desperately love others without having or giving love to themselves. It is little wonder that in time their reserves of love are exhausted and their relationships fall apart; to give love, you must first have love, and to have love you must first and foremost love yourself. Give the love you wish to experience to yourself and you will find all your relationships transforming in miraculous ways.
Loving yourself is a win-win for all. It provides you with a sense of inner happiness, confidence and peace of mind that is not easily swayed by outside events and opinions. It enables you to make healthier choices and the best decisions across all areas of your life from your intimate relationships to your finances. It allows you to truly rejoice in other people’s good fortune rather than resenting it or wondering “why, not me”. The more you love yourself, the more everything and everyone you encounter benefits – because you’ll be the best version of you. You’ll discover that self-love truly is the greatest love of all.